health

Enabling New Lifestyles in Cities - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

During the Parallel Session, Enabling New Lifestyles, participants gathered to talk about the changing face of public health issues in cities today, and what new solutions are emerging. The panelists drew on their experience working with STD screening, technology for aging in place, and accelerating community health outcomes. In all cases, technology is playing a critical role in public health concerns and solutions, alike. During the session, a few key characteristics of such technologies emerged:

LLGA2013 15.5.213 Parallel Session D

 (1) Provide in-the-moment interventions

  Participants saw plenty of ways in which mobile technology, advanced sensors, digital displays, and other digital tools have   provided a new opportunity for on-the-spot interventions.

For example, Alexander Börve, an orthopaedic surgeon and creator of iPhone app iDoc24, discussed the proliferation of “hookup” apps that help connect users for casual sex purposes. In high-density urban centers, individuals can publish and browse profiles through a variety of mobile apps — Tinder, Grindr, BangWithFriends, among others — to connect with instant dates, outside of traditional spaces, such as bars and clubs. The shift has interrupted many public health programs ability to provide safe-sex education and intervention, he noted, by removing a specific location where information and access can be provided at the point of contact between potential partners.

Instead of viewing such apps as a problem, however, the group saw opportunities to leverage the popularity and pervasiveness of these apps for encouraging positive behaviors such as STD and HIV testing, providing information about safe sex, and perhaps—in the case of infections such as chlamydia, for which public health officials try to notify partners of infected individuals—improving anonymous data collection and outreach.

Esther Dyson, of EDVenture and HICCUP, discussed the promise of a coordinated public health campaign, that could attempt to provide dozens of interventions into the average community member’s day. Among other ideas, technology tools could be used to provide on-the-spot feedback to program participants and community members about various behaviors — encouraging walking and biking, discouraging elevator use, etc. — through mobile apps, informational displays, and more.

(2) Leverage on-the-ground, non-digital relationships

Technology tools can provide a certain amount of access to community members, helping provide information at just the right moment. But that information needs to be actionable, too.

Participants discussed the need for technology tools to tap into existing networks of physical-world providers and infrastructure—health clinics, transit systems, bike lanes, emergency care, food service providers, property managers, and schools—to ensure that when information is given, it’s connected to programs with funding, resources, and expert knowledge that can provide an intervention that promotes or protect’s the user’s health.

Laura Mitchell, of GrandCare Systems, spoke about the way in which her company’s technology links senior’s personalized care needs, determined by doctors and overseen by medical professionals, with off-the-shelf technology to help seniors age in place. The technology is a critical piece of the puzzle. It helps alert family and providers when something unusual or unexpected happens. But those family and providers are needed to help put real-world plans into action when something is wrong.

(3) Use technology to reduce cost of care

Across the board, many participants were optimistic about the opportunity of technology to provide an inexpensive baseline of care for more people, helping reduce baseline costs and reserving more costly, expert-necessary care of those who actually need it.

For example, Dyson, whose HICCUP campaign doesn’t provide funding to partners, suggested that coordination of existing funding and programs could be tied together. How might that work?

Börve, whose STD Triage app allows users to have a photograph of their genitalia evaluated by experts for possible infections, noted that 69 percent of their users do not have an STD. Despite the high number of infections — 20 million new std infections in the U.S. each year— there is also a large amount of overscreening. At one university health clinic, only 40 of 1,500 students who were screened tested positive. There is a cost for paying for screening services, and the benefits of screening extend beyond just the individual who is treated for a positive result. By using low-cost interventions, like the screening app, clinics and public health officials can focus spending on patients with known cases and on preventive measures.

Similar advantages also exist for elder care, where regular, remote monitoring can help flag potential issues before they become untreatable, and reduce unnecessary doctor visits for routine checkups and screenings.

(4) Address the digital divide

As technology becomes an increasingly important tool for cities to help manage and address public health, it will also be important to ensure that all residents have access to those tools.

Participants discussed some strategies for ensuring fair access for to these new tools, from public WiFi, to text-message based alerts, to encouraging pay-as-you-go  packages for Internet access from mainstream providers (which would allow low-use customers, such as seniors and many other potential customers, to access inexpensive important services without subsidizing heavy-bandwidth users).

Several of the participants also discussed the importance of working on age-appropriate interfaces, designed to make technology accessible to users with limited sight or familiarity with technology, when such services are aimed at seniors.

