Thinking Spatially, Acting Collaboratively - A GIS-based Health Decision Support System for Improving the Collaborative Health-planning Practice.
The field of collaborative health planning faces significant challenges due to the lack of effective information, systems and the absence of a framework to make informed decisions. These challenges have been magnified by the rise of the healthy cities movement, consequently, there have been more frequent calls for localised, collaborative and evidence-driven decision-making. Some studies in the past have reported that the use of decision support systems (DSS) for planning healthy cities may lead to: increase collaboration between stakeholders and the general public, improve the accuracy and quality of the decision-making processes and improve the availability of data and information for health decision-makers. These links have not yet been fully tested and only a handful of studies have evaluated the impact of DSS on stakeholders, policy-makers and health planners. This study suggests a framework for developing healthy cities and introduces an online Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based DSS for improving the collaborative health planning. It also presents preliminary findings of an ongoing case study conducted in the Logan-Beaudesert region of Queensland, Australia. These findings highlight the perceptions of decision-making prior to the implementation of the DSS intervention. Further, the findings help us to understand the potential role of the DSS to improve collaborative health planning practice.