Network-Based Delineation of Health Service Areas: A Comparative Analysis of Community Detection Algorithms

  • Diego PinheiroEmail author
  • Ryan Hartman
  • Erick Romero
  • Ronaldo Menezes
  • Martin Cadeiras
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


A Health Service Area (HSA) is a group of geographic regions served by similar health care facilities. The delineation of HSAs plays a pivotal role in the characterization of health care services available in an area, enabling better planning and regulation of health care services. Though Dartmouth HSAs have been the standard delineation for decades, previous work has recently shown an improved HSA delineation using a network-based approach, in which HSAs are the communities extracted by the Louvain algorithm in hospital-patient discharge networks. Given the known heterogeneity of communities extracted by different community detection algorithms, a comparative analysis of community detection algorithms for optimal HSA delineation is lacking. In this work, we compared HSA delineations produced by community detection algorithms using a large-scale dataset containing different types of hospital-patient discharges spanning a 7-year period in the USA. Our results replicated the heterogeneity among community detection algorithms found in previous works, the improved HSA delineation obtained by a network-based, and suggested that Infomap may be a more suitable community detection for HSA delineation since it finds a high number of HSAs with high localization index and a low network conductance.


Hospital-Patient Discharge Networks Community detection algorithms Health Service Area HSA delineation 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  3. 3.Independent ResearcherWashington D.C.USA

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