The aim of this article is to establish whether spatial variation exists in acute hospital utilization in Ireland and, if it does, to identify the microlevel factors influencing this variation. First, an alignment process is used to calibrate the acute inpatient attendance and nights spent in hospital variables produced by a spatial microsimulation model at both the national and the subnational levels. Comparing the results of the national and subnational alignment allows us to examine whether spatial variation exists. Second, after establishing that hospital utilization displays a significant spatial pattern, we use a nationally representative survey to determine which individual-level factors significantly affect inpatient attendance and the number of nights spent in hospitals. Using the calibrated data from the aforementioned spatial microsimulation model, we examine whether the spatial patterns of those variables found to influence hospital utilization match the spatial pattern of actual hospital utilization rates at the small area, electoral division level. That is, are the individuals/areas with the highest demand for acute hospital services utilizing acute hospital services? Finally, the results of this research are discussed in relation to both the national and international literature.
Morrissey, K., O'Donoghue, C., Clarke, G., & Li, J. (2013). Using Simulated Data to Examine the Determinants of Acute Hospital Demand at the Small Area Level. Geographical Analysis, 45(1), 49-76. https://doi.org/10.1111/GEAN.12000