Geographic information systems, a useful tool for population health planning in radiology


Their analysis looked at populations served by 78 low-resource medical facilities in 32 countries, which partnered with the nonprofit Chevy Chase in Maryland. England et al. used GIS to calculate populations within range of these facilities, incorporating publicly accessible geospatial input databases such as population and land cover information and road locations from OpenStreetMap.

The authors used three constraints to estimate patient catchment areas: one hour of driving, one hour of walk, and a circular radius of 10 miles. The total populations served by Rad-Aid sites based on these three factors were over 189 million, 26 million, and nearly 111 million, respectively. Meanwhile, the median populations treated at each individual location were nearly 1.8 million using a driving time of one hour, with an average life expectancy of 68.4 years. The median mortality of children before the age of 5 was 3.8% and the median prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection was 3.1%.

England et al. consider these analyzes to be crucial, given the “capital-intensive nature” of radiology and the limited mobility of imaging equipment. They gave examples of setting up mammography clinics in areas with a high population of age-appropriate women or strategically locating ultrasound offerings to improve antenatal care in rural areas.

“GIS data can help inform about the strategic implementation of imaging and radiation oncology services, for example to increase access to needed health care based on services previously unavailable and / or inaccessible”, noted the authors. “Geographic data points may not generally come to mind as a contributing factor to health, but by incorporating this data into decision algorithms, organizations can account for these otherwise hidden variables that can influence efficiency. awareness-raising efforts. “


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