Automation and a possible future for health and social care

As the DF programme winds down, this will be my final blog post. It takes some of the ideas that Sharon Davies and I first shared at the Housing Technology 2018 conference, and applies them to the wider field of social care.

The acquisition of the Dell Boomi integration platform has opened up a vast range of possibilities by allowing us to automate business processes based on things that have happened, or are likely to happen (this is known as event-driven architecture).

Before going into more detail, I am conscious that automation is often seen as a way of getting rid of jobs – anyone familiar with Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano knows how badly that might end, if taken to its logical conclusion! However, if new technology is used to add new capabilities, and to enhance human work (making it more effective and efficient, rather than simply replacing people) – that is where the real benefits of innovation are to be found.

The diagram below (large version here) shows how this could be applied to health and social care in the future.

ASC event driven architecture v0.5 2019-03-24

 

Connected digital health devices (for example, blood pressure monitors) transmit data to an IoT platform (essentially, a data storage area). The integration platform can be programmed with business rules which are triggered by changes in this data. These business rules create actions – these can be things like mobile notifications, health visits, cases and tasks.

A simple health scenario could be:

An elderly citizen takes their blood pressure every morning. The reading is uploaded to the IoT platform. The integration platform picks up the new data and writes it directly to their NHS patient record. As a result, the GP saves time which would otherwise be spent taking blood pressure and doing data entry.

A more complex health scenario could be:

A series of blood pressure readings indicate an increase of 20% in BP over one month. The integration platform notices the pattern and creates an appointment for the resident with a nurse practitioner to carry out further investigations. As a result, the risk of a stroke or heart attack for that citizen is greatly reduced – and of course, the cost of prevention is very much lower than the cost of treating someone with a stroke or a heart attack!

It’s easy to see the potential for savings just from these two examples. The transformation work currently taking place in adult social care at the council should be able to apply these principles to our excellent Carelink Plus service, among other areas, as it replaces older technology with newer, connected health and monitoring devices.

Finally, I just wanted to say that it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a lovely, talented and motivated group of colleagues, and I wish the council all the best for the (hopefully non-dystopian) future. If you’d like to keep in touch, you can find me on LinkedIn here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Local Government Digital Unconference

In Feb and March this year the Local Government Digital Collaboration Unit (LGDCU) ran 4 unconferences in the cities of Bristol, London, Coventry and Bradford. I attended the London one on behalf of Digital First.

The unconferences were designed to bring together professionals from the local government digital sector to discuss common challenges for people working in the sector. They were also put on to foster collaboration and to encourage more councils to sign up to the Local Government Digital Declaration (LGDD). The Declaration was launched in January 2018 and already has 145 signatories.

Before we broke out into groups to discuss topics suggested by the delegates the LGDCU project and technical leads talked about their goals. There was heavy emphasis on their role in facilitating collaboration and shared fundings.

The talks covered Local Digital Fund (LDF) support for digital collaboration projects, free GDS academy training credits for LGDD signatories, the 16 projects currently in flight (10 discovery, 6 alpha) under the Unit’s supervision and Pipeline as a place to open source and share builds. There was also a very cool talk by the digital guys from Barking and Dagenham on their Social Progress Index.

The topics that were covered in the breakout sessions can be seen in the following graphic.

LGUnconference.jpg

Too many to attend them all!

I chose to attend sessions on data and APIs, how to gain leader support for digital transformation, successful digital delivery and procurement decisions.

From a Digital First perspective it was great to hear other councils talking positively about the design pattern library we have created to guide our web and app builds and have now opened up for others to share.  It was also great to talk to Bloomberg’s smart city representatives who were very interested in our IoT housing sensor project.

Coming back to Brighton and Hove I felt enthused about what is happening in local government digital and will recommending that our council sign up to the Declaration at the earliest opportunity.

Follow LGDCU at LDGovUK and #fixtheplumbing #localdigitalfund

A new design system at Brighton & Hove City Council

bhcc-patternlibrary

Hi, I’m David Hampton, the User Experience Designer at Digital First. You can call me ‘Design Dave’, as the team do for short.

I joined the team about a year ago. My brief was to build on and improve the online identity of Brighton & Hove City Council, with a focus on designing and documenting standards for re-usable design. We call these ‘web patterns’.

Our overall goal is to provide Brighton & Hove residents with a consistent, friendly and familiar website, whether they need to find and read about a service, report a problem, or browse news.

What we’ve achieved in 2018

Over the past year I’ve been working closely with Product Managers, Content Designers and web developers at Digital First, re-designing and launching website sections.

Improving website accessibility has played a key part. We’re making sure our new design and code is in compliance with accessibility guidelines. This will help improve usability for residents who may access the website in non traditional ways, for example using screen readers.

If you’re a Brighton & Hove resident you may have noticed some of these new designs coming into effect, with some highlights in 2018 being:

How we’ll stick to our own guidelines

I’m excited to share our Website Design Guidelines and Pattern Library. Here you can find references to all new designs and patterns created since January 2018.

At first the pattern library was used internally to communicate new design standards and patterns amongst the team. Today we’re opening it to everyone. We hope this will be a useful resource across departments and teams for referencing new design, and offering solutions to reoccurring design challenges. It may even be useful for other councils and public sector organisations – we’ve built on the experience of others and are delighted to contribute for the greater good.

Our plan is to continually improve the library through ongoing testing and research with actual users. We’ll be including version releases so we can track design progression.

bhcc-pattern-example
Above: An example website pattern with usage notes.

Over the coming weeks I will be blogging in more detail about some of the new designs and pattern library features. If you have any questions, please post below or get in touch.