- Public health is the macro, citywide view of health. Epidemiology, air quality, UV radiation, health research and development, population health management, food safety, health literacy and other large-scale issues are the concern of city public health agencies. Smart public health uses ICT to improve outcomes for citizens and cities alike. City agencies can use sensors to collect data on air quality, noise pollution, UV radiation, diseases and a host of other factors that impact public well-being. They can also proactively receive health information directly from citizens, by encouraging them to share their health feedback and experiences through mobile apps. This data can then be analyzed to detect trends and potential problems – and to inform city decision-making – which might include anything from zoning laws to emission standards to mobilizing health providers to respond to an outbreak.
- Health services are how cities support the mental and physical well-being of residents. Traditional approaches to health care are being challenged by several factors that seriously strain tight city budgets:
• Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stress and mental health problems have grown significantly in the last decade, and are often concentrated in urban areas.
• Many regions of the world have inadequate health services that are unable to keep up with demand from growing populations, particularly as people age – and live longer.
• Urban populations continue to swell around the globe; over half of all people now live in cities and the trend is expected to continue.
The emerging discipline of smarter healthcare – sometimes referred to as e-health or e-Care – uses technology to overcome these chal- lenges (and greatly improve outcomes) in these ways:
• It broadens and deepens access to health services.
• It addresses health factors holistically, across a broader range of city services and departments, and by focusing on prevention and healthier living.
• It supports better cooperation, collaboration and productivity between multidisciplinary and often geo-dispersed teams of health professionals.