AMA tool shows areas in need of care

October 29, 2014 in Medical Technology

The American Medical Association launched what its leaders call a first-of-its-kind tool aimed at helping physicians and other healthcare providers improve patient access to care.

The AMA’s Health Workforce Mapper is an interactive tool that illustrates the geographic locations of the healthcare workforce in each state, including health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, as well as other related trends. It highlights areas where the number of healthcare professionals could be expanded to boost patient access to care close to home.

“This unique new mapping tool gives physicians and other healthcare providers unprecedented information using reliable AMA data and other sources to see exactly where healthcare services are needed most,” said AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD, in unveiling the Health Workforce Mapper. “Providers can use this information to help them make the best decisions on where to locate or expand their practices to reach patients in greatest need of access to care.”

[See also: AMA toolkit helps docs meet HIPAA rules.]

Also, the Health Workforce Mapper can help new physicians close the gap in patient access to care by giving residents and medical students access to important information that allows them to see, from state-to-state, where there are shortages in certain medical specialties, Wah pointed out.

The tool is free to AMA members via the AMA website. Limited access is available for non-AMA members.

The AMA Health Workforce Mapper illustrates thlicymakers the geographic distribution of the healthcare workforce in a given state or across the country, to assist them in making evidence-based decisions.

[See also: AMA presses for better EHRs.]

The AMA Health Workforce Mapper enables the user to build a rich display of factors relevant to the healthcare workforce. Users can layer geographic and health policy data such as hospital locations or health professional shortage areas, population indicators, landmarks and other topographical features. The user can also display the ratio of physician or nonphysician clinicians to population in any given region or nationally. The tool can be used to distinguish possible areas of both deficiency and overlap, and to identify high-priority areas for workforce expansion.

Access AMA-member version and non-member limited version of the tool here.

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