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The Challenges of Smart Cities on Health

The development of smart cities can improve the health of everyone. Sensors, mobility, scanning and Big Data are all tools available today to anticipate, help and care for patients in smart cities.

Smart cities have many innovations to improve the lives of people but also their health, directly or indirectly. The doctor-patient relationship is already facilitated through video communication via smartphones and to the latest generation of Internet networks.

Patients are increasingly adopting connected objects, especially to monitor their heart rate, measure their number of steps (and therefore distances travelled) and analyze their sleep. As part of the patient care journey, this data can be of great interest to caregivers who can also use it for remote and continuous monitoring.

By retrieving data from mobile devices, doctors and other practitioners have a 360-degree view of patients in real-time. In addition, fast access to any secure terminal allows them to obtain data faster and determine the appropriate protocol of care. Finally, health applications can now capture much more data than before (test results, drug information, blood glucose levels, and medical images…) and offer a better quality of care.

The medical sector is not alone in benefiting from the digitization of cities. Applications and digital installations appear to improve the comfort and health of residents like Singapore, where people experiment with different connected systems. An intelligent rod for example allows the visually impaired to circulate more easily in the city, and the digital cane communicates with its social and physical environment to move and avoid obstacles with sensors on the ground but also at man’s height. Also in Singapore, a map called Green man + helps seniors cross the streets by stopping traffic.

Other cities like Prague want to improve the health of their inhabitants by fighting against air pollution through technology. In this European capital, new construction materials capable of swallowing pollution should appear in 2018. Cities will also be able to detect sources of contamination with sensors, smartphones or connected cars, like Google vehicles, which are already spotting methane leaks in street view.

The Smart City sensors thus assist the health system but also analyze the city’s data. A peak of aspirin consumption identified by the Smart City can thus become an epidemiological alert and trigger faster implementation of solutions by health authorities. In addition, the aggregation and analysis of data from WHO, Google news, Twitter, Facebook…can be used to map disease outbreaks. Tomorrow, Artificial Intelligence will be able to detect and analyze behaviours in public health.

The open management of Big Data ensures that a more measurable world would also be a more calculable world through the predictability of events for patients. Preventative prevention through smart cities involves great confidence in individual digital data. These innovations involve the transfer of data between patients, health organizations and the entire sector.

The information collected may be personal data that allows for patient involvement in its management and participation in patient communities. This implication brings new relations between patients and health staff. A care can be organized around hospital consultations such as remote patient consultation and follow-up, e-health market, self-measurement, etc., reconfigure the health economy around a game between personalization and merchandising.

Smart cities have positive consequences for the health of citizens and offer real opportunities to adapt health systems. The innovations of smart cities can thus improve the health of the inhabitants, but also their daily lives through transport, social relations, energy management, housing or culture. Many projects are moving in this direction.

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