J Med Syst 2004 Aug;28(4):349-60
Department of Health Administration, College of Health Professions, Governors State University, University Park, Illinois 60466, USA.
This study examined the extent to which health studies, mostly in public health and epidemiology, used geographical information systems (GIS). We identified a wide range of tools they used-ranging from geocoding through simple buffer/overlay functions to spatial query functions. However, studies tend to rely on tools outside of GIS for spatial statistical analyses. This may reflect a lack of spatial statistical tools that are suitable for health researchers whose data are rather geographically aggregated count data than continuous data. Implementation within GIS of spatial analytical tools suitable for aggregated data over a region will increase the use of GIS beyond simple GIS operations in health studies.