Geospatial Intelligence: A Diagnostic Dashboard For A Healthier Nation

Chris Powell | Government Health IT | July 17, 2015

When it comes to public health, and identifying the events and behaviors that affect it, agencies charged with protecting the health and welfare of citizens need to leverage every available tool at their disposal to quickly and effectively respond to growing threats. Data mapping is a tool to answer the call.

Data mapping isn’t a new technique in the healthcare spectrum. The earliest use of mapping for public health was in the 1850s by John Snow when he used hand-drawn maps to determine and show the locations of cholera deaths, proving to disbelieving physicians that the disease’s source was a tainted water pump. The advances made over time are significant, allowing agencies to track diseases and more easily anticipate the impact they would have on a specific area. HealthMap is a prime example of this capability, utilizing online sources for disease outbreak monitoring and real-time surveillance of emerging public health threats.

In the case of emergencies, planning and crisis response, open-source information is readily available via the CDC. Data in and of itself is not enough. Optimally, healthcare would have three main pieces: needs and supplies of quality resources (data), analytics tools to configure data variables and geospatial intelligence models to map these variables. Using analytics tools to visualize information gives users more insight into the patterns within the data. By adding in geospatial intelligence models and tools, users can factor in geography to find patterns and trends, allowing them to reach a conclusion faster...