Modeling the Accessibility of Oral Healthcare Facilities for Older Adults
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Increased lifespans and population growth have resulted in an aging society that must reckon with the complex health needs that arise as adults age. Understanding healthcare accessibility for older adults is necessary toward providing more comprehensive care for this population. This study uses an agent-based model to examine the accessibility of oral healthcare facilities to older adults living in the neighborhoods of northern Manhattan, New York City. Older adults are simulated as socioeconomically distinct agents who move along a GIS-based transportation network using various transportation modes that mediate their access to healthcare facilities. This simulation model includes four types of mobile agents: those who walk, take a car, take a bus, or take a van (i.e., transportation assistance that acts as a carpool). These different agents follow particular routes: cars, vans and buses follow street roads, whereas pedestrians follow walkways. The model enables the user to focus on one neighborhood at a time for analysis. The spatial dimension of an individual’s healthcare accessibility is simulated through the travel costs (indicated by travel time or distance) incurred in the GIS-based model environment, where lower travel costs to oral healthcare facilities imply better access. This model provides a framework for representing health-seeking behavior that is contextualized by the transportation network in a GIS environment.