Everything that happen, happen somewhere. Knowing what is happening where and when it happens, can make a world of difference of outcome of decisions and choices. In the healthcare industry, understanding the ‘what-where-when’ can uncover hidden pressing health issues that can inform the quality of care and outcome.
That’s why there is a growing demand for spatial methods to uncover hidden opportunities for both population health needs and clinical care needs. More and more healthcare providers are embracing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to address such issues as strategy, capital planning, site selection, public health administration and operations.
Opportunities for application of GIS in Healthcare
There are unlimited opportunities for applying LI in healthcare: from simple logistics planning tools for estimating patient-to-provider travel distance, to more customized services – such as setting up a geo-fences to keep individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease safe.
Here are a few practical applications of GIS in health industry:
- Research: To support research in the fields of public health, disease mapping, and epidemiology.
- Mapping patient Locations: To help answer questions such as “Where Are My Patients?” to help in planning to match the needs of the population.
- Mapping Healthcare Service Providers: To help analyze health care coverage to identify gaps or inefficiencies.
- Geo-medicine: To help patients benefit from a more precise clinical understanding of the links between their health and where they live, work and play.
- Nursing case management: To enable a nurse case manager determine where the community resources are in proximity to their patients such as therapy providers, home health agencies and pharmacies.
- Operations analysis: To pinpoint bottlenecks and focus remedial efforts on the parts that cause the greatest number of problems.
What are the benefits of integrating GIS in healthcare?
Obviously, in healthcare, location intelligence (LI) is life-saving. Location monitoring has the potential of identifying health trends, tracking the spread of infectious disease and improving the quality and outcome of healthcare. By analyzing geographical health care data, public health and hospital officials are able to make better decisions for patients, increase accessibility to services and prevent future disease outbreaks.