SPRINGFIELD – Baystate Health System’s nationally and internationally recognized Health Geographics Program was honored recently at the ESRI International Health Conference with the Vision Award for its “innovative and important use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology” in hospital and health care applications.
Dr. Richard Wait, chairman of the Department of Surgery at Baystate Medical Center, and director of the Health Geographics Program, accepted the award at the conference held Oct. 17-20 in Washington, D.C. He was presented the award by Bill Davenhall, global manager, ESRI Health and Human Services.
Baystate’s Health Geographics Program was further cited in receiving the award as a pioneer in “pushing the GIS envelope” with the only program of its kind the in the world.
More than 240 health GIS professionals from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa attended the conference. Among the major organizations represented were the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services, World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, as well as state health departments, foreign country health organizations, academic institutions, and others.
ESRI Inc., based in Redlands, Calif. has been developing GIS software for about 35 years and has approximately one-third of the world GIS software market with one million GIS users in more than 100,000 locations.
Baystate Medical Center’s Health Geographics Program (www.baystatehealth.com/gis) was initiated in 1998 and is the only one of its kind in the United States. Under Wait’s direction, the full-time GIS staff applies more than 70 combined years’ experience in health, environment, spatial statistics, healthcare marketing, bioterrorism, and emergency preparedness planning and support.
Representatives of the Health Geo-graphics Program are frequent speakers at local, regional, and national meetings and participate on the Baystate Medical Center Emergency Management Committee, Massachusetts Hospital Association Hospital Surge Capacity Workgroup, Western MA Municipal GIS Users Group, and the Worcester and Hartford Municipal Medical Response System regional committees, among others