Wednesday, July 24, 2013
A Really Interesting Example Of How Geo-location Services Are Making A Difference in Health.
This appeared a little while ago.
Summary: When it came time to find the best location for its new Melbourne-area hospital, private healthcare group Epworth Healthcare turned to geospatial analytics to find the most underserviced area and deliver exactly the services its population requires.
An investment in geospatial data analysis has provided a significant improvement in decision-making as healthcare group Epworth HealthCare scoured the state of Victoria for the ideal location and services mix for a new private teaching hospital.
The choice of site for the $447m facility – which will be built next to Deakin University in the Melbourne satellite city of Geelong and will rival the group’s major facility in inner-Melbourne Richmond – came after the group’s planning heads teamed up with geospatial group MapData Services to conduct an extensive analysis of demographic and medical services across Victoria.
That analysis involved sourcing a range of data including Australian Bureau of Statistics figures around population growth and demographics, details of currently available health services, and the geographical distribution of particular types of conditions.
The latter data set was pulled from the records of Epworth’s existing facilities in Richmond and suburban Camberwell, with years of patient address data – separated from any identifying information to protect patient privacy – fed into the system to model the geographic spread of Epworth patients over the years.
In the past, “we had always looked at these files in Excel and gone through reams and reams of numbers to make these decisions,” Lisa Smith, group manager for business opportunity and development, told ZDNet Australia. “It’s harder to picture it when it’s in a table, but it’s a lot easier when it’s on a map. You can quickly identify the highest use areas, and those areas where there are large numbers of patients but few hospitals.”
Data was fed into a geographical information system (GIS) and colour-coded to highlight significant trends across the region.
Once the MapData work in combining and mapping the myriad data sources was complete, it quickly became clear that Geelong represented a significant vacuum in terms of healthcare availability.
Other are noting similar trends but with a different take we have the following.
Posted on Jul 16, 2013
By Jeff Rowe, Contributing Writer
"Location, location, location" is a phrase that's long been associated with real estate, but in recent years it's also played a role in attempts by healthcare professionals to track disease. Now, some are putting health IT to work in adding location information – where patients have lived – into their EHRs.
"There's a huge body of health information that's been generated at high levels, particularly at the state and county levels, but it's had little effect in doctors' offices," said Bill Davenhall, senior health adviser for ESRI, a California-based provider of geographic information systems (GIS) services to a variety of industries.
If Davenhall has anything to say about it, that's going to change soon. In his eyes, the healthcare sector has done a great job of incorporating genetics and lifestyle into the factors considered when patients are treated, but "The third leg of the stool should be locational history."
After all, it's certainly worth knowing if a patient grew up near a metal manufacturing plant, for example, as chromium, which is used in metal manufacturing processes, is known to cause brain tumors.
Moreover, Davenhall added, while eating locally grown foods is a growing theme in health circles, it may not be such a wise idea if, say, the local soil has been contaminated by past industrial use or a specific toxic dumping incident.
While geomedicine, which Davenhall describes as a process of taking generalized environmental information "and pushing it into the interface between doctors and patients," may not be a common practice now, he points to three ways that IT is helping pave the way for the use of geomedicine in the future.
It is fascinating to see how gradually the power of knowing where you are is being integrated into analysis to help with real health problems.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Wednesday, July 24, 2013