Place matters when it comes to healthcare08/11/2007
Southern California's Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) leverages Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to improve healthcare delivery, refine research initiatives and educate the next generation.
GIS allows the LLUMC medical team to collect, analyse and share information that provides optimal solutions to critical public health issues.
LLUMC is situated in one of the most earthquake-prone areas in America, and as the largest hospital in the region has a social responsibility to be prepared to respond to emergencies of every type.
Because of this, LLUMC wanted to build a public-facing system that coordinated all emergency resources, so the medical centre approached Esri to help develop a web-based, situational awareness GIS for emergency service use.
The result of this collaboration is the Advanced Emergency Geographic Information System (AEGIS) – designed to monitor and map the location and status of emergencies, locate victims and emergency response personnel, and track other factors that can impact response times.
Using AEGIS, emergency personnel can also determine which nearby hospital emergency rooms can accept more patients, while data relating to traffic congestion and accidents on freeways is overlaid to help ambulance drivers plot the fastest route.
Meanwhile, the Loma Linda University Adventist Health and Smog (AHSMOG) Study – which began in 1977 – uses geospatial tools to evaluate how long-term air pollutant exposure can affect the health of non-smoking adults.
Southern California has the dubious distinction of having the worst air quality in America, and through the study it was found that women exposed to high levels of particulate air pollution have a greater risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
Other findings from the AHSMOG Study have indicated that long-term exposure to air pollution is related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and lung cancer.
The AHSMOG Study continues to help shape public health policy at a national level, and heavily influences the criteria by which federal and state air pollution standards are set.
LLUMC has also turned to GIS technology to map the adolescent pregnancy rates for each high school attendance area in southwest San Bernardino County. This has made it possible to identify which areas may need additional resources to address teenage pregnancy.