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

Their analysis focused on populations served by 78 low-resource medical facilities in 32 countries, which partnered with the nonprofit Chevy Chase, Maryland. England et al. used GIS to calculate populations within range of these facilities, incorporating publicly available 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 driving, one hour walking, and a 10-mile circular radius. The total populations served by Rad-Aid sites based on these three factors were over 189 million, 26 million and almost 111 million respectively. Meanwhile, the median populations treated at each individual location were nearly 1.8 million when using one hour of driving, with an average life expectancy of 68.4 years. The median infant mortality before age 5 was 3.8% and the median prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection was 3.1%.

England et al. regard such analyzes as 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 high populations of age-appropriate women or strategically locating ultrasound offerings to improve prenatal care in rural areas.

“GIS data can help inform the strategic implementation of imaging and radiation oncology services, for example to increase access to needed healthcare based on previously unavailable and/or inaccessible services,” noted the authors. “Geographical data points don’t usually 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. outreach efforts.”

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