AMA updates interactive mapping tool to improve care access

The nation’s largest physician organization has upgraded an application that identifies areas of the country lacking doctors and access to care.

The American Medical Association has updated its interactive tool designed to identify healthcare professional shortage areas and other workforce trends in hopes of providing data that can help improve patient access to care.

Developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Family Physicians Robert Graham Center and vendor HealthLandscape, AMA’s enhanced Health Workforce Mapper is available to the public free of charge.

“With the updated mapping tool, physicians and healthcare professionals will be able to more precisely and easily pinpoint the areas and populations that could benefit most from their skills and services,” said AMA President Barbara McAneny, MD, in a written statement. “Providers can use this information to help them determine where to locate or expand their practices to reach patients in greatest need of access to care.”

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The tool’s Population Health Explorer feature provides data on a variety of population health factors, including healthcare access and quality, health behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use, demographics and social environment factors.

“This feature enables users to not only see where the physicians of the country practice, but overlay where the patients are located, and the factors that influence their health and access to care,” states the AMA announcement.

The AMA Health Workforce Mapper displays the ratio of physicians or non-physician clinicians to populations in any given region or nationally. In addition, the tool can be used by new physicians in closing the gap in patient access to care by enabling residents and medical students to view where shortages exist in certain medical specialties.

By looking at state, county or metropolitan area data, users can filter physicians and non-physician healthcare professionals by specialty and employment setting. The sources of the data include the AMA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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