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Benefits of small area measurements: A spatial clustering analysis on medicare beneficiaries in the USA

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Small area estimates on where services for potential Medicare beneficiaries may be needed, could provide unique research opportunities for improving the healthcare quality of the ageing U.S. population. The project described in this paper validates this argument by contrasting the spatial clustering results from an analysis that uses large geographical units with proxy measures to the results from an analysis using small area geographic units with direct measures. Large-area proxy measures come from county-level U.S. Census Bureau 2010 cross sectional data on the number of people aged 65 and over. Medicare beneficiary estimates in 2007 with Primary Care Service Areas (PCSAs) make up the small-area direct-measure analysis. Findings show that the latter offers a more geographically defined appraisal of where healthcare quality efforts should focus to aid potential Medicare beneficiary populations. Because the healthcare quality of an aging population will only increase in importance as their numbers grow in the US, further research is needed.

Keywords: , , , , , ,
Issue: Volume 7, Issue 1, 2013