chapter  12
GIS and Health: from Spatial Analysis to Spatial Decision Support
ByAnthony Gatrell
Pages 16

There can be few areas of human inquiry that require more of a multidisciplinary perspective than that of health. Understanding the nature and incidence of disease and ill-health, the demands made upon health care systems, and how best to shape a configuration of health services, necessitates insights, approaches and tools drawn from disciplines that straddle the natural, social and management sciences. Given that ill-health is suffered by people living in particular localities, that an understanding of this requires knowledge of global and local environmental and social contexts, and that healthcare resources have to be located somewhere, it is not surprising that a spatial perspective on all these issues usually proves fruitful. As a consequence, GIS as both science and technology can inform our understanding of health problems, policy and practice - as I hope to show.