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The Future of Community Health In Smart Cities

A smart city is a concept in which information and communication technology integrate with “Internet of Things” (IoT) technology to connect machine components across an urban landscape. 

A smart city plan has the potential to improve city infrastructures by minimizing costs, foster innovation and better management of urban assets, and overall improve the quality of life for citizens. Efforts around this visionary model are proliferating throughout the world, with the global smart city market anticipated to double in value to $1.4 trillion by 2020.

An effective smart city impacts every aspect of its designated area, from below street level to the air quality breathed by its citizens. Information is captured and analyzed, with trends identified from various data patterns.

At present, advancements in mobile and digital technology are allowing  intelligent and connected medical devices to be employed, all with the objective of fostering a more comprehensive view of community health and wellbeing. Here, opportunities for physical activity, built environment enhancements, reduced exposure to environmental hazards, and expanded availability of affordable, healthful foods show promise.

In light of all of the exciting new developments emerging in this area, new possibilities are arising around the use of smart cities to improve the health of urban centers and communities.

The use of connected devices and wearable technology has garnered increased attention in a world that champions lifestyle independence. Here, by allowing people to connect the monitoring of their own health with remotely situated health professionals who can deliver care, the whole continuum of health and wellness is streamlined by increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness for the patient and the provider.

The intersection between the Internet of Things and blockchain  technology has emerged as a key point in the remote patient monitoring conversation. As a result, vast possibilities now exist in terms of the safe and secure transmission of vital health data from patients to care providers for analysis and prognosis. With proper coordination, healthcare providers are, in turn, able to analyze the data they capture to deliver a highly targeted treatment and medication regimen to patients.

A feature story in Business Insider highlights blockchain technology’s role in facilitating connected health data. It explores how the blockchain has evolved from a specialized technology with applications primarily for the financial world to one with utility for connected devices like health wearables.

Meaningful Innovation in Nashville 

Arguably, the company on the forefront of using blockchain technology for this type of innovation is Nashville-based, Hashed Health.

Hashed Health recently facilitated a demonstration project around a blockchain personal health and prevention solution that has relevance to the smart city concept. This project will support individuals by securely collecting and tracking their personal health and wellness data, collected from network-enabled wearables and other home monitoring devices.

By employing the blockchain, smart contracts can be used to identify opportunities for health improvement, trigger alerts for emergent health events and deliver appropriate information to clinicians and family members. This solution will also allow for the identification of health prevention resources to individual niche groups, creating a locally accessible community of wellness and neighborhood wellness games, events and programs.

According to Hashed Health, among the potential benefits of this demonstration project are:

  • Organizing and promoting individual or group wellness activities.
  • Distribution of targeted wellness and prevention content.
  • Creating individually customized preventative medicine care plans using IoT to track and address adherence.
  • Care plan management for acute and chronic episodes.
  • Monitoring solutions for the elderly.
  • Coordinating urgent and emergency care.
  • Access (virtual or in person), scheduling and transportation to address all of the above.

Health and wellness of modern communities

This demonstration project aims to showcase the vast potential of smart technologies in making healthcare more measurable and evidence based, all tied to the day-to-day lifestyles of modern citizens. It embodies a broad-reaching effort on the part of cities to promote a community with a strong health and wellness philosophy and consequently improves their health and wellness.

When it comes to health, living location matters. Through the effective use of IoT and blockchain technology, communities can create new possibilities — or barriers to — health. Hashed Health believes that major progress in reducing health disparities can be achieved through a smart city model that empowers local leadership, mitigating structural barriers and addressing the most significant social factors tied to health.

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