Updated: Aug 17
As more cities adopt Smart City technologies, opportunities to leverage real-time data concerning the municipal resources, assets, and public services increase dramatically. By analyzing these diverse data streams from neighborhoods, schools, office buildings, hospitals, and public spaces, Smart City enable better understanding of their environmental and health conditions. A few examples include:
● Air quality monitoring on the levels of harmful particles in the air at a given moment and specific locations.
● Bed occupancy sensors can relay information on current utilization of hospitals, skilled nursing, and other medical facilities.
● Road sensors can monitor current traffic, congestion, as well as roadway conditions.
● Environmental sensors can enable monitoring of seniors, the chronically ill, and at-risk patients without confining those patients to hospitals.
But the power of these data streams can be amplified when combined with other health-risk factors along with social and environmental determinants data. Leveraging its GeoHealth Platform, HSR.health can model and merge Smart City data with other data sets to achieve a variety of Healthy Smart City solutions. To illustrate, the above examples can be carried forward to:
● Patients with asthma, COPD, or other breathing-related conditions can be advised on areas to avoid during days and times of poor air quality. Additionally, health resources can be directed towards at-risk populations using the same data.
● By tracking bed occupancy, or more general medical facility utilization, patient transfer through the healthcare system can be streamlined. Visibility into hospital/health facility status will also aid disaster response scenarios.
● As hospital sensors become more sophisticated and able to track medical supply levels, current staffing, and equipment utilization – ambulances can be routed toward the facilities where patients will experience the lowest wait times and receive the best care.
● By tracking road conditions, commuters can be forewarned and offered alternate routes and road crews can know where to treat roads for icy and other wintery conditions – reducing the risk of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities, which remains one of the primary killers in America.
● Monitoring at-home environmental & building conditions for seniors and the chronically ill enables caregivers to provide care remotely where possible (e.g., turn on/off lights, raise/lower temperature, etc.) and to dispatch emergency response as needed.
Stratifying Smart City data by health risks in addition to social and environmental factors can potentially lead to a number of insights regarding the delivery of care. This in combination with redefining city processes creates the potential for improved health. According to Eugene W. Grant, Mayor of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, combining these disparate data sets in new ways and reimagining how cities function in light of these insights creates a “shared services hub” integrating information decision-making.
We All Benefit
Providers and patients are not the only beneficiaries of Healthy Smart Cities – the benefits spread across the population.PatientsThrough the synthesis of Smart City and health data, patients benefit from a more insightful, holistic approach to health care delivery – leading to improved health outcomes.CaregiversHealthy Smart Cities have the potential to enable friends, family, and neighbors to provide care to their loved ones remotely, reducing the conditions and risk of caregiving burnout and of costing caregivers their own health.HospitalsHospitals can utilize Healthy Smart City solutions to track procedural or utilization tendencies in order to better understand patient needs and reduce costs.PayersBoth public and private payers can utilize Health Smart City solutions to better understand their populations and develop approaches to help individuals make healthy choices.Social Safety NetAs populations become healthier and health care systems reduce expenditures, more resources can be devoted to safety net mechanisms that people count on.
Ultimately, Healthy Smart Cities have the ability to help everyone lead their healthiest lives. And healthier residents lead to reduced costs and fuller, happier lives.