Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

States’ Apps Target Health and Safety

States’ Apps Target Health and Safety.

Excerpts from the 26 June 2014 article at Pew Chartitable Trust

Among the state apps focused exclusively on health or public safety:

  • The Minnesota Air app provides real-time information about air quality conditions in 10 reporting areas across the state, as well as pollution forecasts for the Twin Cities and Rochester.
  • The Every Woman Counts app in California lets women know when it’s time to make an appointment for mammograms and Pap tests.  Users enter information about their screening history and select a schedule for their exams, and the app sends them reminders.
  • The MyVaxIndiana app enables parents to keep track of their children’s vaccination records. The information comes from a state immunization system and is updated by health care workers, schools and doctors.
  • The NMWatch app in New Mexico uses GPS mapping to allow residents, emergency managers and responders to monitor up-to-date wildfire activity. It not only helps people who need to know whether to evacuate, but it alerts those with respiratory problems who might be affected by thick smoke in their neighborhood.

Connected Citizens

More state agencies that oversee health or emergency management have recognized that they need to embrace mobile technology to stay connected with citizens.

“It’s a natural progression,” said Theresa Pardo, director of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, a research center that focuses on innovation in government technology. “I think these new apps are really powerful. What underlies them is a massive effort to identify and integrate in sophisticated ways data that is relevant to an individual, particularly in the event of a crisis.”

Communicating critical, life-saving information during emergencies and directing the public to services after disasters is an enormous challenge for states, said Karen Cobuluis, spokeswoman for the National Emergency Management Association, the professional association for state emergency management directors.

 

…..

A Long Way to Go

While states are moving rapidly to make advances in digital technology, they still have a long way to go when it comes to overseeing their apps and mobile device projects.

In an October 2013 survey of state chief information officers, 58 percent called their state’s efforts to manage apps and mobile device projects “mostly” or “totally” fragmented and uncoordinated.

The association’s Robinson said that most states today don’t have an “enterprise-wide, well-coordinated roadmap” for investing in and deploying mobile technology. “It’s serious for the states because of the implications. There’s no shared strategic direction,” he said. “We need to address how we’re managing mobile devices.”

Robinson of NASCIO said that in many states, apps are being launched agency by agency, which creates more complexity. Plus, states often lack the in-house technical expertise to develop their own apps, so they’re forced to use outside contractors.

 

 

 

June 28, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Focus on Community Resilience

Cover: Focus on Community Resilience

A 2012 study by the RAND Corporation

Resilient communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. RAND has implemented and evaluated community resilience-building activities worldwide and identified opportunities to integrate governments with the nonprofit and for-profit sectors in public health and emergency preparedness, infrastructure protection, and development of economic recovery programs.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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