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In general cantons regulate and control the Swiss health service system; patient flows within and between cantons are thereby partially disregarded. This paper develops an alternative spatial model, based upon the construction of orthopedic hospital service areas, and introduces indices for the analysis of patient streams in order to identify areas, irrespective of canton, with diverse characteristics, importance, needs, or demands.
The division of Switzerland into hospital service areas provides an alternative spatial model for analyzing and describing patient streams for health service utilization. Because this small area model allows more in-depth analysis of patient streams both within and between cantons, it may improve support and planning of resource allocation of in-patient care in the Swiss healthcare system.
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