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Lafayette ignites 'Living Lab' for health care

Thursday, 14 June 2012 18:12 by Tracey R
Lafayette ignites 'Living Lab' for health care
The Hub City is one 25 U.S. cities selected as a ‘test bed’ for software-defined innovation through the White House’s US Ignite program, a feat that could not have come without the city’s extensive public fiber network. Lafayette is one of 25 cities across the country chosen to hop on the US Ignite bandwidth wagon, an effort to bring national focus to next-generation technologies in six areas of “national priority.”

The US Ignite public/private partnership, formally announced during an event at the White House Thursday morning, will center its efforts on using high-speed technology applications to better services in the following areas of public interest: advanced manufacturing, health IT, transportation, education and workforce development, clean energy, and emergency preparedness and public safety.

In Lafayette the focus will be all things health care with the creation of a “Living Lab for Health Innovation,” a place for health care innovators to “create solutions to society’s toughest challenges:”

The Living Lab will serve as a community-scale test bed for health care innovators to test their ideas in real-world settings .... defining, designing and developing solutions to the many challenges facing health care today.

As a US Ignite community, Lafayette will be your partner in developing the future of health care — addressing such societal challenges as childhood obesity, aging in place, emergency medicine and workplace healthy — through the power of big data, advanced analytics and gigabit software-defined networks.

If your solution works in Lafayette and we can prove it is scalable to the state of Louisiana, you will have a blueprint to take your ideas nationwide.

The “big win” for the city, as LUS Fiber Sales and Marketing Analyst Amy Broussard describes it, wouldn’t have been possible without LUS Fiber, the city’s publicly run high-speed Internet and cable provider, she says. The 25 cities and the 60 universities that have signed on so far to US Ignite all have existing broadband networks.

According to UL’s Ramesh Kolluru, director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies, Lafayette was also chosen for its size, its research capabilities through the university and its reputation as a “health care hub.”

The nationwide public/private initiative has an end goal of 200 communities showcasing 60 respective “next-generation” technology applications, thus prompting other municipalities across the country to jump on board. US Ignite has also joined with 15 private-industry partners, including telecommunication giant Verizon and other “network powerhouses,” according to the US Ignite release.

US Ignite’s role will be “connecting, convening, and supporting startups, local and state government, universities, industry leaders, federal agencies, foundations, and community and carrier initiatives in conceptualizing and building new applications.”

“The resulting new applications should have a significant impact on the U.S. economy, including providing a broad range of job and investment opportunities,” the Ignite release states.

The local Ignite project is being spearheaded by the following agencies: UL Lafayette’s Center for Business & Information Technologies and its Center for Visual and Decision Informatics; FiberCorps; the Lafayette Healthcare Coalition (Lafayette General Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Regional Health System of Acadiana, The Shumacher Group, Acadian Ambulance, The LHC Group); Lafayette Consolidated Government; Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce; Lafayette Economic Development Authority; Lafayette Parish School System; state Department of Health and Hospitals; and other potential private-industry partners.