A Web-Based Graphical User Interface for Evidence-Based Decision Making for Health Care Allocations in Rural Areas

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Background: The creation of successful health policy and location of resources increasingly relieson 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 resourceallocation decisions. As health services are rationalized, the development of tools such graphicaluser interfaces (GUIs) is especially valuable at they assist decision makers in allocating resourcessuch that the maximum number of people are served. GIS can used to develop GUIs that enablespatial decision making.Results: We have created a Web-based GUI (wGUI) to assist health policy makers andadministrators in the Canadian province of British Columbia make well-informed decisions aboutthe location and allocation of time-sensitive service capacities in rural regions of the province. Thistool integrates datasets for existing hospitals and services, regional populations and road networksto allow users to ascertain the percentage of population in any given service catchment who areserved by a specific health service, or baskets of linked services. The wGUI allows policy makersto map trauma and obstetric services against rural populations within pre-specified travel distances,illustrating service capacity by region.Conclusion: The wGUI can be used by health policy makers and administrators with little or noformal GIS training to visualize multiple health resource allocation scenarios. The GUI is poised tobecome a critical decision-making tool especially as evidence is increasingly required fordistribution of health services.
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International Journal of Health Geographics 2008, 7:49 doi:10.1186/1476-072X-7-49
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International Journal of Health Geographics
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A Web-Based Graphical User Interface for Evidence-Based Decision Making for Health Care Allocations in Rural Areas
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