Geospatial technology provides a useful way to analyze and visualize spatial and temporal relationships among data. Researchers, public health professionals, policy makers, and others use GIS to better understand geographic relationships that affect health outcomes, public health risks, disease transmission, access to healthcare, and other public health concerns. GIS is being used with greater frequency to address neighborhood, local, state, National, and international public health issues. GIS improves understanding of a problem, what response is necessary, and how to prevent and mitigate future outcomes.
Healthcare Reform legislation provided an opportunity to bolster and enhance utilization of GIS by Federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and others. To help coordinate greater utilization by such agencies, a Geospatial Management Office (GMO) is needed within HHS. Such an office should be modeled after the Department of Homeland Security’s GMO.
- MAPPS believes such geospatial data sets provided by geospatial professionals would include:
- Matching the location data of health care providers, facilities and services with populations in need;
- Demographic data, including the age, race, sex, and income of the population;
- Health outcome data, including relative epidemiology incidence and health facilities data; and
- Environmental data, including land use and cover; transportation; water use and potential sources of water pollution; point and on-point pollution (including chemical releases into water, air, and soil); electric power lines; information on toxic chemicals and hazardous and municipal waste; and radiation.