[IEEE Xplore] Readings on Smart Cities -- [Editorial] Vol. 1, Issue 6, July 2015

Smart Cities care for Health

By Rosaldo J. F. Rossetti

Wellbeing of citizens is a core concern of Smart Cities! Besides comfort, preference satisfaction, and personalised services, wellbeing is tightly related to health and its continued care. The concept of “smart healthcare” therefore emerges as one vital pillar of smart cities and is demanding great attention from governments, the industry, as well as from the scientific community. This issue of our Readings on Smart Cities tries to explore ways upon which healthcare can improve, benefiting from the information and communication infrastructure that leverages the development of smart cities and their citizens.

We start with the work by Solanas and colleagues [1], who introduce the novel concept of smart health (s-health) complementarily to mobile health (m-health). Whereas m-health can improve healthcare services in terms of allowing access to services and knowledge, providing user-oriented features, and being personalised, s-health is able to provide context-aware services leveraging on the network and sensing infrastructure of smart cities. Authors present a brief summary of related research areas, and structure their perspective of challenges and opportunities for the effective implementation of smart healthcare. In a rather pragmatic approach, Patsakis along with others [2] demonstrate how smart city sensors can be used to provide personalized medical services. Authors devised a system composed of an application server and a mobile app, which allows patients with respiratory problems, such as asthma, to select appropriate itineraries between origins and destinations accounting for their handicaps. Basically, the mobile app sends requests to the application server so as to inquire city sensors, for instance, about pollution levels, allowing for selection criteria that identify routes with the least possible impact on patient’s medical problem. Concluding this issue, we introduce the work by Liu, Li, and Liu [3], which tackles problems related to data interoperability in smart healthcare information systems. Authors present smart healthcare as a complex domain from the perspective of system integration, mainly due to human and technical factors, as well as the heterogeneous data sources involved. Their project, carried out in the radiology department of a local hospital, consists of a framework for data sharing and interoperability among different systems, namely radiology information, electronic patient record, and picture archiving and communication. System integration and interoperation is therefore a compulsory requirement of smart healthcare.

A number of initiatives have sought to make recommendations so as to advance the adoption of smart city approaches to improve health and wellbeing of citizens. Many issues, however, both technological and societal, remain open and still need be appropriately addressed, such as privacy, equity, accessibility, inclusion, as well as ICT awareness and empowerment of citizens. As in other dimensions of smart cities, promoting citizen engagement and participation is imperative to the successful implementation of smart healthcare solutions.

Good readings!


IEEE Xplore References

  1. A. Solanas et al., "Smart health: A context-aware health paradigm within smart cities," in IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 52, no. 8, pp. 74-81, Aug. 2014.
  2. C. Patsakis, R. Venanzio, P. Bellavista, A. Solanas and M. Bouroche, "Personalized medical services using smart cities' infrastructures," Medical Measurements and Applications (MeMeA), 2014 IEEE International Symposium on, Lisboa, 2014, pp. 1-5.
  3. S. Liu, W. Li and K. Liu, "Pragmatic Oriented Data Interoperability for Smart Healthcare Information Systems," Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGrid), 2014 14th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on, Chicago, IL, 2014, pp. 811-818.


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