Cross sector climate services through collaboration between the insurance sector, academia and research

WP2.3.1: Climate services for the health sector

Doctor and Patient

Objectives

We will quantify the climate risk for vulnerable population groups and the health insurance sector in two different urban contexts (Berlin center and Potsdam) representing 2 typical European cities. To this end, we will link health damage functions (numberof affected people, medical indication) to observed and simulated climate data. The focus in our showcase is on (urban) heat stress and air pollution affecting people with cardiopulmonary diseases, at the moment the most relevant impact pathway.In a second step, we will demonstrate how specific counteracting measures can help to reduce the impacts for vulnerable population groups and thereby to alleviate the costs, thereby covering measures to improve prevention, to increase resilience and to shorten recovery time.

Description

Building on existing hospitalization and health insurance data and experiences gained in previous projects, we will quantify the sensitivity of vulnerable population (e.g. chronic sick patients with a cardiopulmonary disease) to climate variability (heat stress, often amplified by air contamination). The product is the “health damage function”, linking climate (extremes) to impacts on population (morbidity and mortality) and costs (hospitalization, medication).This “health damage function” will allow the public and private health insurances to assess the impacts (hospital admissions, numbers of days in hospitals, health care measures for those not in hospitals, deaths, etc.) depending upon a particular climate event.

We will focus on heatwaves and their induced heat stress on vulnerable groups associated with peak air pollution events. We will look at the past 5-10 years, depending on the data basis, and extend the climate database to longer time series based on long-term observations and simulated data, following the standards of OASIS LMF. The climate information linked to the damage functions are observed data, one the one hand, and in addition fine resolution air quality and climate model data to set-up the event set, representing chronic as well as extreme climate conditions. 

A second focus is on counteracting measures which help to mitigate negative effects for vulnerable population groups, and as a result to minimize the costs for hospitalization and medication. One of the adaptation measures is to establish ideal room temperatures during and outside periods of heat stress and cold chills for pulmonary patients and patients with other chronic conditions, thereby maximizing the benefit for convalescence of high-risk patients (Charité operates such climate chambers or patients rooms, which will serve as a demonstrator). 

A measure to increase the resilience of vulnerable people is to use these rooms for medically controlled adaptation to heat stress. The measures can be accompanied by telemedicine to monitor vulnerable people in their domestic environment.Data handling will follow the general guidelines of good scientific practice. Patient data will be acquired and stored pseudonymously and will be published in an anonymous form. Signing the study agreement form allows the utilization of his/her personal data in line with the study guidelines until cancelled. The permission can be withdrawn at any time and without giving reasons

We will showcase the situation in a mid-size German city (Potsdam) and in Berlin Center, representing two typical urban cases in Europe.

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