Organizations of all sizes and from most industries are benefiting from the economic and strategic value of GIS. The growing interest and awareness of the GIS software has enhanced the valuable tool. With capabilities for accurate and nuanced analysis, the software accelerates data-driven decisions and strategic directions. The basic functions of GIS software are to mange and display all types of geographical data as well as store and retrieve any spatial data based on the requirement of an organization. GIS furnishes an organization with an improved communication platform leading to efficiency in cost-saving, decision making, and systematic record keeping. For instance, a GIS can easily identify and locate all the specified points or all the areas that run through a particular territory. The features of a GIS software are typically classified and stored as lines for road data, points for city data, areas for boundaries, or as raster images for scanned maps or aerial photos.
The healthcare providers in recent times have realized that Electronic Health Records or EHR (obvious tools for healthcare improvements); will not alone suffice for complete transformation of patient and population health. Understanding the difference that the GIS software can bring to the world of healthcare, the clinicians have deduced that the software can help them arrive at insights which cannot be derived from EHRs alone. The advancements with GIS range from improving the comfort of patients to adding a few more years to their life span. Perhaps GIS has emerged as one of the most gripping technologies, meant for efficiently linking geographical links to illness. As more and more IT investment move to uncover trends and patterns in care delivery and well-being of patients, the GIS is sure mark its significance. Furthermore, it helps the healthcare professional to follow and take into account all the parameters that needs to be taken care, while rendering service to a patient. In one of the cases, the University of Southern California’s Public Health Program, utilizes GIS in many of its various initiatives, including its Cancer Surveillance Program. Listed below are the benefits of implementing the GIS software in healthcare:
• Spotting trends in Health: The GIS software accesses home address, workplace, and other such demographic data that is collected for all the patients and entered into the system. This data is geo-referenced and mapped, for the healthcare professionals to visualize the locations of patients and further determine, it there are clusters of specific types of ailments associated with certain working conditions, such as those of cancer, diabetic, and cardiovascular patients.
• Avoiding the Outbreak of Epidemic Diseases: Among the abilities of GIS, one of the most significant ability is the use of geographical and other inputs to identify the potential spread of diseases. Such data is of utmost importance to on-the-ground clinician, working constantly for saving lives of patients, since it enables them to prepare prior, reducing the spreading of the disease, such as, Ebola.
• Effective Use of Personal Data: Collecting large quantities of precise personal records is expected to reveal abundant information for personalized healthcare to patients, thus impacting extensive regional treatment plans. The wearable technology integrated with GIS is capable of amassing broad amount of information of sleeping pattern, average heart rate, and other such related information. This would also open new realms of research in healthcare.
• Enhancing Services: At last, the GIS software allows community leaders and developers to work with diligence towards hospitals, and help them take larger steps keeping in mind the required healthcare needs. Moreover, it will also help in locating neighborhoods that require specific health services.
The apt use of GIS and EHRs together, will help target patients who need immediate care intervention. The benefits of integrating the GIS software will continue to rise as more and more healthcare providers embrace the change, elevating the connectivity between the hospitals and communities they serve.