I recently had the good fortune of attending the Geodesign Conference sponsored by ESRI in Redlands, CA. I looked forward to the event with much anticipation as Array is in the middle of an intense development effort of a Geospatial Information System (GIS) Software as a Service (SaaS) platform to support our healthcare master planning and real estate advisory service lines. I already understood that GIS was becoming a bigger part of many companies’ value propositions in a number of other industries, and creating a real differentiator for some companies. Even with this knowledge of GIS going into the conference, I still came away feeling excited about the opportunities GIS technologies presents to our industry, both in healthcare and in design. However until the conference, I didn’t truly understand how directly applicable GIS technologies are to the healthcare strategic planning process, and how much value can be leveraged, not a couple of years from now, but right now…. today.

What became clear to me listening to GIS data geeks and planners was that for data intense industries which derive data in several forms and formats – and over numerous platforms – locational contextualization can create considerable value and clarity. Locational contextualization allows for the integration of many data layers through the provision of a unifying characteristic – geography – which is of primary strategic importance to healthcare organizations. Utilizing geography as the unifying characteristic, organizations can leverage all the disparate data they need for a truly integrated and comprehensive view of the marketplace, driving improved ROI. Additionally, with today’s GIS cloud solutions, they are now able to move from very inefficient workflows (from data collection and assimilation) and with mostly ineffective results (from a siloed and narrow reading of available data) to a dynamic, real time, multivariate analysis of strategies and opportunities. Through the aggregation of patient, population, real estate, strategic and asset based data, GIS platforms will enable our healthcare clients to scenario test strategic decisions to project ROI and to optimize service line approaches. By providing the ability to geospatially contextualize large amounts of ever changing data and validate business assumptions as strategic plans unfold, healthcare systems can discover trends and react more quickly, even pro-actively to service and real estate market conditions.


As speed to market is critical to long-term success in the new healthcare economy, Array has invested in the creation of a GIS SaaS platform to provide clients with a decision support mechanism that enhances our facilities and master planning deliverables.

With deep data wells and a unifying platform, our clients can utilize predictive modeling techniques to identify the most influential variables and highlight trends, allowing them to react quickly and with confidence. Through prescriptive modeling techniques, our GIS platform will enable our healthcare clients to perform real-time analysis to test potential investments, optimize their market strategies and to project the potential impact to their system and to the communities they serve.

Yet another significant advantage to a GIS solution is the ability to leverage 3D models. Today, many healthcare design and construction projects are delivered using 3D models. However, these models most often are not utilized by the organization beyond a design and construction project. With a GIS platform, healthcare clients can now begin to bridge the divide between strategic and facility master planning; design; construction; and operations.

Imagine a GIS cloud platform strategic planners can use to continually confirm their planning assumptions through the provision of near live data, and that enables facility directors to have all their real estate portfolio asset data (both owned and leased) linked to the health system’s strategic plans, represented by 3D models, and that contain all the facility and real estate information used to manage that asset and the wider portfolio, both on the cost and revenue side. Then imagine the strategic planners and facility directors being able to use the same platform, fostering interaction and strategic discussions, responding to real estate market trends and using predictive analytics to anticipate those trends and to optimize their real estate strategy. With a GIS platform, we can impart spatial perspectives to tabular data. As a result, a healthcare organization’s data becomes much more useful, accessible and valuable to the entire enterprise. Could GIS be the elixir healthcare systems need to finally unify the massive amount of data they both create and consume in serving their communities?