Course Details

Course Number: 90-834

Health Care Geographical Information Systems

Units: 12

A geographic information system (GIS) provides an effective way to visualize, organize and manage a wide variety of information including administrative and medical data, social services, and patient data. Public health and medical research agencies are also using GIS to map health-related events, identify disease clusters, investigate environmental health problems, and understand the spread of communicable and infectious disease.

This course uses a unique approach for teaching GIS in health care. It imbeds learning how to use GIS software in the context of carrying out projects for visualizing and analyzing health-related data. Each week includes a lecture and computer lab that focuses on a health care issue which uses ArcView GIS from ESRI, Inc. to analyze data or solve a problem. Through weekly assignments and project case studies students will not only learn how to use the software but will also learn the many distinctive advantages of using GIS for health care policy making and planning.

By the end of the course, students will have sufficient background so that they can become expert users of GIS in health care organizations - building, managing, and using GIS maps and health related data.

Learning Objectives:

1. Develop an understanding of the world’s quickly-growing spatial data infrastructure and of how to put it to work for producing location-based health information.

2. Identify the relevant spatial characteristics of health application areas enabling professionals to integrate spatial thinking and GIS analysis into their health care careers.

3. Have an ability to use geospatial technologies to gain a significant advantage in the information technology field, describing the spatial relationships of topics such as cancer mortality rates, uninsured populations, infant mortality and life expectancy, elevated blood levels of lead in children, correlation of poverty and injuries, population variables for health service areas and clinics, and heart-attack fatalities outside.

Soft Prerequisites:

Prerequisites: 90-728 Introduction to Database Management, 91-802 Information Systems for Managers or permission of instructor.


90-728 Introduction to Database Management 6 Credits
91-802 Information Systems for Managers 12 Credits

Kristen S. Kurland