Nationwide, there are 7,000 dialysis centers, according to data.medicare.gov. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 37 million people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease, about 15% of the adult population. We wanted to know the accessibility of dialysis centers to those that need it, and the demand for those centers.
For both of these maps, we used our Health Care data for kidney and urinary tract disorders, and the data provided on the locations, attributes, and quality of just over 7000 geocoded dialysis centers nationwide from data.medicare.gov.
For the first map, we looked at the accessibility of dialysis centers for those that need it. Higher scores mean more access to dialysis. Closer locations score higher than more distant ones using a distance decay penalty.
There are clusters of facilities in large urban areas, with much of the rural Midwest and west underserved, although there is less demand in these areas. But for those with a need, they could need to travel a long distance for dialysis, a service that can be needed with a high frequency for some patients.
This second map shows the ratio between the dialysis access index and demand for dialysis, measured by the expected number of hospital discharges for kidney and urinary tract disorders. Higher scores are given to areas with more services available. Areas with low scores are difficult to service – patients need regular and often extended treatments – far from home.