DARK SECRETS. NOW IN THE UK.

We review the latest block-buster novel from Delphine Montariol and ask, why do we need yet another detective story?

You could be forgiven for asking this, but as in all good detective stories, life is not what it seems. Sure we have Agatha Christie as the single sleuth – but remarkably, she is the exception. Nowadays, crime solvers go in pairs.

You could argue that it was always thus, too. Starting with Holmes and Watson – we now have Cagney and Lacey; and Starsky and Hutch – and fast forward a decade to the UK favourite, Morse and his sidekick Lewis.

And then we have location. No self respecting UK crime thriller would be complete without a nice Country House – and set in an age even before people who voted for Brexit were born. All we need is a nice fancy train, a murder before Afternoon Tea, and two new detectives – called Worthington and Spencer.

If you are looking for the classic “whodunnit” with all the rose coloured prejudices and expectations of a century or more ago, Dark Secrets is a perfect mix of elements with only one hesitation – which is; the author, Delphine Montariol – is French.

Delphine Montariol is a celebrated and known French writer. She is a History graduate. She knows more about English history than you or I ever studied at school. It is this fascination that gives the book and story line its authenticity, and it stands out because of that. Christmas is coming. Worth a read.

ITS PANTOMIME TIME! OH NO IT ISN’T!

We sit back and laugh out loud at this latest rethink of the Offenbach classic, “Orpheus In The Underworld” – and ask; how can we laugh – and be disturbed, at the same time.

You can argue that this “Orpheus….” has everything. It is quite astonishing. It is a fusion of extraordinary drama, of sublime choral sound, of sheep that go ”bah bah” in time to the music; of myriads of balloons, that seem to be the leitmotiv (balloons are everywhere), as a symbol of transitory suspension between two worlds I suppose.

It is Mozart on steroids – a sort of Magic Flute but where there is no happy ending. Which is why you will not take your little kids to this run up to Christmas entertainment. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this performance has “wit and charm” – it is simply seriously funny. But in her chat discussion just a few weeks earlier, director Emma Rice indicated that this is going to be a different take – and she did not disappoint. The melodies of the first Act soon give way to sexual depravity, male hedonism, and the implicit conclusion that if you play with the Devil, then be careful what you wish for.

Except that Eurydice – played by Mary Bevan – has no particular wish to play with the Devil as such. Mary’s melodies, interpretation and dramatic art of her journey from one world to another, and the realisation of what marriage is – are the stand out features of this performance and I found myself reminded of when i first saw her in ”Two Boys” all those years ago, the ability to stand alone on stage and carry the audience with her.

And then we have Alex Otterburn, who was very funny, self-deprecating, as Pluto, with his West Country shepherd accent. A sort of Moliere’s “Tartuffe”. As I travel back to Devon as I write this piece, I would have loved to have seen more of this – but what the heck!

This is a cast of exceptional performers, each contributing vital elements. I loved Ellie Laugharne as Cupid. I could go on.

My first recollection of ENO’s “Orpheus” as a young teenager, used a tube train as the slapstick way to travel between worlds. Emma’s use of a London Taxi and cabbie, for the public opinion, is better, and just so ridiculous, the little things where the taxi does not start, for example.

Perhaps this is why I left the Coliseum excited and yet confused. We take for granted now the edginess of ENO productions, the taking of Opera to its limits. This performance continues that trend cum laude. The mix of elements that really should not go together, or how can anybody even think they go together – but somehow they do – that can deliver not satisfaction but a darker truth?

But again, this is to be picky. This is thought provoking entertainment on so many levels. Just don’t bring the kids, at least not yet.

Do Lawyers need AI? Good question…

We look back at the recent IQPC Conference on the need for AI, within the legal profession, and ask – who needs this anyway?

It’s a stupid and naive question. Lawyers are the byword for heavy and voluminous documents and the search for precedence.  You can argue  that if anybody needs some sort of automated way to find the data that will  get you  out of jail – it is your lawyer.  And whether this is criminal or private or commercial – the economics are clear; understanding  and devising new ways to handle a legal process – and then automating it – can save billable hours.

