GIS can be impactful just by its self, but when it’s combined with information like the census data collected by the government the outcomes are limitless. Libraries caught on to this trend and began to provide census packed GIS products. In 2011, the Preston Medical Library in Tennessee combined the U.S. census data and various GIS programs to create an outreach program called Consumer and Patient Health Information Service (CAPHIS). This program is an outreach program that equips medical risk customers with information that they are able to understand.
The whole purpose and goal of the program is to match information with the literacy rate and socioeconomic status of the consumer. When someone calls asking for medical information the library would use Microsoft Access to locate the caller using a zip code. From there, they are able to use the GIS information that has already been created to match a literacy rate with socioeconomic status for the individual. CAPHIS can then provide information to the individual that is easily accessible for their personal level.
Along the way CAPHIS was able to track the number and location of the callers to determine where the greatest need was. Each caller had a specific question relating to a certain medical issue. The library was able to see which diseases and medical conditions were prevalent in certain counties. GIS helped to provide and collect information on a larger scale that could be visualized.
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.