Spatial Organization and Planning of Health Services by the Use of GIS; The Case of Zanjan City



Extended Abstract
In many cities, lack of the needed special and efficient localities for health centers and other physical factors that play significant roles in providing beneficial services, has always been the major concern for city authorities and the inhabitants. There is an urgent need for a systematic, well-defined and effective method for locating an ideal point for such purposes. The chief objective of the research in hand is to investigate the overall distribution of hospitals and the deprived areas i.e. the parts which don’t benefit from standardized facilities in Zanjan city; It is also the subject of our study to utilize the GIS and network analysis method for an optimal distribution. In this study, the identified points obtained from digital and linear maps as well as the descriptive data derived from field studies have been gathered and linked to information center. Then, for each influential factor in finding optimal locations for construction of hospitals, the concerned layers such as land compatibility, closeness to the central areas of the districts, closeness to the fire stations, access to the major transportation networks, distance from industrial workshops, closeness to park zones of cities, slope of the region and the distance from the center of quarter have been provided and the functions have also been specified for each layer.

This research is applied developing in scope and the methodology is descriptive-analytic. For collecting information and data required, documentation and field studies such as interviews were conducted and using these data, the facilities and Health services in the region have been investigated. Afterward, the GIS and network analysis method for an optimal distribution and construction of hospitals in the concerned city was used so that it could be a scientific framework for the policy makers and other planners who deal with health sections.

Results and Discussion
In this study the researcher tried to carry out a systematic planning for urban environment. First of all, the figures, maps and descriptive data were used and then the needed analysis was conducted based on GIS. At the same time, using the network analytical model in the software Arc Map environment the domain access of the users for such services have been specified. After that, for each effective factor in finding places for health centers, the special layers along with the overall layers based on a systematic and academic framework have been proposed for further analytical investigations. In the next stage we investigated the values of the layers and based on the value of each layer, the combination of all layers was shaped. Then the exited hospitals were evaluated in accordance with the values of their locations. It was through the network analytical model that the rate of distance and time of the access of the inhabitants to the nearest hospital was specified. Eventually, analyzing the findings, the most suitable places were proposed for the establishment of hospitals. In this stage, having combined the layers, a separate map was drawn and finally the independent map was created for the construction of hospital, classified in three different characteristic. In the last stage, the sections of the city which had been characterized as the third value (the highest value) were determined as the most appropriate places for a hospital (in eight layers the highest value has been specified to the most appropriate place). Given that the least needed space for the construction of a hospital is 25000 m2, the pieces which are closer to such areas are separated from the final map and using the Xtools, the centre of surface has been changed to points and later these points along with points related to existing hospitals were compared with the transportation network of Zanjan City and was determined as a comparative map of the existing condition of hospital and their optimal points and the related map was drawn.

The final results of the research show that at least seven hospitals are needed in Zanjan city, whereas the researcher has identified eleven optimal points using GIS method for the construction of hospitals and thus the policy makers and planners dealing with hospital services can utilize such finding in the best possible ways. The result of the study shows that the existing hospitals and their locations are not compatible with the academic criteria. Also the analysis of the research proved that use of GIS is the most suitable way for analysis of present situation of health centers and other services in cities and subsequently optimal locations for such services that have very significant roles in planning for cities can fulfill a practical role.