Geospatial evaluation of disparities in neurosurgical access in the United States

Nicholas Peterman, Emily J. Smith, Edward Liang, Eunhae Yeo, Bradley Kaptur, Anant Naik, Paul M. Arnold, Wael Hassaneen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When neurosurgical care is needed, the distance to a facility staffed with a neurosurgeon is critical. This work utilizes geospatial analysis to analyze access to neurosurgery in the Medicare population and relevant socioeconomic factors. Medicare billing and demographic data from 2015 to 2019 were combined with national National Provider Identifier (NPI) registry data to identify the average travel distance to reach a neurosurgeon as well as the number of neurosurgeons in each county. This was merged with U.S. Census data to capture 23 socioeconomic attributes. Moran's I statistic was calculated across counties. Socioeconomic variables were compared using ANOVA. Hotspots with the highest neurosurgeon access were predominantly located in the Mid-Atlantic region, central Texas, and southern Montana. Coldspots were found in the Great Plains, Midwest, and Southern Texas. There were statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between high- and low-access counties, including: stroke prevalence, poverty, median household income, and total population density. There were no statistically significant differences in most races or ethnicities. Overall, there exist statistically significant clusters of decreased neurosurgery access within the United States, with varying sociodemographic characteristics between access hotspots and coldspots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Geospatial analysis
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Neurosurgical access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Surgery


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