A Web-based graphical user interface for evidence-based decision making for health care allocations in rural areas

International Journal of Health Geographics. 2008;7(1):49 DOI 10.1186/1476-072X-7-49


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Health Geographics

ISSN: 1476-072X (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Medicine (General): Computer applications to medicine. Medical informatics

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Leight Margo
Schuurman Nadine
Berube Myriam


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The creation of successful health policy and location of resources increasingly relies on evidence-based decision-making. The development of intuitive, accessible tools to analyse, display and disseminate spatial data potentially provides the basis for sound policy and resource allocation decisions. As health services are rationalized, the development of tools such graphical user interfaces (GUIs) is especially valuable at they assist decision makers in allocating resources such that the maximum number of people are served. GIS can used to develop GUIs that enable spatial decision making.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We have created a Web-based GUI (wGUI) to assist health policy makers and administrators in the Canadian province of British Columbia make well-informed decisions about the location and allocation of time-sensitive service capacities in rural regions of the province. This tool integrates datasets for existing hospitals and services, regional populations and road networks to allow users to ascertain the percentage of population in any given service catchment who are served by a specific health service, or baskets of linked services. The wGUI allows policy makers to map trauma and obstetric services against rural populations within pre-specified travel distances, illustrating service capacity by region.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The wGUI can be used by health policy makers and administrators with little or no formal GIS training to visualize multiple health resource allocation scenarios. The GUI is poised to become a critical decision-making tool especially as evidence is increasingly required for distribution of health services.</p>