Designing Modern Urban Care Systems With Connectivity In Mind
The need for sustainability will leave no stone unturned, and that includes healthcare. Despite being a part of everyday life in modern cities and being non-negotiable with it, healthcare nevertheless needs to make changes to clean up its footprint. According to an influential 2019 study published in PLoS One, the health industry is responsible for 12% of acid rain emissions in the USA and 10% of category air pollutants. More worryingly, it contributes 2% of all carcinogenic emissions. As cities bear the brunt of polluted air quality, it is a primary objective of citizens and healthcare authorities across the world to create a sustainable solution for modern healthcare, and connectivity is providing an answer to this. The efficiency provided by connecting services will provide an effective conduit to improving the entire system.
Working to specification
Many of the emissions produced by healthcare are from over-consumption. Therefore, reducing consumption to only necessary levels will help to reduce the amount of pollution put into the air. How can this be achieved in cities? Water is a high starting point. According to a study published in IOP Science, water movement has a significant carbon footprint. The time and effort it takes to make it run from the tap consume vehicle hours, energy for pumps, and thousands of hours in labor, all contributing greenhouse gases to cities. Water can be easily conserved, saving both the fluid and the cost of pumping it. To use the example of dentistry, it’s estimated that people who leave the tap running while brushing will waste 24L of water per day. Making that single change will create huge benefits that will impact cities directly, given they already have a tough time with the effective treatment of wastewater.
Excess demand is created when people don’t visit the doctor for the right reasons. At the same time, a reluctance to visit for genuine concerns can create health problems. Meeting these issues in the middle is the role of big data and data sharing. The cryptocurrency craze has offered a genuine solution to this; as outlined by Deloitte, blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrency, has the power to create HIPAA-compliant data sharing on a whole new level. By providing seamless records between specialists and giving patients quick access to analysis, this will improve the level of care provided and minimize unnecessary trips, reducing strain on the system.
Big data in the city
According to HealthXL.com, Singapore has been a trailblazer for smart cities. Healthcare is part of this. Partnering with big companies around the world, such as Verizon, Singapore, have found ways to alter the makeup of their city to improve health subtly. This includes manipulating traffic signals to reduce car time spent on the road, reducing emissions, placing air filters in areas of poor air standards, and using evolving building standards in new construction.
Together, these incremental changes are putting up living, breathing smart cities that have a healthcare system to match. By constantly attending to the needs of people and making moves to reduce the causes of disease, the burden of the entire system is lessened. This, in the long run, will be essential for urban residents.