GIS and its Role in Modern Healthcare

The science of epidemiology relies heavily on geographical information systems and data provided by GIS. Geospatial data and information have been used for more than two centuries to track the spread of disease and epidemics.

GIS and its Role in Modern Healthcare
GIS and its Role in Modern Healthcare

GIS and its Role in Modern Healthcare

The application of geographic information to healthcare has been revolutionised in the last decade. With the SARS, Ebola, and now, the Coronavirus outbreak, geographic information has become an indispensable part of healthcare in modern times.

This information is leveraged through web-based means and assists in the analysis of data in almost real-time so that it can be used to understand healthcare and disease patterns. This data presents itself in interactive formats and dashboards where it is updated almost constantly. The availability of near-real-time data helps healthcare workers, policymakers, and stakeholders in decision making and impact analysis. 

The science of epidemiology relies heavily on geographical information systems and data provided by GIS. Geospatial data and information have been used for more than two centuries to track the spread of disease and epidemics. The 1960s brought in powerful tools to visualize and analyze geographic information and spatial data when the computerization of GIS took place. 

Since 2003, when the SARS outbreak happened, there has been a radical change in the way geographic information is applied in the protection and saving of human lives. At this point in time, GIS data not only enables the analysis of the disease spread but also helps estimate the future spread of disease and identify areas that could be affected next. 

With the advent of machine learning, predictive analytics in applied geographic or spatial data has enabled looking into the future almost accurately.

Not only this, but the WHO and John Hopkins University have also developed interactive dashboards to monitor the spread of Coronavirus.

Geographic information has become essential to modern healthcare. It is used in almost every aspect of healthcare services, including patient management, elderly care, and even providing intensive and special care.

Global healthcare organizations, hospitals, and stakeholders use geographic information to strategically develop policies, plan for growth, and analyze future requirements. GIS data helps healthcare organizations analyze populations and the resources required to meet the needs of these people. This helps reduce wastage of precious healthcare resources and also prevents a shortage.

Presently, GIS data is being used across the world to map existing cases of the Coronavirus, analyze potential spread patterns, predict future trends of spread, map populations that are vulnerable and map response teams and relief. 

Maps are also widely used to communicate between organizations and nations to understand potential global threats, create strategies for control, and allocate resources at scale. There are many dashboards created at local, national, and international levels proving that GIS and spatial data are essential to modern healthcare.

Spatial data combined with advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data can help in the visualization of data, predicting trends, and understand public health and disease transmission on a large scale.

GIS and other complementary technologies help stakeholders make informed decisions.