1. The three modules pertaining to, inspiring sustainability of GIS in health care are described below:
I. Creating and sharing database: Health care has entered a new age where precision in diagnosis and treatment has started to become top priority. With advancement in genomic, a wealth of information, that can help predict, prevent and intervene with the diseases process, is now available. In addition a lot of data are created by the health care industry. Very often these data’s are not handled and used to their best. Data requirements for GIS involves spatial data, attribute database, data presentation methods, location data and scaling of data from local to global. GIS provides researchers a ways to organize and use data effectively.
When healthcare providers are able to maintain a transparency in the nature of clinical outcomes associated with a treatment, it becomes possible to benchmark one’s performance and aim for improvement. The integrated care schemes like Kaiser Permanente in United States and NHA North west London program in UK are examples of how improved data collection and management can help to identify those at risk, and proactively deliver care to them. The NHS website of UK is used by 10 million users. Forty percent of the residents in Sweden use the health care guide website to navigate services. (Maheswaran & Craglia, 2004)
ii. Provide an innovative health care delivery: Health care advancement was able to bring down the deaths associated with infectious diseases tremendously. Nevertheless, it still faces the challenge of delivering effective heath care to patients admitted by injury and fatality. Non communicable diseases have become the leading cause of death in many countries. It is necessary to provide, highly efficient heath care at low cost for many non-communicable medical conditions.
Virtually interaction with doctors from home was suggested as way of improving health care delivery in U.K. There are also plans of training proactive healthcare professional who could counsel the client telephonically or through chat windows. This can help to cut down cost and providing efficient service.
GIS can help health care innovators to get close to the patient, and track their behavioral patterns. It can enhance the adherence on clinicians and patients to a clinical protocol. It can provide access to rural areas, help to standardize protocols and thereby increase labor productivity. GIS can also benefit healthcare innovation by providing the right skill, by reducing cost on labor and in overcoming the constraints associated with labor shortage.
iii. Build healthy cities and country: Promoting healthy lifestyle will help to promote health and cut down the expenditure on medicine. Healthcare cannot become sustainable, unless a behavioral change to embrace healthy lifestyle is brought about in the community. Health care system can become sustainable only if the growing demand for hospitals is slowed. The “Be active, eat well” program in Australia, has helped to reduce obesity and increase exercise and fruit consumption in citizen. GIS helps in better city planning. It can give information on environment, and its impact on health care. (Lai & Mak, 2007)
2. Geo Nexus technologies provides a platform for the implementation of GIS into healthcare enterprise. Esri, Redlands and Calif are few examples of GIS based software developers. Majority of the healthcare providers, have replaced paper based record keeping with electronic health records. Geo nexus technology will help to enable access to these electronic data. It will help to aggregate, analyze and compare the geographic characteristics of the data available in EHR (electronic health records) of other hospitals, using GIS technology. (Healthcare IT News, 2015)
The socio economic and environmental factors of a region, can affect the outcome of diseases and treatment. Geo-Nexus technologies helps to study patterns and recommend suitable solutions. Public health departments can access EHR using global positioning systems, receive signals from satellites, and determine the latitude and longitude coordinates of a location and identify the location of the data. It helps to improve emergency service, service delivery, improved diseases monitoring, risk factor mapping, determine time trends of a diseases, manage environmental health, provide education and care.
3. I have reviewed the information provided in http://www.liv.ac.ul/lstm/malsat.html to understand the use of GIS in healthcare sustainability. MALSAT (Environmental Information Systems for Malaria) software is used to investigate the eco-epidemiology of vector borne diseases, including malaria in the Sub-Saharan Africa using GIS and remote sensing. GIS related technologies can provide epidemiologists with new tools like; aerial photography and remote sensing techniques. GIS helps to cover large areas of land at a low cost. The remote sensing advantage provided by GIS can help in thermal pollution control, monitor industrial growth and study its impact on environment. (Lstmliverpool.ac.uk, 2015)
4. Apart from the benefits discussed in answer 3, GIS provides clinicians with benefits that could not be obtained by simply accessing the EHR maintained in individual hospitals. The environmental influence of health, can be better understood using the GIS facility. GIS helps in better city planning and in reducing pollution. Electronic record keeping is the first step towards introducing GIS into healthcare. GIS related technologies like GPS, can help to receive signals, and enable faster dispatch of ambulance and health services to the affected location. It can help to determine the shortest route.
Healthcare IT News,. (2015). Mapping a new future for GIS. Retrieved 8 July 2015, from http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/mapping-new-future-gis
Maheswaran, R., & Craglia, M. (2004). GIS in public health practice. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Lstmliverpool.ac.uk,. (2015). LSTM - Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Retrieved 8 July 2015, from http://www.lstmliverpool.ac.uk/
Lai, P., & Mak, A. (2007). GIS for health and the environment. Berlin: Springer.