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2012 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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2012 National Meeting

2014 — Applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Methods to VA Health Services Research

Bauer MS, and Penfold R, COE-Boston; Fortney J, COE-Little Rock; Kazis LE, and Lee A, COE-Bedford; Cowper DC, REAP-Gainesville;

Workshop Objectives:
Geographic information systems (GIS) provide unique insight regarding the delivery and use of healthcare in VHA by linking data on clinicians and patients to the locations they provide/use care and the locations they live/work. Recently developed space-time GIS methods facilitate causal modeling of changes in clinical practice (e.g., diffusion of innovation) and patient outcomes. This session will: 1) review current examples of how GIS can been used to transform the delivery of care in VHA; 2) present examples of GIS analytic methods; and 3) give an opportunity for attendees to discuss the application of GIS to their research areas with an expert panel. Specific objectives are: 1) Familiarize attendees with ongoing GIS-related research in VHA and a general overview of the types of questions GIS can be used to answer; 2) Provide basic tools and resources for conducting GIS research (e.g., free software, sources of VHA geographic data, sources of clinician and utilization data, statistical approaches); 3) Present an example of cutting-edge space-time analysis of practice change in VHA regarding the use of newer antipsychotic medications; and 4) Describe how geography is relevant in an “air-tight” administrative system.

The first 30 minutes of this 90-minute workshop will be devoted to an overview of GIS work currently underway or recently completed in VHA (Penfold, Fortney, Cowper). The next 20 minutes will be devoted to an illustration of dataset construction issues that need to be addressed in order to prepare VA administrative data for GIS analysis, based on the experience in a current HSR&D-funded grant (Bauer, Kazis, Lee). The final 40 minutes will be devoted to a panel discussion regarding applicability of GIS methods to topics raised by participants (all presenters). This exercise and discussion will focus on applicability and feasibility of applying GIS methods to specific projects that the audience members propose.

Target Audience:
VA health services researchers with little to no knowledge of geographic methods or their potential applicability to high-priority health services research questions.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
Some familiarity with working with large administrative datasets is assumed. No familiarity with GIS or other geographic methods is necessary.

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