Starting work yesterday my colleagues and I had a real surprise.
The boss greeted us as positive, jovial, forward thinking and smiling as ever. Something seemed strange, but as we got to our floor we were handed some note paper and briefed - very briefly - about a "local surprise for you hard-working, dedicated clinicians".
So it was off to the desk and on with the log-in. The surprise came with the provision of a series of maps and questions and exercises. The maps just like google maps, multimaps and other variants provided various views and choices of emphasis; street, satellite and several boundaries: our organization's borders the frontiers of partner PCTs, GP practices, social services. After all these decades GIS had arrived on the clinician's desktop.
There was more to follow though. My mug-shot was there in addition to my colleagues (ah... I'd wondered what that recent (online*) form was for). Drag and dropping this beautiful pic on the map the nursing homes pulsed (as if to confirm that I am alive at least clinically) and changed colour. I know something about drill down, aggregation and such like and there they were: caseload parameters: gender, referral source, diagnosis (if known), drug classes, MMSE. I was getting heady as it was possible to look at clients living at home AND/OR residential care. I nearly flipped when there was more available about the referrers and not just the frequency of referrals but the expected frequencies too. There was going to be quite a compare and contrast exercise there post-2011 Census.
On another map I suddenly thought of 'use the bus Ethel': a carer who when she could went everywhere and also used the trains. Active body : Active mind and there it was - the travel logistics and public transport routes across the patch. This was not just GIS on the clinician's desktop it was GIS for the caseload manager. What proportion of my caseload was within 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 .... miles of base?
Individual insight aside there was team oversight too, a tool to engage in peer group supervision - with (and get this) tools for the 'integrated health and social care team' to investigate local commissioning and how that factors in geographically. Amazing! Yes there are tools to do all this now, but they are not in the hands of the people they should be. Reports are just for managers? What a waste!!
I was just really getting ready to do that piano-playing-finger-flexing thing that you do when you are about to be extraordinarily creative. I mean I had waited for this, public MENTAL health.... my mouth was dry and here it was - GIS nirvana...
Then it happened....
It was time to wake up and get to work.
*I should have recognised it was a dream at this point.
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The 2011 Census: Office for National Statistics
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