The article begins by detailing the benefits of using GIS systems in order to aid in understanding information instead of tables and statistics. The TIGER files, or geographic base files for the United States which go down to the street level of information, are then brought up and discussed. Examples are given as to how GIS systems can be useful in everyday life. A specific case study done by the Preston Medical Library in 2012 is examined. They used GIS in order to solve a problem in Tennessee. The case study shows how GIS and census data was used to display economic patterns and applied to Knoxville, Tennessee’s social problems. The goal was to improve the Consumer and Patient Health Information Service hotline (CAPHIS). CAPHIS data was collected and put into a database using the information from consumer calls. They also used GIS data to show how diseases spread in Tennessee. The data helped them to discover that there is not a link between disease spread and call rates to CAPHIS. The article then goes on to discuss the methodology the Preston Medical Library used to come to these conclusions about the GIS data. Microsoft Access was used to file zip codes which were geocoded and put into ARCgis. Socioeconomic data was also added for poverty, age, and disability rates in Tennessee. The visual representation made the data easier to understand. The results are then discussed using the six maps produced using the data. The data concluded that 14 counties in East Tennessee needed to become part of the outreach for Preston Medical Library. The Preston Medical Library admits that there are limitations to their study. For example, there were many rural communities, which were not accessible. After the study was completed, more plans were put into place to use GIS data in order to track call rates alongside social problems. The data helped the Preston Medical Library immensely, and will continue to in the future.
This map details the rate of calls and the rate of ambulatory disability per 100,000 people within Tennessee. This is only one of the maps made (out of 6) in order to show where the prevalence of people who were not using Preston’s CAPHIS call center are located. This demonstrates how the counties around Knox were chosen in order to examine. The counties were chosen because they have the highest rate of calls to the CAPHIS call center. There is an area in Shelby county where a call was made, but it is not useful to the Preston Medical Library as the data is an outlier.
Socha, Y. M., Oelschlegel, S., Vaughn, C. J., & Earl, M. (2012). Improving an outreach service by analyzing the relationship of health information disparities to socioeconomic indicators using geographic information systems. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 100(3), 222–225. http://doi.org/10.3163/1536-5050.100.3.014