Supporting Climate Resilience in the Health Care Sector

WH_OSTP_400x400On April 7, 2015 the Obama Administration announced a series of actions and partnerships to help analyze and translate the linkages between climate change and public health impacts for policy makers and citizens alike. The actions build on the Climate Data Initiative, launched in 2014 and includes the release of 150 health related data-sets on “Health Resilience” adding to the existing 500 climate-related data sets now publicly accessible.

Four Twenty Seven is thrilled to take part in this exciting effort. In support of the Climate Data Initiative, Four Twenty Seven will leverage its proprietary model and risk assessment methodology to provide a climate risk assessment for 100 of the country’s health care facilities with large patient populations.

CoverPrimaryCare_Report_Dec2014Building on the vulnerability assessment framework developed as part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Resilience Toolkit, Four Twenty Seven will screen critical health facilities and deliver an interactive, publicly accessible online dashboard that enables users to identify risk hotspots, key drivers of risk, and the types of impacts faced by specific hospitals.

This analysis and dashboard will support decision-making by enabling policy makers to visualize at-risk assets, prioritize resources, and communicate the urgency of boosting climate resilience in health care facilities.

Public-Private Partnerships

This type of public private partnership is key to the Obama Administration’s efforts to leverage big data and technological innovation to address pressing public health issues that are exacerbated by climate impacts. The interactive tool that Four Twenty Seven develops through this partnership will inform decision-makers across sectors and will be publicly accessible creating new opportunities for communities nationwide to engage in this critical discussion.

Other private sector initiatives include efforts from Microsoft, Google, Esri (ArcGIS), EMC Technology and Harvard University, with the shared objective to leverage the new datasets into effective predicting technology and forecasting models.

Through leadership at the local, state and federal level, public health officials and experts have been working to identify the linkages between climate impacts and public health and, importantly, to share best practices and lessons learned to enable implementation of “win-win” solutions that simultaneously address climate change and improve health outcomes.

Actions from the Administration beyond public private partnerships include the development of new tools and guidance, cross-sector workshops to convene key stakeholders, the integration of climate considerations into departmental policies, and training of health care professionals.

Relevant Research and Guidance

Several important reports were also released on this occasion, including:

    • A draft assessment of the impacts of climate change on public health from the US Global Research Change Program
    • A new report from the Public Health Institute (PHI) titled Climate Change, Health and Equity: Opportunities for Action which provides a conceptual framework outlining how these issues are linked and provides recommended policy actions to advance solutions.
    • Adaptation in Action, a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that outlines specific successes in a number of cities and regions that have taken action to reduce negative health outcomes from climate change.  In addition, the CDC plans to release a Health Care Facilities Toolkit to promote best practices in resilient health care infrastructure.
Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health. Source: CDC
Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health. Source: CDC
  • At the local level, the City of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health just released its first Climate and Health Profile which highlights the direct health effects of local climate impacts such as reduced air quality and rising temperatures and identifies areas of city that will be disproportionately impacted.

Four Twenty Seven is honored for the opportunity to leverage its models and climate risk assessment methodology to contribute to a greater understanding of vulnerability and resilience in the health care sector and to help bolster socio-economic resilience in the United States.