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The Brooklyn Healthcare Improvement Project

Community Health Planning Partnership/GIS Workgroup Project

Building a Geographic Information System:

What is a Geographic Information System (GIS)?

A Geographic Information System is a graphical representation of data, similar to a map. It manages spatial data, displaying the physical relationship of information. For example, a GIS could display a map showing the locations of pharmacies in relation to ambulatory clinics.

Why do we use a GIS?

Knowing which services different populations typically need, and how far away the services are, health planners can use GIS to anticipate demand for any particular service. By visualizing where the deficits in healthcare services exist, we can use GIS to allocate health resources.

What information will be displayed on the GIS?

Over the last few months, B-HIP completed a thorough survey of community health service centers (clinics, pharmacies, dentists, etc) in Northern-Central Brooklyn. Similar to the 2010 Census, canvassers performed a door-to-door survey of health providers moving block-by-block mapping process identifying health resource centers.

What areas were covered by the canvassing survey?

By Zip Code:

View Survey Zip Codes in a larger map

By Community District:

  • CD3 – Bedford Stuyvesant (incl. Tomkins Park North & Stuyvesant Heights)
  • CD4 – Bushwick
  • CD5 – East New York (also incl. Highland Park, New Lots, & Starrett City)
  • CD8 – Crown Heights (also incl. Prospect Heights & Weeksville)
  • CD9 – Crown Heights South (also incl. Prospect Lefferts Gardens & Wingate)
  • CD14 – Flatbush (also incl. Midwood)
  • CD16 – Brownsville (also incl. Ocean Hill)
  • CD17 – East Flatbush

How will B-HIP use the GIS?

By importing this data into the GIS, we can visualize where the health centers are located. We can also visualize what services, equipment, and staff the centers possess and what they lack. As a coalition, we will be able to allocate resources appropriately based on the conclusions we draw from examining the maps of the GIS.

What else can the GIS do?

The GIS can also show if patients live within reasonable distances to services including primary care offices, specialty clinics, mental health services, hospitals, and pharmacies. Using these GIS maps, we can determine which areas are lacking in health services based on their population size, and be able to make recommendations as to how to bridge the divide between areas with resources and those without.

How can the GIS aid in improving health outcomes in our community?

Knowing the demographics, health issues, and treatments offered in an area can help community practices, hospitals, and health industry organizations decide how much money they'll need to spend in order to run a center successfully, where to build facilities, or where to deliver medications. For example, if the state wanted to build a multi-specialty primary care center, we could examine our GIS map to determine where the majority of the population has the longest distance between them and a health care center. The new center would be built in the location that gave the most access to the greatest number of people.