Celeste LeCompte is an independent researcher and journalist, focused on innovation and the environment, based in San Francisco and Guangzhou, China.

Global cities, business leaders and social entrepreneurs meet in Eindhoven to exchange the latest solutions to society’s problems.

Eindhoven will host 150 international public and business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and investors to tackle some of our society’s major challenges such as climate change, obesity and life with chronic diseases, ageing and the new investment partnerships needed to transform our public services.

Living Labs Global a non-profit association to promote digital service innovation in cities, has partnered with the city of Eindhoven to hold their 15th Summit on Service Innovation in the city, a pioneer in implementing new approaches to becoming a zero emission community, the world’s most interactive urban lighting system, and a healthy city in which citizens have latest technologies at their disposal to maintain a high quality of life even when suffering from chronic diseases.

Representatives of New York City, Barcelona, Stockholm and international non-profit organisations including Ashoka will meet business leaders and social entrepreneurs that are solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Next to major corporations such as Oracle, Philips, and Suez a rich community of international smaller businesses with cutting-edge solutions for some of society’s major challenges will participate in the extensive debates, networking and visioning workshops.

Highlights of the programme include New York City sharing presenting its Active Design Guidelines connecting health research and architecture to citizens more physically active and healthy; the “What if…” workshop on the creative, social and resource opportunities of new urban lighting technologies being implemented in the Strijp-S district led by Philips Design; Finland’s Lappset demonstrating latest developments in linking smartphones to its interactive playgrounds to promote physical activity for all ages from 0-100; and Ashoka sharing their perspective in supporting 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 60 countries to tackle a wide range of social challenges in cities.

Alderman for Innovation, Culture and Public Space, Mary-Ann Schreurs, says: “To improve the life for everyone, in the new world that is developing today, we are busy creating a Caring Society. With enormous progress in the fields of care, education and sustainability, all connected with economic growth, as a result. And the beauty of it all is that in the end people have more ownership of their own life.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “New solutions connecting technology, leadership and new business thinking can unleash entirely new approaches to improving the lives of our citizens even at times of economic crisis. We are grateful to work with Eindhoven, to show how local challenges can be turned into global opportunities for new technologies, entrepreneurs and creative solutions.”

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) working with some 50 global cities and more than 450 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation to transform services in cities. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in the www.citymart.com showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: www.livinglabs-global.com/endorsements.asp. Twitter Newsfeed: http://www.twitter.com/LivingLabsEvent

 

Global cities, business leaders and social entrepreneurs meet in Eindhoven to exchange the latest solutions to society’s problems.

Eindhoven will host 150 international public and business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and investors to tackle some of our society’s major challenges such as climate change, obesity and life with chronic diseases, ageing and the new investment partnerships needed to transform our public services.

Living Labs Global a non-profit association to promote digital service innovation in cities, has partnered with the city of Eindhoven to hold their 15th Summit on Service Innovation in the city, a pioneer in implementing new approaches to becoming a zero emission community, the world’s most interactive urban lighting system, and a healthy city in which citizens have latest technologies at their disposal to maintain a high quality of life even when suffering from chronic diseases.

Representatives of New York City, Barcelona, Stockholm and international non-profit organisations including Ashoka will meet business leaders and social entrepreneurs that are solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Next to major corporations such as Oracle, Philips, and Suez a rich community of international smaller businesses with cutting-edge solutions for some of society’s major challenges will participate in the extensive debates, networking and visioning workshops.

Highlights of the programme include New York City sharing presenting its Active Design Guidelines connecting health research and architecture to citizens more physically active and healthy; the “What if…” workshop on the creative, social and resource opportunities of new urban lighting technologies being implemented in the Strijp-S district led by Philips Design; Finland’s Lappset demonstrating latest developments in linking smartphones to its interactive playgrounds to promote physical activity for all ages from 0-100; and Ashoka sharing their perspective in supporting 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 60 countries to tackle a wide range of social challenges in cities.

Alderman for Innovation, Culture and Public Space, Mary-Ann Schreurs, says: “To improve the life for everyone, in the new world that is developing today, we are busy creating a Caring Society. With enormous progress in the fields of care, education and sustainability, all connected with economic growth, as a result. And the beauty of it all is that in the end people have more ownership of their own life.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “New solutions connecting technology, leadership and new business thinking can unleash entirely new approaches to improving the lives of our citizens even at times of economic crisis. We are grateful to work with Eindhoven, to show how local challenges can be turned into global opportunities for new technologies, entrepreneurs and creative solutions.”