And that is the question, and why this intriguing and intensive and experience lead two day event,  was so critical – and explains why of all industries, the legal profession is the last to seriously take a peek under the hood, of the benefits of an AI process.  In a market that so depends on its billable hours – why would you want to reduce your billable hours anyway?

It took a day of separate speeches and discussions and coffee networking – before on Day One, we reached this nadir. It was worth waiting for.

Key speakers and delegates from some of Europe’s leading brands, had flown in from across Europe and taken the DLR  from across the road, to meet at Canary Wharf, and listen and contribute. A key strategy and benefit of an IQPC event is the informal inclusion. Nobody is afraid to say what they mean, and everybody understands that the more they contribute, the more they benefit, from everybody else.

In many ways, the informality belies it’s importance as a means of sharing important best practice. And this allows the delegates to ask the difficult questions. Day One, where we were present, allowed all parties to go beyond their earlier preconceptions that billable hours are the key essential, set that aside, and say :”well, there are other ways of doing this now”. 

What is clear is that – unlike say financial services or Chief Data environments, the legal profession does not come to the table with a problem  that it has to fix. People don’t use lawyers because they want to – it is because they have to. This has allowed the profession to do its own thing, in its own way. Up to a point.

Sure, this Conference was friendly, supportive.  Key corporate legal decision makers rubbed shoulders with public sector movers and shakers. Networking around the water cooler on steroids if you will.

But what is clear, now, is that internal competition from one lawyer to the next – and also the growth and competence of Inside Counsel, has woken up the need to be more commercial. The need indeed for survival, in a real world, has finally kicked in. 

Are Healthcare people missing the point?

As the need for the provision of healthcare has moved from Hospitals to the Community, we have been looking at who “gets” that?

Actually not very many people, by that I mean, very few hospitals, and very few established vendors. In a survey that we are still conducting, of approx 100 key Hospitals in the UK NHS – the ordinary consumer (that’s you and me) with our smart data on our wrist, is light years ahead of knowing about their health situation, than the very places they go to when things look serious.

What is worse is that, not just established vendors seem to be clinging on to their market position with solutions that cannot possibly keep up with what the ordinary guy expects – but that newer start ups, who regularly look for funding – are being overtaken by Apps that are already in use for free. on our iPhone or Android device.

We have written about this before on our these Press pages, but our initial and interim assessment is that, whilst accepting that hospitals are routinely underfunded in the UK – their salvation will be the inclusion of primary care, sorting out issues before they ever get to the need for what hospitals currently do. so they become a one-stop shop. There are significant reductions in costs in this combination.

Approx 10% of the hospitals we deal with ourselves, get this notion – and either reach out to providers of community finance, or they include private paid-for health clinics, within their own walls. These tend to be the ones that regularly top the league tables of health excellence.

But what does not work – is doing nothing, because patients are now starting to walk with their feet away from these hallowed institutions anyway. We are very interested in hearing from those organisations who link ordinary Apps, with their healthcare services provision, and if we can, we will be pleased to publish their experiences.

CAN A.I. HELP THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND CAN IT INDEED HELP YOU?

We take an advance peek at the upcoming AI Legal Forum from the experts at IQPC, in London this week, and ask – where does AI fit into this very personal relationship-based industry?

The AI Legal Forum is rocking up at what should be already the centre of UK artificial intelligence. With its base for two days this week at the Hilton London Canary Wharf, the venue is surrounded by the movers and shakers in the banking and financial industries. If anybody depends on accurate use of data – it is them.

So we are in good company. The Forum already has some of the UK’s leading Legal Firms as Speakers, including a couple of large Media companies and PDA vendors. It is a broad church. And it needs to be,.

Reading through the nice announcements, what the Forum is there to do, is ask questions of its delegates rather than deliver information. Sure, there will be experience lead discussion – but as much can be gained from the feedback as the initial presentations from each leader or speaker.

A key element will be the redefining of how legal firms calculate their revenues, from what source. A major bugbear from customers who require legal advice is the constant focus on billable hours, and this is a key topic under discussion, as we move in to new ways of assessing client value.

