Benjamin Montmartin is an Associate Professor of Econometrics and Data Science at SKEMA since January 2018. He teaches Data Science, Machine Learning and Econometrics. His research interests lie in the fields of Health Economics, Spatial Analysis, Public Policy Evaluation and Entrepreneurship. He is currently investigating healthcare accessibility in France.

Tell us about your project on healthcare accessibility in France?  

Benjamin Montmartin: The growing medical desertification in most OECD countries driven by an increasing spatial concentration of physicians is a prominent concern for policymakers. If medical desertification is an important issue for accessibility to care services, then another dimension that has received less attention is the consequences of the pricing of physician services. This could be another major concern for healthcare accessibility, especially in OECD countries like France which allow some of their physicians to set their prices freely. Indeed, the pricing of physician services is an important factor that influences healthcare affordability and accessibility.

The aim of the project is to define and characterize the level of healthcare access in France by considering two key factors: the spatial accessibility (commuting time) and the affordability (price) of care services and build a unique technology (database, algorithms, statistical indicators) that characterizes the level of healthcare access for every medical specialty and every administrative level (Region, Department, City, neighbourhoods-IRIS).

What is your approach?

I am creating automated tools that precisely measure the importance and the evolution of the accessibility to care services in France. The solution includes a SQL database fed by various automated python algorithms for geolocation, matching and distance calculation. It also includes Business Intelligence codes that compute statistical indicators and create maps to analyse and visualize the healthcare divide. These assets provide a unique view on various issues around this topic and thus help a variety of public and private actors and stakeholders to find better solutions.

What are the outcomes of this project?

In 2021, 2022 and 2023, the leading consumer union, UFC – Que Choisir, used our indicator of healthcare accessibility to discuss the heath divide in France. Those studies had a large coverage on medias and impact the design of a recent law voted by French parliament with the aim to improve healthcare accessibility. This external stakeholder also used our expertise and dataset in 2022 to conduct a study on the relationship between the tension in emergency department and the number of private physicians.

We are currently working on founding the Observatory for Healthcare Accessibility to support policymakers and lobbyists with a means for mutual learning and recommendations, work with insurance companies to better understand local healthcare needs and risks to improve healthcare coverage and efficiency, as well as work with national and local public authorities on healthcare strategies to improve healthcare access.

How does this project impact society at large?

The aim of this project is severalfold. We are striving to enhance accessibility to the healthcare system, ensuring everyone has an equal shot at receiving care; we hope to make a positive impact on the affordability of healthcare; we are addressing the shortage of physicians, aiming to bolster our healthcare workforce; we anticipate a reduction in congestion within the emergency system…

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