Confronting the data challenges of ‘smart health’

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NSF’s Wendy Nilsen speaking at a South Big Data Hub Roundtable.

Each day countless devices—from monitors in hospitals to diagnostic tests to Fitbits—capture huge amounts of health data. That data could change how patients and doctors interact, how diseases are diagnosed and treated, and the amount of control individuals have over their health outcomes.

But there’s a catch, says Wendy Nilsen, PhD, program director of the Smart and Connected Health Initiative at the National Science Foundation.

The data is plentiful, Nilsen acknowledged. The challenge, she said, is how to make that data easier to use, how to standardize it so it can be analyzed, how to scale it, keep it safe, and how to account for external factors such as the environment or a person’s genome.

Nilsen discussed these challenges and how to address them in a roundtable discussion hosted by the South Big Data Hub on October 14. Nilsen’s talk, titled “Smart Health and Our Future” provides an overview of the challenges that must be addressed as well as the ultimate goal: A system where patients use data to take more control of their health and where healthcare practitioners can use data from multiple sources to improve diagnoses and health outcomes.

To view the presentation slides, click here.

Hackathon part of effort to make Orlando the ‘Smartest City’

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Participants in the Orlando Smart Cities Hackathon take time out for a group photo.

By Dan Ellen

On August 26 and 27, programmers and software engineers convened in Orlando to push the boundaries of creativity, innovation, reality, and technology to build solutions and concepts that have the potential to make a difference in the Orlando community.

Called the Orlando Smart Cities Hackathon, the event aimed to support the city of Orlando in its efforts to become a smart city and also to demonstrate the city’s capabilities as it works to earn the title of “The Smartest City.” Orlando received two smart cities grant awards and is pursuing a variety of additional funding opportunities for smart cities initiatives that would help to enhance transportation citywide and beyond. In these pursuits, the city continues to move forward with building a data-driven infrastructure that will support safer, cleaner, and more efficient travel and an improved quality of life.  Continue reading