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) working with some 50 global cities and more than 450 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation to transform services in cities. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in the www.citymart.com showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: www.livinglabs-global.com/endorsements.asp. Twitter Newsfeed: http://www.twitter.com/LivingLabsEvent

 

Gym Pact

The growing popularity of Groupon in the past year has drawn attention to business models centered around principals of behavioral economics. In this vein, Gym-Pact, a new gym membership model, offers customers deals and discounts on yoga studios and fitness centers with a catch—if the customer misses a workout or a yoga class they pay a fine. Gym-Pact’s founders, recent 2010 Harvard Grads Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer, refer to these fines as “motivational fees”. At the initial signup, the customer agrees to a certain number of workouts per week and the fee to be charged if they don’t show (the company sets a minimum of at least one workout per week and $10 per absence). Since keeping accurate attendance information at gyms can be difficult, Gym-Pact and the participating vendors developed a text-message based password system; a changing password is kept at the front desk that the customer has to text-in to get credit for showing up. The seed of the idea apparently occurred to Zhang in her behavioral economics class at Harvard. People, Zhang learned, are more motivated by immediate consequences (in this case a financial penalty) than potential long-term payoffs (the benefits of regular exercise). Financial motivation seems like a good way to get people off the couch and into the gym, but is it a sustainable business model? Oberhofer is quoted in The Boston Globe saying, “We don’t want to profit off people’s failures.” The motivational fees, along with the fee paid if a customer leaves the program early, currently go towards paying for access to the fitness centers and building a financial aid fund. So how does Gym-Pact plan to turn a profit? Oberhofer claims through eventual referral fees and revenue sharing programs with the local fitness centers.

Though it’s not clear just yet if there are enough people out there who will actually sign up to pay fines when they decide to skip a workout in order make the system profitable. Gym-Pact also runs the risk of over-filling local gyms with discount-hungry consumers. Some popular Groupon merchants have had their resources stretched in this way. But, like the long-term benefits of working out, profitability can be an eventual, future objective. A more immediate concern for Gym-Pact: getting up and running (the service is currently only offered in Boston). To that end, they could put some effort into redesigning their strikingly lackluster website (gym-pact.com). “No-frills” might be a quality customers want in a gym, but for a company asking people to pay-up when they’re less than perfect, their online platform should at least inspire a little more confidence.

Piloting Health Services in Cities

Asklepios Future Hospital Alliance just published our article on health service innovations in cities in their latest magazine issue. The alliance brings together leading global players in healthcare technologies around the Asklepios Future Hospital in Hamburg, where collaborators such as Microsoft and Intel have worked together with one of the world's leading hospital chains to implement the latest in service, process and technology innovations in healthcare. Read our contribution here http://www.asklepios.com/upload/Piloting_Mobile_Health_2782.pdf which features our iDoc24 Showcase as a disruptive innovation in dermatology http://www.livinglabs-global.com/showcase/showcase/206/doctor-in-the-mobile-phone.aspx.

Apple Heart Monitor

<img alt="" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4052/4598228273_3f6e5f29d9.jpg" title="Apple Cardiac Monitor" class="alignnone" width="298" height="500" / Earlier this month apple filed a patent for an iPhone embedded heart monitor---in the patent itself, Apple tells us the following about the technology:

This is directed to an electronic device having an integrated sensor for detecting a user's cardiac activity and cardiac electrical signals. The electronic device can include a heart sensor having several leads for detecting a user's cardiac signals. The leads can be coupled to interior surfaces of the electronic device housing to hide the sensor from view, such that electrical signals generated by the user can be transmitted from the user's skin through the electronic device housing to the leads. In some embodiments, the leads can be coupled to pads placed on the exterior of the housing. The pads and housing can be finished to ensure that the pads are not visibly or haptically distinguishable on the device, thus improving the aesthetic qualities of the device. Using the detected signals, the electronic device can identify or authenticate the user and perform an operation based on the identity of the user. In some embodiments, the electronic device can determine the user's mood from the cardiac signals and provide data related to the user's mood.

Though I'm a bit skeptical of any gadget's ability to predict my mood (even one designed by apple), I think this addition will be interesting for other reasons. Certainly, health fanatics and exercise enthusiasts should rejoice---I don't doubt that there will be a flood of new bio-feedback applications for ipods and iPhones equipped with this technology.