It’s about time. But then, in the legal profession, you could say it has always been that way.

The Need to Communicate. So why is the Age of Video already dead?

As the various Trade Fairs open their doors this month and next, we look at the best ways for vendors to communicate with their audience, and why do corporates keep making the same mistakes. And what else is there, that can replace it?

I am in my office and I am hit by the promotional email from the one of the many tech trade fairs in London, and there and is an invitation to watch an Interview. It is a topic I want to assess. So far so good – I click on their screen and away we go.  After approx four minutes, my phone goes – I take the call – which generates other immediate calls, and further emails to back up the calls. The video interview is some eleven minutes long. I never reach the end of the interview. And I have no clue what the speaker is really trying to say.

I am walking past some trade stands at a financial services conference and the clearly important person, he is wearing a tie for God’s sake – is being professionally interviewed on video by a cool team of camera people, in black t shirts, cables and microphones strategically placed. It is a Lage Corporate thing, they have a big stand and enough money to use some space for an “interview area”.  Nobody will actually view this interview either. It will be too boring and not say anything that you probably didn’t know already and above all –  will not be engaging, because the important person is unlikely to have the personal skills to get people’s attention and then keep them engaged. 

And yet – the concept of video as a means of communicating, despite being available for several years, has  suddenly has become de rigeur, essential. At a time when we all recognise that PowerPoint no longer cuts it as a communicating device,  and we all “get” that “seeing is believing”- the question is;  why do so many companies get it so wrong? And are we seeing the end of what could have been a golden age, even before it has truly begun?

The answers are that we do not understand what are we trying to achieve by video – and that we are not talking about technology, but human experience and human nature.  So,  here are some essential pointers;

1. Quick and Dirty, actually works. Placing a camera on a table and just recording someone speak their words of wisdom, with minimal after editing, as long as it is short, clear, you say what you mean. 30 seconds is all it takes. It is ideal for Interviews where you are simply making a point. The file size is small enough to email out.

2. The classic CEO Interview does not work. The impression is one of an ego trip and it works against you in this age of saving money and austerity.

3. Use professional actors – even for the shortest project. They are trained to engage with their body language, style of speaking, choice of delivery. You may be a great sales presenter or tech consultant but the National Theatre and Hollywood have not called you. You have other gifts. Leave the delivery of your message, to people who are trained to do it.  This is ideal for the longer Interview, where you want the discussion to retain attention, but never make this more than two minutes. 

4. Use your new found friendly actors, to do the internal communication in your own company. Your biggest problem is more how to keep your own people engaged and motivated – than ever going get new business.  Let the actors use humour and be original in how you do this. 

5. Be clear before you start, what you want to achieve. Spend as much time on round table discussion with all involved, draw up flow charts, shopping lists, – as the time to takes to actually create the video script, shoot it, edit it and so forth. Remember- every battle is won, before it is ever fought.

6. Think about what else can keep people’s attention. In our business, we use Comic Books, to stimulate thought from our readers and visitors. Everyone wants to be a superhero. Make sure your storyline (ie, your message and point you are trying to make) – is compelling, and then let your Designer and Artist do their magic. 

Ultimately – this is all about communication at a human level. Whatever the data or numbers or clever marketing analytics might suggest – the essential of business remains the individual and what they decide to do, as opposed to  ending when you have found out who they are, and  your ability simply to get to them. 

New look at Digitalisation in healthcare

The recent Seminar announcement from EHTEL is worth visiting – we look at the specifics… what they say is this:

Digitisation in health opens up tremendous perspectives for new data-driven services. Our webinar to debate how individual health data combined with data collected in health and social care will provide the fuel for innovation in the future.

The implicit question is: What is Europe’s role in data economy and could maintaining trust be the biggest opportunity for Europe?

Jointly with Sitra, EHTEL is pleased to invite you to a webinar around the IHAN approach for trustfully personalised health services. Sitra’s IHAN® project aims to build the foundation for personalised wellbeing and healthcare services. It is a collaboration effort for European organisations. Evidently such an effort can be of interest for eHealth Competence centres, and all projects and initiatives involved in managing digital health data, also with a view for Artifical Intelligence based services.

