Geographical Information Systems: Applications and Limitations in Oncology Research

ArticleinOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.) 25(12):1221-5 · November 2011with33 Reads
Source: PubMed
The relationship between geography and cancer incidence and treatment is a critical area of health outcomes research. Geographical information systems (GIS) are software packages designed to store and analyze data related to geographic locations. Although more commonly associated with the social sciences and urban planning, the use of GIS software in medical research has been increasing. Moreover, since the 1999 establishment of the Geographical Informational Systems Special Interest Group (GISSIG) at the National Cancer Institute, oncology has been at the forefront of GIS-related health research. In this review, we discuss the potential applications and limitations of GIS software in oncology research. Our aims are to help clinicians and policy makers interpret studies generated using GIS, and to help clinical investigators implement GIS in future research.
    • "It has long been recognized that the incidence of cancers varies by regions, [4,5] possible reasons can be location‑based environment exposure and shared cultural and behavioral risk factors. [4] With the growth of communication technology nowadays scientists are not the only audience and users of cancer data. Policymakers, media, NGOs and even the ordinary people are other groups who are seeking to access and analyze this data. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To facilitate analysis, interpreting and sharing cancer data and investigation spatial and geographical aspect of cancers in Isfahan province, cancer cases distribution was displayed using geographic information systems (GIS). About 118,000 cancer data, which were confirmed in national cancer registration unit were extracted. Age-specific incidence rate and age standardized rate (ASR) of cancer cases from 2006 to 2010 was calculated for Isfahan province and its different districts. Distribution of ASR was determined according to sex and age groups. Spatial maps were drawn with the help of Arc GIS version 10 (ESRI, Redland, CA, USA) software in choropleth based maps. The data are classified in GIS environment by means of quantile method. Data were described with the help of maps spatially. Age standardized rate of cancers was higher in men than in women (134.58 vs. 115.4). The highest ASR was reported in the Isfahan (ASR: 133) and lowest in the Chadegan counties (ASR: 28). Different geographical distribution patterns of cancers were seen in district level. Cancer incidence was higher in the Isfahan, Lenjan, Fereidon Shahr and Falavarjan districts (134.3, 117.2, 113.5 and 111.1 respectively) among men and in Isfahan, Shahin Shahr, Lenjan and Najafabad districts (122.8, 102.3, 94 and 93 respectively) among women. The incidence rates of most cancers were lowest in the North East region of the province compared to the rest of the region. Using GIS for visual displaying of cancers facilitated communication with the policymakers and community. This study provided hypotheses about differences in the incidence of cancer in Isfahan districts. Higher age-specific incidence rate in the Isfahan city is probably a reflection of problems in addressing the patients in cancer registration. Complementary studies are needed to evaluate lower ASR in the North East regions of the province.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015
    • "Nykiforuk and Flaman [27] carried out a literature review to identify how GIS applications have been used in health-related research. They found that in general, researchers had focused on the distance or travel time to health facilities2829303132 rather than time taken for home care services employees to travel to home care recipients. The aim of our study is to learn how nurses and health workers in home care services spent their working time using GIS to analyze a weekly plan of daily schedules and driving routes, and in particular to calculate distance driven and the amount of time spent driving, in addition to visiting time. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Home care services in Norway are provided for free, and municipalities are responsible for their provision to all those in need of them, in accordance with the Act on Municipal Health and Care Services. The costs of home care services are increasing. Many municipalities are now working to find the best cost-effective solutions to ensure that home care services are of sufficient quality but still affordable. This paper describes how nurses and health workers spend their working time, with a hypothesis that driving time and time required to document details of the care given are underestimated in weekly planning schedules. Methods This article sets out a descriptive retrospective study of day-schedules and driving routes for staff working in home care services. Data were analyzed using GIS. Results The driving time was between 18% and 26% of working time in municipality A, and between 21% and 23% in municipality B. Visiting time varied between 44% and 62% in municipality A, and 40% and 56% in municipality B. Other tasks, including the legally-required documentation of the care given, varied between 19% and 32% in municipality A and 21% and 38% in municipality B. Overall, 22% of the driving routes in municipality A, and 14% in municipality B, took more time than expected. In municipality A, 22% of the day-schedules underestimated overtime; this figure was 14% in municipality B. Conclusions In home care services, time taken for driving and to write statutory documentation seems to have been underestimated. Better planning and organization of driving routes would reduce driving time and allow more time for other necessary work.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
    • "This acts as a deterrent to use the data. The lack of trained personnel has also been cited as a key reason why EO is not used by urban planners (Aneja et al. 2011). Lein (2009) proposes the use of ''machine intelligence'' to bridge the gap between advances in EO research and application in local governments. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cities are constantly changing and authorities face immense challenges in obtaining accurate and timely data to effectively manage urban areas. This is particularly problematic in the developing world where municipal records are often unavailable or not updated. Spaceborne earth observation (EO) has great potential for providing up-to-date spatial information about urban areas. This article reviews the application of EO for supporting urban planning. In particular, the article overviews case studies where EO was used to derive products and indicators required by urban planners. The review concludes that EO has sufficiently matured in recent years but that a shift from the current focus on purely science-driven EO applications to the provision of useful information for day-to-day decision-making and urban sustainability monitoring is clearly needed.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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