Local health departments could benefit from the use of geographic information system mapping software to guide priority-setting and resource allocation decisions by mapping gaps between program services and community health needs. Although some health departments are using GIS, a new Rand Corp. study finds program gap analysis lacking because health departments lack data, lack funding or lack technological skills for analyzing GIS maps.
Researchers interviewed 65 sources at four LHDs, concluding that health departments have unequal access to mapping technology. If it is centralized, staff may not know they have a mapping unit, and when there is access to GIS, experts may be hard to come by.
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