Having been inspired by an EHTEL network meeting, we will inform on what IHAN is all about. What are building blocks for the IHAN rulebook like architecture, interoperability and trustful use? What are the core technical components including identity wallet, consent management and logging. How can these components be built according to IHAN requirements?

As an example, My Travel Health – Tokyo 2020 will be presented: The pilot project aims to benefit all stakeholders – travellers get medical attention faster and more precisely; the provider’s health data is securely exchanged with traveller’s consent; and medical teams can quickly get trusted patient information in their own language.

EHTEL moreover understands the webinar as an important milestone to define an AI-friendly environment in health and social care. This idea will be highlighted in more detail at the EHTEL 20th Anniversary & Symposium early December in Barcelona.

The Seminar is Monday 16th sept, at 15.00 CET; or 14.00 UK time. Join via: Skype for Business (connecting details will be shared upon registration)The Seminar is Monday 16th sept, at 15.00 CET; or 14.00 UK time.

Full Agenda is here for download,

Some Healthcare Updates…

Two of the leading independent voices in European and USA healthcare have published today and in past few days, some important announcements that need sharing.

The first – from the COCIR trade association in Brussels, concerns standardisation of medical device standards; this is really key, because without this, countries cannot refer or regulate new innovations and vendors cannot offer this internationally; what they say today is:

Brussels, 25 July 2019 – In response to the European Commission’s publication of the draft standardization request for the MDR and IVDR, COCIR has developed detailed feedback and recommendations for improvement of the document. We have always underlined the importance of having harmonised standards available and cited in the Official Journal under the new Regulations. Unfortunately, the proposed draft standardisation request still includes several elements that prevent flexible harmonisation and timely reference of standards in the Official Journal. COCIR recommends to the European Standardisation Organisations to reject this request if it is adopted in the currently proposed form. COCIR is more than ready to engage in further discussions with the European Commission and member states on this topic. We specifically call upon the next Commissioner for the Internal Market to find pragmatic solutions to the current deadlockBack

Related Files

And in the USA, the AHIMA organisation based in Chicago, has two days ago announced the aim of country-wide use of a standard Patient ID; you wonder what they did before….

This is a different and expansive take on their usual technology coding and practical approach., as they move nearer to compete with HIMSS.

We will get a view shortly from our colleague Christina Roosen, who knows both organisations well – to see where this is heading.

Clever People. Important Discussions.

We engage with the very clever people on both sides of the table at the Millenium Hotel London and ask – why do I not understand this?.


The answer is, of course – that I am not meant to understand it. The whole point of working with people who talk in languages and have skillsets that I do not understand – is that on my side – I have competences that are completely unknown and confusing, for them too.

Business depends on the communication of competences across the divide, and this is why every year as ritual, the IQPC Conference on AI, and on Intelligent Automation – has become a must see event, de rigeur. At whatever level of vertical corporate you are – Data and its automated future, are the way things will go for your industry and you need to be ready.

And it’s not that I am stupid. Mark Whitehorn’s discussion on where automated data can take us, was powerful but as a mere marketeer, was deliberately over my head.

But not over everybody’s head; the questions from the floor were equally intellectual and important, and there was a meeting of minds among a whole section of delegates and the speaker of this initial presentation.

As if recognising this small imbalance – Alasdair Anderson stepped up into the Panel and gave the more business focussed view. And this is the secret so to say, of the IQPC Conference; the balance of many views, and the opportunity to meet with one’s peers, from whatever provenance.

If there were two fundamental questions raised and answered, they were; what does it take to implement this stuff? It is ok having the technology, but here has to be a willingness and an understanding to do so.

As one delegate said; “what does it take in terms of incentive, to open the doors of the people who implement and deliver the benefit of, AI?” And from another colleague – a simple question: “Will this technology make the boat go faster?”

As always, the benefit of the IQPC Conference is as much in its casual networking between episodes.

I have to dash for an evening engagement but by mid afternoon delegates are already in deep discussion. There will be more hopeful of the same, next year.


IQPC schedule of similar conferences can be viewed at; www.iqpc.co.uk