Health and Human Services: Page 6 of 13

Health and human services targets

As you’ll see in the pages that follow, there are two targets specific to this health and human services chapter and they will be discussed in detail. We’ll also explain how other universal targets apply to health and human services.

Instrumentation and control

Health and human services use instrumentation and control in two slightly different ways, but the primary mission remains the same as in other city responsibility areas. It’s all about data collection.

Implement optimal devices and other instrumentation for each human service. Implementing the right data-capturing devices across all of a city’s health and human services responsibility areas is the objective here. Given the new and different types of services involved, different kinds of instrumentation will be required.

For instance in a smart city, instrumentation can include smartphones and apps that allow people to directly participate in city public health and human services monitoring by providing feedback about conditions and experiences. For example, Council Partner IBM has created the Accessible Way app that allows users to report on the accessibility of their cities, and in doing so help construct a crowd-sourced knowledge base about urban mobility challenges.

In the healthcare, social services and education arenas, devices collect data from people for the most part. These include devices that may monitor how patients in a study are responding to a new medication or ones that record academic progress in a new teacher’s classroom. The purpose is to provide actionable data that can be analyzed for trends or problems.

Data-capturing devices are critical for the telemedicine systems mentioned earlier. Patients use devices to acquire data on their health status in the comfort of their homes and then transmit it to remote care providers. This greater efficiency can save time, money and resources. Similar savings can occur when health professionals remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. And the opportunity to use ICT for real-time, interactive checkups allows physicians to deliver emergency medical help that can save lives where more time-consuming traditional medicine may be too late.

In education, there are many ways to improve outcomes through ICT. Applying data analytics to test results, attendance and graduation rates can help pinpoint problems and trends. Today’s smart devices combined with all manner of web apps and social media tools connect students to teachers, to other students and to diverse learning opportunities in ways never imagined a few short years ago. In one example, school-owned smartphones that allowed a 24/7 wireless connection to teachers improved algebra proficiency results by 30%

Privacy and security

While technologies drive the growth of convenient new products and services, those same technologies have raised privacy concerns in many areas. It is critically important that citizens are able to trust that the information they share with programs and services via smartphones, social media and the like – and particularly potentially sensitive personal information – remain private.

To drive that point home, a TRUSTe survey found only 20% of participants believed the benefits of their smart devices were more important to them than their personal privacy. In other words, the great majority thought their privacy was more important than the convenience of their smart devices.