Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Healthcare
GIS and its use in Public Health stem from the work of individuals in the fields of epidemiology and computer technology. With geography, technology and data becoming an everyday part of our lives, the surge in use and understanding of geographical analysis has allowed those working in the field to push the boundaries of understanding and integrate this knowledge into the population.
GIS allows us to present another piece of the puzzle. To ask more questions. And to develop our understanding of the world around us.
The fundamental questions:
- Building the big picture
- Where do I fit in?
- What knowledge is already out there?
- Looking for the relationship
- Where is my service based?
- Where are patients coming from?
- How are patients travelling to my service?
- What data can be collected – What does it tell us
- Address of service users – Distribution of patients
- Elective or referral admission – Patient pathway
- Time and date of admission – Frequency of usage by region
- Patient demographics – Identify communities with or without support in attending your service
In CLAHRC NWL we have two streams of application in GIS:
1. Project Support
Each of our themes; Breathlessness, Early Years, and Frailty, have a number of projects with which they are associated. At each stage in a project's lifespan the use of geographic information allows them to better cater their actions and improvements to their target population. The following are examples of how GIS is used in project development stages.
Explore (Understanding the background)
- National data sets e.g. census data, and hospital admissions (Hospital Episode Statistics).
- Service locations e.g. GPs, hospitals, and community centres.
Design (What data will we collect and how will we measure improvement)
- Data collection
Test and Scale Up (
- What do we learn from the project data and how do we use it to further improve.
- Identifying areas where similar projects could be applied
To learn more about these stages visit/read DO WE HAVE A LINK?
2. Further Research
Exploration in to developing new methods of analysis and areas of interest