U.S. wants ideas on collecting commuter health data
The U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued the first of its Health Innovations in Commuting Challenge series dedicated to encouraging innovations that support improving the health of American commuters.
ONC is seeking the best ideas for collecting data on the health of commuters. Specifically, ONC wants ideas on:
- How health data may be appropriately collected from commuters in a safe and secure manner during the overall commute or during key milestones or events of the commute, both routine and unique.
- How health data may be transmitted in a secure and standardized manner.
- How health data may be analyzed, either at an individual or population level, to the commuter or appropriate stakeholders, such as care professionals, public health agencies, emergency services, and researchers.
The website announcing the challenge notes “commuting has been shown to correlate with a variety of health factors, as long commutes are associated with health problems such as high cholesterol, recurring neck and back pain, and higher stress levels.”
I believe commuting combined with sedentary information and knowledge work has far broader and more deleterious effects on working age adults. Commuting to an office and putting in long hours there makes for a lifestyle that leaves little time and energy for exercise, increasing the risk for preventable chronic diseases. Most importantly, it’s no longer necessary on a five day a week basis. With the shift toward an information anywhere, anytime society with the adoption of the Internet and personal communications devices, it’s getting more difficult to justify the adverse health and cost impacts of daily commuting.