Using GIS to Improve Hospital Business

Using GIS to Improve Hospital Business

When it comes to improving a hospital’s profitability, technology firm Stratasan uses Esri ArcGIS and Esri Business Analyst to analyze their respective markets.

In an upcoming American Sentinel University webinar on Weds., Jun. 20 at 1 p.m. EDT, Jason Haley, GIS manager for the advanced health care data company Stratasan, will discuss how hospitals and the trillion-dollar health care industry are using GIS technology.

Haley uses Esri software to help map patient origins, both ethnically and geographically, so hospitals can make better decisions for advertising and staffing. Simply put, this GIS-driven data helps a trillion-dollar industry better understand its market.

In every major market, there are several hospitals competing against each other. They buy billboards, television time, radio advertisements and newspaper pages to win patients. Haley says GIS technology helps prioritize marketing dollars.

“Hospitals don’t need to advertise nationwide,” Haley says. “They don’t need to advertise 200 miles away, they just need to stay close.”

This is extremely important because hospitals are becoming large corporations, some owning 52 facilities. This 2009 blog post shows the top 10 largest hospital networks.

Haley says what all these hospitals, large or small, need is data.

“Everyone has to be able to talk about their community and talk about their patients and the state of their community’s health,” he says. “It’s going beyond the spreadsheets and surveys. Hospital executives want info graphics and maps at their fingertips. Almost every hospital wants to see a map rather than a 150-page Excel chart. A map shows where your patients are. GIS changes everything.”

GIS also helps in case of disease outbreak.

According to Esri, registering the precise address of a patient upon entering the hospital provides valuable information that can be combined with a GIS for rapid identification of a disease outbreak (e.g., several people complaining of similar symptoms visiting the emergency department within a few days) as well as enhancing the hospital’s revenue cycle with accurate billing information. Asset tracking and monitoring of both equipment and personnel throughout the hospital is vital to improving workflows and efficiency while also maintaining a higher quality of care.

This growing interest in GIS and health care was outlined in the American Sentinel University blog post GIS Technology Helps Health Care Industry Save Lives. But, the business side of GIS shows great promise for an industry that is highly competitive.

Haley says this growth is directly tied to the familiarity with the technology in Google Maps and iPhones as well as the understanding of local geography.

“The geographic and visualization of this is just important as important as any other business initiative in healthcare right now,” he says.