Comparison of general and cardiac care-specific indices of spatial access in Australia

Vincent Lawrence Versace, Neil T. Coffee, Julie Franzon, Dorothy Turner, Jarrod Lange, Danielle Taylor, Robyn Clark

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10 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Objective To identity differences between a general access index (Accessibility/ Remoteness Index of Australia; ARIA+) and a specific acute and aftercare cardiac services access index (Cardiac ARIA). Research design and methods Exploratory descriptive design. ARIA+ (2011) and Cardiac ARIA (2010) were compared using cross-tabulations (chi-square test for independence) and map visualisations. All Australian locations with ARIA+ and Cardiac ARIA values were included in the analysis (n = 20,223). The unit of analysis was Australian locations. Results Of the 20,223 locations, 2757 (14% of total) had the highest level of acute cardiac access coupled with the highest level of general access. There were 1029 locations with the poorest access (5% of total). Approximately two thirds of locations in Australia were classed as having the highest level of cardiac aftercare. Locations in Major Cities, Inner Regional Australia, and Outer Regional Australia accounted for approximately 98% of this category. There were significant associations between ARIA+ and Cardiac ARIA acute (χ2 = 25250.73, df = 28, p<0.001, Cramer’s V = 0.559, p<0.001) and Cardiac ARIA aftercare (χ2 = 17204.38, df = 16, Cramer’s V = 0.461, p<0.001). Conclusions Although there were significant associations between the indices, ARIA+ and Cardiac ARIA are not interchangeable. Systematic differences were apparent which can be attributed largely to the underlying specificity of the Cardiac ARIA (a time critical index that uses distance to the service of interest) compared to general accessibility quantified by the ARIA + model (an index that uses distance to population centre). It is where the differences are located geographically that have a tangible impact upon the communities in these locations–i.e. peri-urban areas of the major capital cities, and around the more remote regional centres. There is a strong case for specific access models to be developed and updated to assist with efficient deployment of resources and targeted service provision. The reasoning behind the differences highlighted will be generalisable to any comparison between general and service-specific access models.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0219959
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2019 Versace et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • cardiac care
  • accessibility
  • aftercare cardiac access
  • Australia


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