"When you start mapping them, you see that they're all kind of clumped together," Krause says.
That thesis served as the beginning of Health Data Analytics, a company that she started in order to map the state's health workforce, services and outcomes.
Krause says she had not always imagined herself in the medical field. Krause, who grew up in Kansas, attended graduate school in California at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She graduated in 1989 with a master's degree in international policy and Russian. She says her plan was to go into the Central Intelligence Agency, but with the Cold War finally thawing, the focus began to shift from Russia to the Middle East.
When she came to Jackson 25 years ago, she says she was just passing through, but a little while after she got here, she took a position as a researcher at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and worked her way up from the bottom.
"Every time I would think I was leaving, I would get promoted," she says.
After a while, she decided to attend school at UMMC to get her master's degree and then doctorate in preventive medicine and epidemiology. She graduated with both degrees in 2007.
Krause says that as she worked her way up, she eventually became a resource for people when it came to computers.
"I had an aptitude for it, so I just started being the go-to computer person," she says.
While she worked toward her master's and doctorate, the dental school at UMMC asked her to put in a local area network and hired her to be the LAN administrator. Before long, she says she had built up the network and had servers, a server room, a data warehouse and a clinical electronic dental record. She then accepted the position of information technology director.
Through working on her thesis, Krause began working on the app for dental workforce distribution demographics. Once she completed it, she showed it to dentists, who she says weren't excited about it. Once she showed it to physicians, it began to gain traction.
Thus far, Krause has worked with the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners, the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure and the Mississippi Board of Nursing on the app, and she is currently in talks with the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy and the state Department of Health.
"As part of application development, we can inform the professions about how they can situate themselves to meet the needs of the state," Krause says. "But also we could bring all the members of the health-care team together, so you aren't making these decisions in a vacuum. ... If you're deciding where you think you need to place physicians, but you're not taking into consideration advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, what does the rest of it look like?"
Krause says the next big step is making a map of health outcomes so the state's health professionals can see where specific diseases, such as diabetes, are striking hardest and what types of resources are most needed in specific areas.
The company also has plans to create an app to help people find the medical professionals they need in their area.
While it is important to create these maps for health professionals to see where the state's needs are, Krause says it is also important to look at factors such as the number of people living in the area, the demographics and whether the area could have any other barriers to care.
"You've got to look at the population, how many people are really going to use the services, too, so not just how many people are there," Krause says.
"You might have a provider, a physician or dentist or whatever, across the street, but if there's another barrier to care, then you could still have a problem," she says. "It's not just about availability, but that is a really important point. And then you can address some of those other more complicated issues—culture, language barrier, education."
For more information, visit viz4health.com.