4 ways cities are getting smarter healthcare

Wed, 2013-10-02 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Advances in digital technology from both the public and private sectors are making healthcare smarter and improving lives every day.  Scroll down for a look at four innovative approaches.

Smart heatlhcareSan Francisco's Heat Vulnerability Index – As climate change leads to rising temperatures, heat-related illnesses and deaths will likely increase without intervention. The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFPDH) has developed a tool designed to help pinpoint neighborhoods most at risk during extreme heat events. The idea is that by identifying vulnerable areas, residents and public health workers can be better prepared. The Health Vulnerability Index is based on a compilation of a wide array of data sets -- satellite imagery, temperatures and demographics among them. Read more about it in Government Technology >>

Oslo, Norway's sensor networks for the elderly – Years ago, Kari Farsund was an intensive-care nurse. Now she suffers from Alzheimer's and is participating in a trial of healthcare technology from Abilia that is designed to help the elderly stay in their own homes. The system includes a wall-mounted screen with Skype that allows care providers to check in, spoken reminders about daily tasks and events, and wireless sensors that send out alarms if, for instance, the stove is left on too long or someone opens a door in the middle of the night. Because the system tells her what is happening each day, Kari Farsund says it gives her something to look forward to. Her husband says it gives him peace of mind, knowing he'll wake up if she opens a door in the middle of the night. And for the Norwegian government, it represents a big savings over what it costs to keep patients in nursing homes. Read more about it from the BBC >>

Boston hospital teams with IBM to improve care of critically ill children – It may have started at IBM labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Boston Children's Hospital, but what is being called the world's first cloud-based global education technology platform aims to improve the medical knowledge on the care of critically ill children no matter where they live. The backstory is that some seven million children under age five die every year from illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria even though there are medical solutions that could save their lives. Smart Cities Council Lead Partner IBM explains the new platform – OPENPediatrics – "trains medical professionals using a unique on-demand, interactive, digital and social learning experience, equipping them to perform life-saving procedures and treatments for children who would not otherwise have access to intensive care."  Read more about it in HealthcareITNews >>

NYC Girls Project targets self-esteem with help from Twitter and YouTube – A $330,000 public health campaign will utilize Twitter, YouTube, subway ads and other means to reach girls between the ages of about 7 and 12. The objective is to counter negative body images that may lead to eating disorders, drinking, acting out sexually, suicide and bullying. Conceived by Samantha Levine, Mayor Bloomberg's deputy press secretary, the campaign may be the first of its kind by a major city. Read more about it in The New York Times >>

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