Table of Contents
Exploring the Current Landscape and Future Opportunities
- There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of smart cities. However, the various definitions proposed have common elements in terms of technologies used (e.g., energy, information, and communication, green technologies) and output (e.g., transforming our cities into sustainable, safe, and attractive places to live in).
- Smart cities can be also characterised by their abilities to enable interactions between their various systems and networks, to deliver high levels of mobility to their citizens, and to involve various stakeholders in policymaking. In any case, information and communication technologies (ICT) are the key enablers.
- Thus far, the focus of smart city studies and projects has been mainly on mobility, energy, and the effective use of resources, and only a few have paid attention to healthcare and government.
- This study tackles the xx above-mentioned areas. It seeks to explore how connected health and eGovernment can contribute to building smart cities.
- Connected health represents a powerful tool in addressing urbanisation challenges of cities and regions related to the health and well-being of their citizens.
- Ageing populations, the growing incidence of chronic conditions, and fragmented care call for home-based care delivery and better coordination of health and social care services to prevent hospitalisation and promote better self-management of health.
- Key connected health technologies include telecare with videoconferencing, tools for ambient assisted living, remote condition monitoring, shared electronic medical records (EMRs), and clinical decision support systems.
- For successful implementation of smart healthcare initiatives, city decision-makers should form strong coalitions of healthcare, research, technology, and local community partners.
- With technological progress, the dynamic between governments and users of public services is changing. Higher user expectations demand greater efficiency, transparency, and quality of services.
- Electronic government (eGovernment) has significantly evolved in the last xx years from simple online portals to embrace multimedia messaging, wireless networks and services, smart cards, eVoting, and social media presence.
- It is expected that eGovernment services based on active user involvement, social inclusion, and drawing upon ubiquitous open government data will gain more traction in the future.
Connected Health in a Smart City
- As virtually all population growth in the next xx years will occur in urban environments, cities will have to manage the growing health concerns of their citizens.
- Realising that healthy residents help to sustain economic vitality and contribute to the attractiveness of cities for both citizens and businesses, local governments are increasingly focusing on implementing programmes and services to improve health and well-being.
- Frost & Sullivan believes that connected health—the use of technologies that enable a smooth flow of information and healthcare services across different industry participants—accompanied by policies that foster health prevention and wellness, will have a tremendous impact on transforming cities’ health profiles and mitigating healthcare challenges.
- Many of the most essential services enabling people to stay healthy and active in their communities are provided at the local and regional levels. These include health and long-term care services that support healthy ageing and independent living.
- In addition, many connected health initiatives start at the local level before being replicated countrywide, therefore cities and regions can serve as pioneers of early adoption and serve as a benchmark.
- In order to achieve improved health and wellness goals, local community leaders need to foster forward-looking coalitions of healthcare organisations as well as academic, technology, and community stakeholders. Finally, city authorities should strive to fully integrate health into the urban planning system.
Key Challenges Affecting Healthcare Systems
- An ageing population is already having major consequences for society and the economy and will continue to do so. Apart from age-related diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), social inclusion issues, and increased healthcare costs, there will be a shortage of professionals trained to work with the elderly. This means that family members will have to divide their time between work and social care.
- A growing number of patients are suffering from long-term conditions such as cardiovascular, respiratory, and diabetic problems. Therefore the priorities should be prevention, early diagnosis, and condition management out of hospital settings.
- Public health expenditure in the European Union’s member states is projected to grow to xx % of GDP in 2060 from xx % in 2010. That is the main reason for moving as many healthcare processes as possible to less expensive venues such as community care facilities and patient homes.
- The number of hospital beds in Europe has been constantly decreasing due to financial constraints, a shift from inpatient to outpatient operations, and shorter hospital stays. The next trend will reduce the number of smaller hospitals and instead create a few highly specialised care facilities in major cities that will serve as medical hubs.
- Social care and healthcare services are often delivered separately by different providers in a fragmented system. This often leads to inefficiency and perpetuates an uncoordinated approach to chronic disorders which impedes management of comorbidities and does not facilitate future predictive and personalised medicine.
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