Building “Health Resilience Technology” to Withstand Natural Disasters
The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would like to develop innovative solutions that will allow individuals with access and functional needs to continue to use their durable medical equipment (DME – includes medical devices powered by electricity, such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and intravenous infusion pumps) during prolonged power outages.
The Innovation Fellow will help Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enhance community and individual resilience—part of the core missions of our two organizations—and have a profound impact on future disaster responses, by helping to identify potential solutions that will allow individuals with access and functional needs to continue to use their durable medical equipment (DME – includes medical devices powered by electricity, such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and intravenous infusion pumps) at home during prolonged power outages, thereby decompressing the burden on the health care system.
In addition to its utility during disasters, this “health resilience technology” could serve common day-to-day needs of individuals with access and functional needs. This will likely involve both technology and business approaches. Possible ideas of solutions, which are not concrete, but are listed below to help better explain the problem that we hope to solve, include:
- Universal batteries that can be utilized by all DME devices
- Batteries that do not rely on electricity to be charged
- Sensors on DME that can automatically alert local emergency operations centers, friends, or families—possibly through social media and mobile applications—of the remaining charge or equipment supply for each individual’s device, allowing others to intervene by bringing the individual to a place where they can charge their battery, or by replenishing their equipment supply, before the individual runs out and requires a hospital visit.
- Linking sensing technologies to communication devices or social media to enable individuals to problem solve and get help in emergencies
- Policy changes or incentive structures that can become a routine part of the health delivery system
- Registries that are populated by health information technologies
- Innovative ways to use crowdsourcing to obtain ideas from citizens for disaster preparedness and response.
External Entrepreneur Frank Sanborn is taking on the challenge of developing new health resilience technology.
Skill Sets for the External Entrepreneur (Previously External Innovation Fellow(s)):
- A willingness to learn about disaster preparedness and response
- An understanding of technologies that could be applied to this problem
- Experience in social media, from the IT and end-user perspective
- Familiarity with business strategies applicable to these technologies, in order to support sustainable, market-based solutions, when possible
Internal Entrepreneurs (Host Innovation Fellows):
- Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H. (nominating official) - Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
- Phil Ferro, PhD - Director of Special Projects, ASPR
- Patrick Hart, MPA - Senior Advisor to the Deputy Administrator, FEMA
- Ted Okada - Senior Advisor to the Deputy Administrator for Disaster Technology, FEMA
External Entrepreneur (External Innovation Fellow):