Incorporating geospatial capacity within clinical data systems to address social determinants of health

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, School of Liberal Arts, The Polis Center, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.
Public Health Reports (Impact Factor: 1.55). 01/2011; 126 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):54-61. DOI: 10.2307/41639305
Source: PubMed


Linking electronic health record (EHR) systems with community information systems (CIS) holds great promise for addressing inequities in social determinants of health (SDH). While EHRs are rich in location-specific data that allow us to uncover geographic inequities in health outcomes, CIS are rich in data that allow us to describe community-level characteristics relating to health. When meaningfully integrated, these data systems enable clinicians, researchers, and public health professionals to actively address the social etiologies of health disparities.This article describes a process for exploring SDH by geocoding and integrating EHR data with a comprehensive CIS covering a large metropolitan area. Because the systems were initially designed for different purposes and had different teams of experts involved in their development, integrating them presents challenges that require multidisciplinary expertise in informatics, geography, public health, and medicine. We identify these challenges and the means of addressing them and discuss the significance of the project as a model for similar projects.

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    • "t al . 2013 ) . Useful intermediate goals , such as improving methods for handling confidential health and spatial data and devel - oping protocols for including or linking spatial data and Electronic Health Record ( EHR ) data , may help move the field toward a comprehensive and efficient system for collecting , sorting and sharing spatial data ( Comer et al . 2011 ; Simpson and Novak 2013 ) . There is considerable interest throughout the health sector in the potential for better environmental and spatial data to contribute to better health . A recent abstract illus - trates this interest and the need for more trained personnel to fulfil the promise of geospatial data in health . In the abstract ,"
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