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Towards Web-based representation and processing of health information.

Gao S, Mioc D, Yi X, Anton F, Oldfield E, Coleman DJ - Int J Health Geogr (2009)

Bottom Line: The designed HERXML has been proven to be an appropriate solution in supporting the Web representation of health information.The utilization of Web-based processing services in this study provides a flexible way for users to select and use certain processing functions for health data processing and mapping via the Web.This research provides easy access to geospatial and health data in understanding the trends of diseases, and promotes the growth and enrichment of the CGDI in the public health sector.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. sheng.gao@unb.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: There is great concern within health surveillance, on how to grapple with environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, population mobility and growth. The Internet has emerged as an efficient way to share health information, enabling users to access and understand data at their fingertips. Increasingly complex problems in the health field require increasingly sophisticated computer software, distributed computing power, and standardized data sharing. To address this need, Web-based mapping is now emerging as an important tool to enable health practitioners, policy makers, and the public to understand spatial health risks, population health trends and vulnerabilities. Today several web-based health applications generate dynamic maps; however, for people to fully interpret the maps they need data source description and the method used in the data analysis or statistical modeling. For the representation of health information through Web-mapping applications, there still lacks a standard format to accommodate all fixed (such as location) and variable (such as age, gender, health outcome, etc) indicators in the representation of health information. Furthermore, net-centric computing has not been adequately applied to support flexible health data processing and mapping online.

Results: The authors of this study designed a HEalth Representation XML (HERXML) schema that consists of the semantic (e.g., health activity description, the data sources description, the statistical methodology used for analysis), geometric, and cartographical representations of health data. A case study has been carried on the development of web application and services within the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) framework for community health programs of the New Brunswick Lung Association. This study facilitated the online processing, mapping and sharing of health information, with the use of HERXML and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) services. It brought a new solution in better health data representation and initial exploration of the Web-based processing of health information.

Conclusion: The designed HERXML has been proven to be an appropriate solution in supporting the Web representation of health information. It can be used by health practitioners, policy makers, and the public in disease etiology, health planning, health resource management, health promotion and health education. The utilization of Web-based processing services in this study provides a flexible way for users to select and use certain processing functions for health data processing and mapping via the Web. This research provides easy access to geospatial and health data in understanding the trends of diseases, and promotes the growth and enrichment of the CGDI in the public health sector.

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A map generated from a WPS. This map represents a processing result in image format from a WPS.
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Figure 7: A map generated from a WPS. This map represents a processing result in image format from a WPS.

Mentions: The health data we used in this study include four kinds of respiratory disease data (Asthma, COPD, Influenza, and Cancer) collected by the New Brunswick Lung Association. The disease data are geo-coded to spatial position through the postcode. The spatial data we used include the six levels of spatial boundary data that cover the entire territory of New Brunswick. The six levels are "Province," "Health Region," "Census Division," "Census Subdivision, " "Forward Sortation Area," and "Dissemination Area" geo-layers. All the health data and geometrical boundary data are stored in Oracle database. Low counts (i.e., less than five observations) or false counts are not represented to further ensure privacy and accuracy. WMS services are used to publish the health facility distribution maps. WFS services distribute the different levels of spatial boundary data. In this study, we provide access to new Web Processing Services in the CGDI to enable statistical representation of health information. The WPS services support the statistical calculation as well as mapping of the health data. Figure 6 shows an example of an HERXML document generated by a WPS, and Figure 7 presents a map representation generated from a WPS.


Towards Web-based representation and processing of health information.

Gao S, Mioc D, Yi X, Anton F, Oldfield E, Coleman DJ - Int J Health Geogr (2009)

A map generated from a WPS. This map represents a processing result in image format from a WPS.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2651125&req=5

Figure 7: A map generated from a WPS. This map represents a processing result in image format from a WPS.
Mentions: The health data we used in this study include four kinds of respiratory disease data (Asthma, COPD, Influenza, and Cancer) collected by the New Brunswick Lung Association. The disease data are geo-coded to spatial position through the postcode. The spatial data we used include the six levels of spatial boundary data that cover the entire territory of New Brunswick. The six levels are "Province," "Health Region," "Census Division," "Census Subdivision, " "Forward Sortation Area," and "Dissemination Area" geo-layers. All the health data and geometrical boundary data are stored in Oracle database. Low counts (i.e., less than five observations) or false counts are not represented to further ensure privacy and accuracy. WMS services are used to publish the health facility distribution maps. WFS services distribute the different levels of spatial boundary data. In this study, we provide access to new Web Processing Services in the CGDI to enable statistical representation of health information. The WPS services support the statistical calculation as well as mapping of the health data. Figure 6 shows an example of an HERXML document generated by a WPS, and Figure 7 presents a map representation generated from a WPS.

Bottom Line: The designed HERXML has been proven to be an appropriate solution in supporting the Web representation of health information.The utilization of Web-based processing services in this study provides a flexible way for users to select and use certain processing functions for health data processing and mapping via the Web.This research provides easy access to geospatial and health data in understanding the trends of diseases, and promotes the growth and enrichment of the CGDI in the public health sector.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. sheng.gao@unb.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: There is great concern within health surveillance, on how to grapple with environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, population mobility and growth. The Internet has emerged as an efficient way to share health information, enabling users to access and understand data at their fingertips. Increasingly complex problems in the health field require increasingly sophisticated computer software, distributed computing power, and standardized data sharing. To address this need, Web-based mapping is now emerging as an important tool to enable health practitioners, policy makers, and the public to understand spatial health risks, population health trends and vulnerabilities. Today several web-based health applications generate dynamic maps; however, for people to fully interpret the maps they need data source description and the method used in the data analysis or statistical modeling. For the representation of health information through Web-mapping applications, there still lacks a standard format to accommodate all fixed (such as location) and variable (such as age, gender, health outcome, etc) indicators in the representation of health information. Furthermore, net-centric computing has not been adequately applied to support flexible health data processing and mapping online.

Results: The authors of this study designed a HEalth Representation XML (HERXML) schema that consists of the semantic (e.g., health activity description, the data sources description, the statistical methodology used for analysis), geometric, and cartographical representations of health data. A case study has been carried on the development of web application and services within the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) framework for community health programs of the New Brunswick Lung Association. This study facilitated the online processing, mapping and sharing of health information, with the use of HERXML and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) services. It brought a new solution in better health data representation and initial exploration of the Web-based processing of health information.

Conclusion: The designed HERXML has been proven to be an appropriate solution in supporting the Web representation of health information. It can be used by health practitioners, policy makers, and the public in disease etiology, health planning, health resource management, health promotion and health education. The utilization of Web-based processing services in this study provides a flexible way for users to select and use certain processing functions for health data processing and mapping via the Web. This research provides easy access to geospatial and health data in understanding the trends of diseases, and promotes the growth and enrichment of the CGDI in the public health sector.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus