– A heat alert system is being tested in health clinics across the U.S. to provide timely and relevant data to health professionals.– The system, developed by researchers at Harvard University and Climate Central, goes beyond traditional weather forecasts to provide more detailed warnings and customizable tools for health providers and patients.– The email alert system takes into account a community’s specific risks and vulnerabilities, such as access to air conditioning and pre-existing health conditions.– The pilot program currently includes 17 clinics and aims to provide reliable alerts a few days in advance of heat waves.– Doctors can use the system to develop heat action plans that consider a patient’s job, economic situation, and medical history. The goal is to save lives and reduce heat-related illnesses in vulnerable communities.
A heat alert system is being tested in health clinics across the U.S. this summer in an effort to deliver timely and locally relevant data to health professionals, who can use this information to cut down on heat-related illnesses and save lives in vulnerable communities when heat and humidity soar.
The system, developed by researchers at Harvard University and the nonprofit research group Climate Central, is designed to go beyond existing weather forecasts and text-based alerts to provide more detailed warnings, as well as customizable tools and res for health providers and their patients.
Citing NBC News, unlike traditional forecasts that provide general information on an area’s temperature and humidity, the newly launched email alert system identifies potentially dangerous conditions by taking into account a community’s specific risks and vulnerabilities, like access to air conditioning or the prevalence of certain pre-existing health conditions.
Currently 17 clinics across the country are participating in the pilot program. The idea is to provide reliable alerts to health care providers a few days in advance, when heat waves are on the horizon. The early notice allows time for doctors to reach out to patients who are especially vulnerable and to prepare their facilities for upticks in heat-related emergencies.
Doctors who are taking part in the pilot program said the system could tackle some of the biggest threats from extreme heat, which causes more deaths each year in the United States than any other type of weather event. Doctors can use the toolkit to develop heat action plans that incorporate a patient’s job, economic situation, and medical history.
“It helps you set out a very specific plan that goes beyond saying, ‘drink a lot of water and sit in the shade,’” said Dr. Sara Fernandez, an internal medicine physician at San José Clinic in Houston, where she has been a volunteer for more than nine years.
San José Clinic, a charity-run facility that caters to low-income or uninsured people in and around Houston, was one of the first places to test out the alert system. Texas and huge swaths of the South and Southwest have been gripped for weeks on end by unrelenting and intense heat waves this summer.
Dr. Adlia Ebeid, chief clinical officer at San José Clinic, said the new heat alert system allows doctors to be more proactive when extreme temperatures are in the forecast. The goal in adopting such a tool, Ebeid said, is “saving people from…