With the advance in technologies the ability to organize or manipulate data to be more useful in everyday operational and strategic planning as become a key element for success. We can view this in one such systems recognize as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
This study tends to define what GIS (Geographic Information System) is and explain how GIS can be beneficial in the Health Care sector by manipulating raw data to be simulated into useful information by medical personnel’s in the Health Care Sector.
In order to understand the benefits that derive from using a Geographic Information Systems in the Health Care Sector one as to understand what GIS means. According to US Environmental Protection Agency GIS can be defined as a “computer system that allows you to map, model, and query and analyze large quantities of data within a single database according to their locations”. Basically, GIS allows the individual to use spatial information to create maps, visualize various scenarios, illustrates creative ideas and ascertain effective solution for varying problems. While GIS is useful in every sector, it has been shaping the effectiveness of the strides made in the health care industry base on the numerous applications that can be developed.
In 1985 when cholera was rampant in some areas of England, a English Physician by the name of John Snow pioneer the use of GIS in the health care sector by ascertain the water source area that was aiding the wide spread of the Cholera disease by mapping the location of the persons affected (Britannica Encyclopedia, Ralph Frerichs 2014). Since then the utilization of GIS with the healthcare industry as grown significantly. GIS Geographic Information System can be view in two ways within the Health Care Sector in respect to its applications. GIS can be used to study epidemiology and health outcomes and it can also be used to study how to optimize healthcare delivery. (Endacott R, Kamle Boulos 2009) With the capabilities of computers to create a digital protocol to feed data, into what most people refer to as cyber space, medical personnel’s now can better recreate time and space to enhanced understand of how people and place relate to their health. Therefore, we can safely say that health care providers are gravitating towards GIS mainly to improve the way they utilize the information about their medical data, administrative processes, social services and their patient data.
With reference back to John Snow, GIS study medical professionals now understand that it’s not just about provide primary healthcare but it’s now about customizing the healthcare base on the needs of the surrounding communities. With the aid of GIS technologies, Hospitals are more equipped to determine their patient’s geographical locations and the most suited processes and procedures for disease management. Professor Gabriel Schmidbauer from the American Sentinel University with specialization in GIS states that “GIS allows for greater understanding of the spread of geological phenomena, including the spread and clustering of contagious diseases” (American Sentinel University August 2011). According to the assistant professor Kathy Wright at the American Sentinel University, GIS allows medical professionals to understand where patients are in proximity to the community resources such as pharmacies, private health agencies and therapy provides. GIS also advance the cost effectiveness for identify where and when to deploy medical personnel’s to the most need area of the Healthcare sector.
In concluding Geographic Information Systems is a system that is vital to the advancement of the Health care industry as it provide useful information for medical professionals to make the best informed decision in planning and evaluating of health care services.
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Endacott R, Kamel Boulos MN, Manning BR, Maramba I. “Geographic Information Systems for healthcare organizations: a primer for nursing professions”. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Jan-Feb 2014. Web. 3 Dec 2014 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19060622>
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