Can Smart Cities Improve Our Health?

Fri, 2017-09-01 16:51 -- SCC Europe Staff

We’ve already seen the effects Smart Cities have with the introduction of new technologies in an urban environment, but can these advances actually save lives? The answer, quite simply, is yes. Machine learning and AI technologies can sift through data and information providing alerts and solutions for citizens that affect daily life, as well as long-term health. Let’s take a look at how smart city solutions can benefit its citizens health and what smart city leaders like you can do to help create these innovative services.

Technology at work

With the help of technologies like sensor networks, data collection and storage, smart cities can measure temperature, sound, water quality and pollutants, providing information on everything from E. coli outbreaks to lead poisoning. Just take a look at the Zika virus outbreak. One way to track how this disease may be spreading is with mobile phones, monitoring the way citizens are moving around a city. Pair this information with data collection from drones and technology—which can measure standing water and mosquitos potentially infected by the disease—and cities have a greater understanding of where the problem is stemming from and how to stop it.

Breaking down barriers 

Just as smart cities require collaboration between citizens, companies and government officials to compile data and effectively execute projects, the same goes for healthcare strategies. One of the best examples at the moment is the Brussels Region’s eHealth programme, which requires the cooperation of multiple players—from patients to healthcare professionals and authorities—to develop and apply information and communication technologies (ICTs). If you’re not familiar with this term, you may know it by another name: e-health. It’s the combination of mobile applications, remote diagnostic and consultation tools, and networks allowing for the exchange of medical data and information. E-health stems from the breakdown of barriers between players, and gets the ball rolling toward the creation of innovative health services.

Brussels, a smart e-health strategy

The e-health industry in the Brussels-Capital Region is booming, as the number of companies in this industry has jumped by 50 percent in the past three years, with newcomers like Bridge Strategic Platforms, LindaCare and OVIZIO Imaging Systems. Here’s a few successful strategies that can be applied to your own e-health projects back home:

-Support new healthcare technologies

-Develop a strong e-health culture among citizens

-Open the conversation between the public, technological sector and project developers

-Find solutions to transform e-health plans into real-life projects

-Make tools and services as transparent and accessible as possible, just how the Brussels Region did with a dedicated website