Mapping A New Future For GIS

Mike Millard | Healthcare IT News | May 29, 2014

What can geographic information systems do for healthcare?

Electronic health records are obviously critical tools for healthcare improvement, but they alone aren't enough to truly transform patient and population health. As more and more IT investments go towards analytics tools to uncover trends and patterns in care delivery and wellness, one type of technology is starting to make inroads: geographic information systems.

GIS – it can stand for geographic information systems, as well as geographic information science – refers to the ability of computers to capture, store and present varieties of geographic data. According to Esri, a Redlands, Calif.-base GIS software developer, GIS technology "lets us visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns and trends."

Clearly, few industries are better served by those capabilities than healthcare. Slowly, providers are realizing that GIS can help clinicians arrive at insights that wouldn't necessarily come with just EHRs alone...