National initiative U.S. Ignite will test new ideas in city
LAFAYETTE — Lafayette is poised to become a place where innovators come to create solutions to some of health care’s toughest challenges, officials said during a news conference Monday.
Lafayette declared itself a “Living Lab for Health Innovation for the Nation” last month at the White House during the launch of the U.S. Ignite public/private initiative.
What that means to Lafayette is that people, organizations or businesses with ideas of improving health care delivery are welcome to try out those ideas in Lafayette.
U.S. Ignite’s acting executive director, Sue Spradley, said Lafayette is one of the first 12 communities in the nation to join the initiative, which covers a range of sectors, including health care, transportation, manufacturing, energy, education and workforce development.
Lafayette was recognized as a U.S. Ignite community because of its LUS Fiber infrastructure, according to a news release.
As a living lab, Lafayette will focus on issues such as childhood obesity, aging and emergency medicine, said Ramesh Kolluru, director of ULL’s Center for Business and Information Technologies.
Initially, the city will focus on two areas: Lafayette Parish School System students and the aging baby-boomer generation.
The first initiative is a project with Microsoft that leverages the company’s HealthVault technology in a manner that will allow parents, if they choose to opt in, to manage and share their children’s immunization records with the school without having to bring copies of those records to the school at the beginning of each school year.
The second initiative is “Aging in Place,” which will bring doctors into a patient’s home or nursing home through the use of “tele-medicine” and “tele-health” technologies utilizing the LUS Fiber network.
Geoff Daily, executive director of FiberCorps, which is a partner in the initiative, described the city’s role as a Living Lab as a “real-world testbed, where a person or company can actually go to test next-generation technologies and applications within a real world environment such as a doctor’s office, a hospital or inside a school.”
Kolluru said companies and innovators are encouraged to test their ideas in Lafayette.
“If your solution works in Lafayette, and we can prove that it is scalable to the state of Louisiana, you now have a blueprint to take your initiatives nationwide,” Kolluru said.
The Living Lab is interested in working with innovators from technology companies, startups and entrepreneurs from across the globe. The ultimate goal is to become a national leader in areas such as digital health initiatives; and tele-medicine and tele-health technologies using the city’s broadband infrastructure, according to an informational packet about the program.
For more information, contact Kolluru at (337) 482-0611.