More than 50
percent of the people on the planet live in cities. And by 2050, it is
estimated that number will increase to 70 percent. This means that cities are where
the highest concentration of human potential exists. It also means they are fast
becoming the centers for many of our world’s health issues. In particular, cities
are facing an increase in non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes,
smoking-related health problems, and cardiovascular diseases—preventable,
chronic conditions that account for upwards of 70 percent of medical costs.
Cities are places where more than anywhere else, we see the importance of
thinking about health holistically. The well-being of citizens is affected by a
city’s policies and services as well as its economy, environment,
transportation, education, and more. And in turn the health of citizens affects
the health of a city. This is especially true when it comes to a city’s economic
viability, which is intrinsically linked to healthy people at work and being
productive at full capacity.
So when we think about making a real impact in health, cities are a
logical place to target. Which is why I’m excited about Microsoft
CityNext. It’s a people-first approach to innovation that empowers governments, businesses,
and citizens to shape the future of their city. People-first means harnessing all the ideas, energy, and
expertise of a city's people as they create a healthier, safer, more
sustainable place to live.
Clearly, a task this monumental requires a collective effort, which is
why the Microsoft Partner
Network is a key tenet of the CityNext initiative. It includes hundreds of thousands of
experienced partners with relationships in nearly every major city around the
together an ecosystem of partner solutions based on familiar and secure
software, devices, and services that people love to use, CityNext helps cities meet
a range of needs from the consumer-related demands of citizens to the
mission-critical, enterprise demands of city operations. It allows people to take advantage of the
powerful convergence of cloud, mobility, and big data technologies available
today to innovate and move cities and health forward:
- Cloud. Cloud computing enables cities to bridge
the gap between all the different organizations and agencies involved in
citizen care and services. It can help care teams cross infrastructural
boundaries and share patient information in a secure manner.
- Big data—and
little data, too. Big data helps cities look at overall trends in health
and well-being. And “little data” is important as well. Something as simple as
allowing a home care nurse to take advantage of user-friendly analytics to
decide which clients to see and when, based on their availability and needs, can
help a city increase efficiency and care quality.
Engaging people with devices that support many different needs and workstyles
is an integral part of the CityNext initiative. A doctor may need an 8″ tablet
that fits into his or her white coat pocket, while an emergency responder may
need a more rugged tablet. And citizens can use health and wellness mobile apps
to take charge of their health. A great example of one such app will be covered
in Dr. Bill Crounse’s blog next week.
Based on cloud, analytics, and mobile
technologies, CityNext offers several health-specific solutions to empower people
to create healthier cities. Another blog to watch out for next week is Elena
Bonfiglioli’s, which will share more detail about these solutions.