06 April 2012

Doctor density map

This is cool, via wonkblog:

The availability of basic health care varies radically from place to place across the nation.
To the left of the vertical slider bar, counties outlined in orange had no doctor's office in 2009, according to the Census Bureau. Clark County, Mississippi, for example, had a population of over 17,000 but no doctor's office, while Manhattan had a doctor's office for every 500 residents.
The map to the right shows the relative availability of primary health care providers by county. Enhanced access to health care is key to improving the health of Americans.
doctor map
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In health care, as in everything else, it's location, location, location.


  1. I like how density maps easily show us statistics that might be otherwise hard to understand.

    Surprising to note that there are places with not at least one doctor's office!

  2. Fascinating and really well made map. I'd love to see this kind of map for other things.

    However, just a little checking shows that this thing is probably made up.

    I checked three counties here in Washington that it claims have no doctors offices or access to primary care.

    Ferry, Lincoln, and Pen Orielle counties are listed here as having nothing.

    Each in fact, has a hospital, multiple clinics, and several doctor's offices.

    Ferry County, for instance, has two county run primary care clinics and one private group that does primary care. All of this have been in existence since before the 2006 date of the map.

    A 2010 state DOH report indicates 3 family practice physicians and 6 family practice mid-levels for those 7,800 people. That's a density of 1 primary care physician for a little over 2500 people, or one practitioner per 866 people.

    Not bad, really. The story is similar in the other counties mentioned.

    Maybe the counties listed in Washington are just a fluke, but I think it more likely that this infographic, cool as it is, is just made up. But maybe I'm just too cynical?

  3. A little further research shows the problem. They used data about business types from census data. They are essentially counting only freestanding doctors offices. Clinics and groups and such that provide primary care do not count.

    Correct data about available primary care practitioners is easily available and not used on this map. They are drawing, or at least implying, conclusions that are outright lies. Perhaps to make some political point?

    I went to the same data they used. Ferry county has Dentists listed, and a couple Chiropractors. They have the Hospital listed, but no physicians offices. There is one "outpatient care center" listed - Probably Northeast Washington Medical Group.

    Primary care provided through the public hospital district is not included in this at all.

    This infographic is trying to state that there is no access to primary care in Ferry and in other counties, and that is just untrue.

    Either the authors know this is untrue and are trying to convince people otherwise, or they are completely clueless and have no business telling people anything about access to primary care.

    I'm guessing the former, but again, maybe I'm too cynical.

  4. This is also not super useful unless you overlay information on general health, life expectancy, or some other metric that might tell me what the consequences might be.

    chastra behicern

  5. Doctor's map is important especially with cities that has less clinics. For emergency and accidental cases we should familiar with places that has doctors on it. To avoid and preventing less damages to our patients.

    Jojo @ Doctor Websites


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