177700 Using Google Maps to integrate and disseminate health information

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bradford S. Wheeler, BMA , Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Xiaoming Zeng, PhD , Department of Health Services and Information Management, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Christopher J. Mansfield, PhD , Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Background - Academic and state centers maintain large data repositories containing data obtained from a variety of sources. Our center produces myriad reports including a mortality trend series by county, health care atlas, and an area physician directory. The center continues to seek innovative ways of managing these data and displaying information for community use, particularly in underserved communities. Objective/purpose -A web-query data system was built to provide health status, health resource, and demographic data relevant to community-based and academic researchers in an accessible and usable format. The use of open-source software was employed for cost-effective development. Methods - The repository was constructed by migrating the existing data repository to a relational database hosted on a server with an open-source operating system, database management system and web server. An interface for querying the data repository was constructed using the open Google Map web service platform. Users' needs and interests as well as usability and acceptance of the system will be evaluated through means of a follow-up survey. Results - The system is easily used and will be demonstrated. With a combination of variables available for selection by the user, data is available in a dynamic fashion that would have required considerable resources to prepare by hand. Discussion - As health data becomes more easily accessible using the world-wide-web, it is logical that resources be devoted to the dynamic display of regional health data. Advantages of web-based query systems include large audience penetration and flexible combinations and formats of data desired. The use of open-source software serves as a model for eliminating licensing fees while providing control over data output in a system that may be shared openly with other communities. The overall platform is cost-effective when developer time is factored together with potential future savings in personnel time.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key health indicators and data sources of interest to public health researchers and academic faculty. 2. Recognize a strategy to compile, publish, and display data leveraging open-source software. 3. Apply tools to discover major variations found in underserved populations.

Keywords: Community Research, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on this project as a graduate researcher.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.