Potential of GIS and Spatial Knowledge in Health Care and Public Safety

Potential of GIS and Spatial Knowledge in Health Care and Public Safety

Eilon Blanc (Tel Aviv University, Israel) and Iris Reychav (Ariel University Center, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3990-4.ch038
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Abstract

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are a relatively new tool in health care services and organizations. However, health-care professionals who know how to utilize GIS and other spatial tools get a powerful decision support tool. This chapter presents an overview of the GIS and spatial simulation in the health care environment. In the first section, an introduction to the situation is provided. Then, in the second section, the key terms are introduced: access in health care, GIS, and spatial simulation. In the third section, different cases where GIS supports decision making in the health care services are shown. In the fourth section, two examples of spatial simulation are shown. Finally, future research directions and conclusions are discussed.
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Background

To understand the contribution of GIS and spatial analysis to improving health care satisfaction, some basic concepts, which are relevant to the topic, must be introduced. At first, the basic concept of access in health care is introduces, as GIS can support elements with spatial implications, like distance between a patient and the nearest hospital. The second concept we introduce is GIS. In order to understand how GIS can support health care, one must have an initial understanding about the concept and possibilities of GIS. The last concept which is introduced is the simulation in spatial context.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agent: A representation of an individual, a vehicle or a machine in simulation. Each agent has unique characteristics, and during a simulation, each agent behaves independently, based on a behavioral model.

Preparedness: The capability of an emergency service to respond to future request of ambulance is a timely manner.

Dispatcher: The person who decides which ambulance to send for an emergency call. The decision is based on the urgency of the request, location of ambulance, and other factors.

Thematic Layer: A spatial representation of analyzed data of elements of the same type.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS): Computerized system that allows analyzing, correlating, and displaying of data, based on spatial characteristics.

Access: The ability of people to receive health services. In relation to the spatial field, access is measured by distance or arrival time to health-care facilities.

Thematic Layer: A spatial representation of analyzed data of elements of the same type.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS): Computerized system that allows analyzing, correlating, and displaying of data, based on spatial characteristics.

Census Track (also known as a census area or census district): A geographic region in which population data is acquired and stored in a database, for further analysis and spatial representation.

Census Track (also known as a census area or census district): A geographic region in which population data is acquired and stored in a database, for further analysis and spatial representation.

Access: The ability of people to receive health services. In relation to the spatial field, access is measured by distance or arrival time to health-care facilities.

Preparedness: The capability of an emergency service to respond to future request of ambulance is a timely manner.

Dispatcher: The person who decides which ambulance to send for an emergency call. The decision is based on the urgency of the request, location of ambulance, and other factors.

Agent: A representation of an individual, a vehicle or a machine in simulation. Each agent has unique characteristics, and during a simulation, each agent behaves independently, based on a behavioral model.

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