I’ve been exploring the geography of hospitals and health care resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. Reporting information at county level isn’t ideal because the patient who lives in Macomb then went to the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Similarly, a patient living in Detroit decided to go to a Beaumont Hospital in Oakland County.
In the absence of detailed data on patients and human mobility I immediately thought of John Nelson’s project to generate zones based on Craigslist Economic Zones based on ZIP Codes. These seemed a potentially better indicator of patient region than County or the often used Hospital Referral Regions (HRR) developed by the Dartmouth Health Atlas, which represent health care markets based on tertiary care. In the case of metro Detroit, the HRR cuts off at Detroit’s western border and it has been well documented that Detroiters travel for resources towards the northwesternly.
John Nelson liked my suggestion too, read more about how he combined hospital beds by Craigslist Zones.