Session 20

SMUSI_20- Spatial Methods in Healthcare Research

The examination of health or disease, healthcare and healthcare systems in spatial relations is well established. For example, during the Covid-19-pandemic the geographical distribution of Covid-19 incidences, regional disparities or health inequalities due to living or working conditions in disadvantaged areas were constantly communicated by scientists and media. Healthcare studies also focus on other spatial topics such as access to care (e.g. distances and travelling times to healthcare providers), how patients (literally) move through the health system, how workflows in hospitals can be better spatially organized, or how architecture can affect health recovery. This session aims at exploring spatial methods in healthcare research. In particular, we would like to discuss from a methodological perspective which theoretical assumptions of space are operationalized with what method and research design. Space can either be viewed as dependent or independent variable. Papers should answer at least one of the following questions either on a general methodological level or by a concrete example of a specific research project: (1) What are the most suitable spatial methods and research designs when analyzing the relationship of health / healthcare and space? (2) How is the research question addressing health and space issues affecting the type of data needed and vice versa? (3) How and where should data collection take place? (4) What (spatial) sampling strategies are applied and how does it affect the generalization of results? (5) What kind of data analysis method is best suited for such an endeavor? (6) What are other methodological challenges and/or solutions to spatial health questions that need to be discussed? (7) Who should be involved in the different stages of the research design, data collection, analysis, and reporting? We welcome papers addressing one or more of the following levels of healthcare research: individual level (i.e. patients, providers), organizational level (i.e. infrastructure, processes), or system level (i.e. governance, financing, development, transformation/change). We strongly believe that a multi- perspective view (i.e. from different disciplines, from different countries etc.) on this topic will inspire our work and will be very beneficial for the discussion.