Initial exploration of newly implemented public health policy using Geographic Information Systems: the case of a U.S. Silver Alert program

December 1, 2014


  • Taka Yamashita
  • Dawn C. Carr
  • J. Scott Brown

Public health policies are designed for specific subsets of the population. We assert that utilization patterns can be effectively assessed using geographic information systems (GIS). This paper uses the Silver Alert program, a recently implemented public health policy, as a case for how and why GIS can be used to examine utilization patterns. Design. The paper uses visualized data and spatial statistics to assess utilization patterns and mission adherence. Results show disproportionate utilization patterns of the Silver Alert policy. Findings suggest that the North Carolina's Silver Alert policy needs to be adjusted to more effectively address its mission. From this case study, we propose ways future programs, particularly the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, might use GIS to examine utilization patterns as a means to better understand whether and in what ways the health care needs of the public are being met with such a policy.

Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 37(3), 378-404.

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