2021 IAAA Finalist University of Alabama

Using Analytics to Understand and Improve Provider Accessibility for a State Medicaid Agency

Geographical Information Science (GIS) methods play a critical role in determining the equity and capacity of health services for populations. Findings from GIS analyses are especially important for health administrative personnel and other stakeholders tasked with facilitating the provision of health services for underserved populations such as Medicaid beneficiaries. Many government agencies such as state Medicaid agencies, however, experience challenges in recruiting and retaining staff with GIS skill sets. Therefore, key employee turnover can serve as a detriment to the analytic operations of a government organization. Given this consideration, streamlining empirical GIS workflows for subject matter experts and citizen data scientists have promise in promoting 1) labor cost-efficiencies at health organizations, as well as 2) strategies to ameliorate health among beneficiaries. The purpose of this case report discussion is to highlight the development and application of a GIS tool designed to automate several GIS methods of high interest to the Alabama Medicaid Agency, which is the primary insurer for over one million Alabamians each year. Moreover, this tool includes some modeling techniques rarely integrated in Medicaid agencies’ assessment of physical access. This discussion also highlights some successes, challenges, and early-stage implementation of prescriptive analytics within the described geodesign project.

Dwight Lewis Jr., University of Alabama
Jason Parton, University of Alabama
Matthew Hudnall, University of Alabama
Nick Freeman, University of Alabama
Irem Sengul Orgut, University of Alabama
Xin Yang, University of Alabama
Thomas English, University of Alabama
James Cochran, University of Alabama
Steven Samsel, University of Alabama
Ryan Tramp, University of Alabama