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Web-Based Platform for Flooding Vulnerability and Healthcare Access


Phase I SBIR proposals will be accepted. Fast-Track proposals will not be accepted. Phase I clinical trials will be accepted. Number of anticipated awards: 1 Budget (total costs): Phase I: up to $150,000 for up to 6 months PROPOSALS THAT EXCEED THE BUDGET OR PROJECT DURATION LISTED ABOVE MAY NOT BE FUNDED. Background The number of extreme flooding events that have been declared as “Billion Dollar Disasters” by federal agencies have increased in the last decade. Projections are that such events will become more widespread, as well as increase in frequency and intensity in the years to come. The direct impact of these flooding events cause disruptions in the provision of healthcare by affecting the operations of critical health infrastructure (such as hospitals) as well as impede access to care when roads become flooded. The lack of robust information on potential risk of flooding for healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies) and real-time information on flooding that impedes patients’ access to care affects preparedness planning before and during flooding events. There are no existing online platforms or websites that link flooding and hospital data to aid healthcare resiliency and protect public health during floods. Project Goals The goals of this project are to (i) prepare a national database that assesses the risk of flooding to health facilities (e.g., hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies); and (ii) disseminate information via a web-based platform or app on baseline risk and real-time information on inundation zones through mobile technology to stakeholders (e.g., facility managers, patients, emergency responders) that would facilitate preparedness planning. The ultimate goal of this project is the launch of an online data portal or platform, providing high-resolution spatial information on baseline flood risk and real-time inundation information. The proposed data platform, intended to receive updated data feeds from federal agencies and private partners, can protect human health during flooding disasters by facilitating access to healthcare and emergency care. Phase I Activities and Expected Deliverables The expected deliverables are the: 1. Collection and synthesis of publicly available baseline flood risk information from sources such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). 2. Creation of a national dataset of critical healthcare facilities using data from sources such as the American Hospital Association, Urgent Care Association, and "Healthcare Ready." Software developers must attend to privacy concerns associated with these data systems (e.g., protected health and law enforcement data). 3. Merging of two datasets into a single pilot web-based platform that overlays flooding maps with healthcare facilities, demonstrating potential facilities at risk from flooding. Software must be user-friendly, and accompanied by guidance for effective utilizations of the platform. Impact This project will provide scientifically robust risk information that will facilitate healthcare agencies development of preparedness plans to improve resiliency to extreme weather events. Individual patients seeking emergency and/or regular healthcare services can use the mobile app to seek alternatives, if normal services are disrupted due to an extreme weather event. This can improve the resiliency of the healthcare system and access to care. Commercialization Potential The resulting platform or app could be seen as a unique innovation and beneficial to hospitals, long-term care facilities, other healthcare facility managers, healthcare transportation-related companies (e.g. ambulance contractors and others that may travel roads to healthcare facilities that could be impeded by flood waters), and other relevant user
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