Amy Wolaver, Jon Walls, Mike McGowan, and Noelle Watters (Bucknell University)
Healthcare costs are higher in the United States than any other country and are rising faster than all other countries. A primary influence on costs in the US are hospitalizations. Identifying ways to reduce the number of hospitalizations could reduce the cost of healthcare in the US and improve quality of care. Using 2012 inpatient hospitalization data from the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council, this paper analyzes diagnoses and procedures outlined as preventable hospitalizations by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Age- and gender-adjusted, and divides them up by admission rates are calculated for counties in Pennsylvania. Next, mirroring methods used by the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, these indicators rates are compared to factors such as primary care physicians per county from the Area Resource Files, locations of community healthcare clinics, or and other measures of access to primary care to test whether these admissions are lower in geographic areas with more primary care access. The data are displayed in comparison maps to identify potential barriers to cost effective care.