Spatial methods for evaluating critical care and trauma transport: A scoping review

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Abstract

Purpose:

The objective of this scoping review is to inform future applications of spatial research regarding transportation of critically ill patients. We hypothesized that this review would reveal gaps and limitations in the current research regarding use of spatial methods for critical care and trauma transport research.

Materials and methods:

Four online databases, Ovid Medline, PubMed, Embase and Scopus, were searched. Studies were selected if they used geospatial methods to analyze a patient transports dataset. 12 studies were included in this review.

Results:

Majority of the studies employed spatial methods only to calculate travel time or distance even though methods and tools for more complex spatial analyses are widely available. Half of the studies were found to focus on hospital bypass, 2 studies focused on transportation (air or ground) mode selection, 2 studies compared predicted versus actual travel times, and 2 studies used spatial modeling to understand spatial variation in travel times.

Conclusions:

There is a gap between the availability of spatial tools and their usage for analyzing and improving medical transportation. The adoption of geospatially guided transport decisions can meaningfully impact healthcare expenditures, especially in healthcare systems looking to strategically control expenditures with minimum impact on patient outcomes.

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