Health and Human Services: Page 7 of 13

Sun, 2015-10-25 20:51 -- Jon DeKeles
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The security recommendations that follow offer a common sense approach to resolving privacy issues.

Publish privacy rules. Smart cities should let residents know what they are doing to protect their privacy.

Create a security framework. A smart risk mitigation strategy designed to identify and deal with threats will give cities the tools to prevent security breaches.

Combat cybersecurity threats. Security professionals have warned of a dramatic rise in the number of cyber attacks against critical infrastructure – ranging from electric grids and the transportation system to hospitals and other providers of key services. Implementing a cybersecurity network as soon as possible will enhance the safety of personal information – and reduce its cost.

Take precautions to protect patient and student data. Remove personally identifying information from data that is to be stored in the cloud to protect their privacy if the data is stolen or compromised.

These steps will not only provide protections for sensitive personal information, they also will go a long way toward minimizing privacy concerns residents may have about using relatively new services such as telemedicine and other advanced ICT-based technologies that may not be new, but are unfamiliar to residents asked to use them.

By taking these steps, cities will do much to assuage potential privacy concerns that could become a barrier to telemedicine or other advances in health and human services technologies designed to help them.


We talked earlier about how public health agencies use smart devices and other instrumentation to collect data about air quality, disease outbreaks and the like. Collecting it is only a starting place.

Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications. Connecting the smart devices deployed around cities for public health data-capture to a citywide communications system is important for realizing improved public health outcomes in the same way that smart gas or water meters must be connected to optimize those infrastructures. Water quality monitors that detect a chemical leak that could contaminate a popular swimming beach isn’t useful unless the information is communicated in real time to all of the city departments that might need to get involved.

Data management

To reinforce the privacy and security strategies highlighted in the previous section, smart cities will want to make sure all departments are following the same rules.

Create and adhere to a citywide data management, transparency and sharing policy. Again, due to the sensitive nature of data involving health and human services, it goes without saying that a policy needs to be very explicit about who owns which data sets, who has access, how it can be shared and when it should not be shared.

When cities adopt an open data policy for non-sensitive information, they unleash enormous possibilities. In conjunction with a strong and clear privacy policy, city health and human services data can be used to create new health, social services and education apps –an easy win for cities and residents.

Architect a single health history for citizens. As we mentioned earlier, smart cities integrate personal health data from their different agencies and departments so that patients can enjoy the benefits of a single health history. This repository can be more than passive storage – it can be an online, security-enhanced storage, sharing and services platform that citizens can access.