Author, editor, and GIS for healthcare expert Ric Skinner is the guest on this episode of the Medical Author Chat. Ric is the owner of Stoneybrook Group and writes the blog healthGISGuy. Ric is the editor of a book due out in May 2010 – GIS in Hospital and Healthcare Emergency Management. A description of the book can be read here.
Update 7/21: GIS for Hospital and Healthcare Emergency Management is now available as an ebook.
Make sure you listen to the end for some outstanding advice for any situation from Ric.
In this episode Ric and I discuss what Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is and how it can be used by healthcare professionals. Ric described the purpose of GIS is to “Bring geospatial technology on healthcare preparedness.” Uses of GIS include dispatching resources, monitoring hospital bed availability, utilization of specific resources, routing resources to facilities or incidents, and tracking of patients. Listeners may be familiar with Google Flu Trends which maps flu activity based on Google search data. GIS is a tool for spatial thinking.
Ric used social networking tools, like LinkedIn, to recruit subject matter expert authors. He also used his blog, profession specific list servs, and his own personal network. The authors submitted sixteen chapters in areas like tracking infections within a hospital, tracking H1N1, use of GIS to identify vulnerable populations during a wildfire, and monitoring workplace and worker safety.
Ric also provided this advice to aspiring authors:
- Narrow the focus so it is manageable
- Look for an area that has not been covered very well
- Be patient, organized, and understanding of subject matter experts
- Set a realistic production schedule
- Always have a plan B