The sharing of spatial information among members of the health sector can have vast strategic and operational benefits. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, can be a key technology in optimally using this information. There are two types of applications under GIS: (1) studying health outcomes and epidemiology and (2) studying and informing healthcare delivery. With the advent of GIS that can be used over the Internet, a wider audience of decision makers and stakeholders now has the opportunity to use these technologies through something as simple as a Web browser. There is a small but growing number of published articles giving examples of using GIS for nursing practice and research. However, increased efforts are needed to make nurses, other health professionals, and health organizations aware of the possibilities of these information products for empowering their decision making. An incremental "capacity building" approach is proposed as the best way forward for sustainable and sustained nursing GIS development. The aims of this article are (1) to provide a brief nontechnical overview for readers not familiar with GIS, (2) to provide a framework for the adoption of GIS in health service organizations, and (3) to identify ways in which GIS can impact on the nursing management of patients.
- Diffusion of Innovation
- Geographic Information Systems