Geospatial Science and Point-of-Care Testing: Creating Solutions for Population Access, Emergencies, Outbreaks, and Disasters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objectives: (a) To understand how to integrate geospatial concepts when implementing point-of-care testing (POCT); (b) to facilitate emergency, outbreak, and disaster preparedness and emergency management in healthcare small-world networks; (c) to enhance community resilience by using POCT in tandem with geographic information systems (GISs) and other geospatial tools; and (d) to advance crisis standards of care at points of need, adaptable and scalable for public health practice in limited-resource countries and other global settings. Content: Visual logistics help integrate and synthesize POCT and geospatial concepts. The resulting geospatial solutions presented here comprise: (1) small-world networks and regional topography; (2) space-time transformation, hubs, and asset mapping; (3) spatial and geospatial care paths™; (4) GIS-POCT; (5) isolation laboratories, diagnostics isolators, and mobile laboratories for highly infectious diseases; (6) alternate care facilities; (7) roaming POCT—airborne, ambulances, space, and wearables; (8) connected and wireless POCT outside hospitals; (9) unmanned aerial vehicles; (10) geospatial practice—demographic care unit resource scoring, geographic risk assessment, and national POCT policy and guidelines; (11) the hybrid laboratory; and (12) point-of-careology. Value: Small-world networks and their connectivity facilitate efficient and effective placement of POCT for optimal response, rescue, diagnosis, and treatment. Spatial care paths™ speed transport from primary encounters to referral centers bypassing topographic bottlenecks, process gaps, and time-consuming interruptions. Regional GISs position POCT close to where patients live to facilitate rapid triage, decrease therapeutic turnaround time, and conserve economic resources. Geospatial care paths™ encompass demographic and population access features. Timeliness creates value during acute illness, complex crises, and unexpected disasters. Isolation laboratories equipped with POCT help stop outbreaks and safely support critically ill patients with highly infectious diseases. POCT-enabled spatial grids can map sentinel cases and establish geographic limits of epidemics for ring vaccination. Impact: Geospatial solutions generate inherently optimal and logical placement of POCT conceptually, physically, and temporally as a means to improve crisis response and spatial resilience. If public health professionals, geospatial scientists, and POCT specialists join forces, new collaborative teamwork can create faster response and higher impact during disasters, complex crises, outbreaks, and epidemics, as well as more efficient primary, urgent, and emergency community care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number329
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 26 2019

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Keywords

  • Demographic care unit
  • disasters
  • emergency management and preparedness
  • epidemics
  • geospatial care path™
  • point-of-care testing
  • small-world network
  • spatial care path™

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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