Cities have the potential to become economic engines, accelerating growth and creating opportunity throughout the UK. But their productivity and their sustainability is tied to the health of their citizens. Local governments and health organisations must work closely together, as they have a unique opportunity to affect sweeping changes in citizen health. Of course, they also face some unique challenges, including collaborating across organisational lines, adapting to changing citizen requirements and navigating a governance process with multiple stakeholders.

To overcome these challenges, local officials need to find the answers to some pressing questions. What are the best practices that lead to healthy cities? How can local governments and healthcare organisations work together more effectively? What are the signs that a city is on the right track?

A new white paper from IDC Health Insights and sponsored by Microsoft, “Enabling Sustainable and Healthier Living in the Urban Era: the Healthier Cities Maturity Model” aims to answer these questions. The report provides a framework for engaging citizens and improving health outcomes in urban environments.

The report outlines five stages of maturity for healthy cities:

  1. Ad Hoc: Department-based planning and discrete projects handled on the fly.
  2. Opportunistic: Project deployments result in proactive collaboration within and between healthcare providers and other city departments.
  3. Repeatable: Recurring projects, events, and processes are identified for integration. Formal committees document defined strategies, processes, and technology investment needs with stakeholder buy-in.
  4. Managed: Formal systems for work/data flows and leveraging technology assets are in place and standards emerge. Outcomes based performance management shifts culture, budgets, IT investment, and governance structure to a broader city context.
  5. Optimized: A holistic citywide platform is in place. Superior outcomes deliver differentiation from other cities.

The report then delves into the strategy, culture, process, technology, and data aspects of each of the five stages, providing baselines of competency for each stage. The model can be used to establish benchmarks and identify maturity gaps within business groups, between organisations or even within an organisation. The aim is provide a common framework for talking about cities and health -- as well as roadmap for organisations to follow as they look to move to the next level of maturity.

The paper also contains predictions for trends that will affect health initiatives in cities and shares insights into the top IT priorities for both healthcare and local government organisations in the UK. Learn more by reading the full white paper, Enabling Sustainable and Healthier Living in the Urban Era: the Healthier Cities Maturity Model.