Monitoring health impacts of climate change: A GIS application to display real-time surveillance of environmental data and health outcomes combined with demographic information
Paul Belanger, PhD
Nancy VanStone, PhD
The BCCDC/NCCEH Environmental Health Seminar Series provides an opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange on a variety of environmental health topics. The seminars can be attended in-person or online.
Dr. Paul Belanger, Director, Knowledge Management, KFL&A Public Health
Dr. Nancy VanStone, Research Associate, Knowledge Management, KFL&A Public Health
A key need for climate change adaptation strategies is effective public health surveillance. Geographic Information System (GIS) applications are common tools for public health purposes. GIS technology provides visual tools—through the creation of computerized maps, graphs, and tables of geographic data—that can assist with problem solving and inform decision-making. KFL&A Public Health has developed and maintains a situational awareness tool, the Public Health Information Management System (PHIMS) that enables visualization and spatial analysis of environmental data with underlying population-based indicators (demographics). PHIMS also displays real-time aggregate health outcomes for geographical units as small as the forward sortation area. Health outcomes are provided by the Acute Care Enhanced Surveillance (ACES) system that provides emergency department-based syndromic surveillance for Ontario. By overlaying information regarding environmental or weather hazards with both hazard-based health outcomes and demographic information, public health events can be identified earlier to better prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.