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TravelTime case study: healthcare development analysis

by Niharika Sisodia
on Mar 26, 2019

60% of users will find a new Megahospital development more inconvenient than existing hospital access.

The Megahospital challenge is tool helps residents in Windsor & Essex, Ontario to compare drive times from their homes to existing and newly proposed hospital locations.

The Megahospital is the colloquial name for a proposed new hospital to serve the Windsor/Essex region. It represents a consolidation of health care services from multiple hospital locations down to one single site. The current hospital sites are very old and do not serve the needs of the population in the ways a new hospital might. There has been significant controversy around the location chosen by the hospital authority for the Megahospital.

The Megahospital Challenge application is a grassroots effort to bring travel time information to the debate. It is not clear when development will happen.

The app was built by Border City Data, an interest group of Hackforge since 2017. Besides producing data sets and apps on topics of public interest, the group regularly delivers data-centric tech talks and hands-on practical tutorials. Hackforge’s mission is “technology enthusiasts growing the tech capabilities of our region by creating connections and learning together.”  A community non-profit since 2012, it aims at building tech capacity in Windsor, Ontario.

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The App

Users must enter their home address and city location. The app then calculates the A to B midafternoon drive for both routes. For some residents, the journey time will be shorter, however, it will be longer for others.

Talbot-StreetN-Essex6 minutes shorter 148 Talbot Street N, Essex

Ouellette-Avenue-Windsor13 minutes longer 1501 255 Ouellette Avenue, Windsor

The Megahospital challenge allows the local community to understand how a new Megahospital location could impact their access to the hospital. It could be useful for healthcare providers to monitor the community’s response to the Megahospital challenge. Feedback from the local community on social media could help the organisers make important location-based decisions.

It could be that those in charge of selecting the original Megahospital location used straight-line distances to choose where it should be. Using straight-line distances to calculate the difference between two locations is not accurate, because it doesn’t take into account real drive times of the community. When location decisions are made with this information, it doesn’t reflect the true impact on the real door to door routes.

The Megahospital app uses TravelTime API’s routing feature and in total, the app took about one week to build, with the team creating the tool in between their day jobs. They said:“We found the API very accessible to a team with experience building simple tools for the web.”

The team behind it are all web and software professionals with experience working with data and web APIs. They chose TravelTime over alternatives such as Google because the terms of service were more flexible and appropriate for the app’s use case.

What they say

“We chose to use the TravelTime API for this analysis because it has a quick learning curve and offered all the features we needed. Investing time in learning the TravelTime API gives us a great return because of the variety of features related to our use case and the potential to use it in our future professional work.” 

“It seems to me that the debate around access to health care in Windsor Essex should be built on data, not rhetoric. Jeff, Kylie and I had fun using our skills to bring more information to the discussion.”

Doug Sartori, Parallel 42 Systems

“We need to talk about what people really mean when they say they’ll see a doctor sooner – our data shows that even people far out in the county save no more than ten minutes on the drive to the proposed location.” 

Jeff Szusz, Bull Rush Studios

“I wanted to bring data to the debate. Many people in the county believe that the current proposed location will be a giant time saver. I thought so too until we did the work.”

Kylie Tiffin, KET Marketing

 

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