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Health Serv Res. 1987 April; 22(1): 69–89.
PMCID: PMC1065423

Appropriate measures of hospital market areas.


As public and private policymakers turn to market-oriented strategies to control hospital prices, it is necessary to understand the conceptual underpinnings of hospital market area measurement. This article provides a framework for evaluating which definitions of hospital market areas are suitable for various types of analyses. Hospital market areas can be defined from two perspectives: an individual hospital perspective and that of the overall market. From each perspective, empirical definitions can be based on geopolitical boundaries, distance between hospitals, and patient-origin data. In this article, market areas are compared based on various descriptions using data on California hospitals and patient discharge abstracts.

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