Can We Celebrate 70 Years of the NHS?


As increasing numbers of ordinary people move away from this cherished institution – we ask the question – why do they do so?

This is not about private medicine and public services. The UK NHS and its principle guardian of healthcare – free to all – at the point of delivery – is the cornerstone of just about every UK and European belief that healthcare is a public right – not something that you only get if you can afford it.

Fair enough.

The problem is when you put that into practice for the ordinary lives of people like you and I. The principle might be ok but – well, if other places are offering something better, and its within our price range, we are going to choose whatever that something else is.

And so they do.

At the recent Employee Benefit Fair in London just a couple of weeks ago, of the 115 Exhibitors, some 30% were all offering private walk in Doctors facilities.  And the services they were offering were better, than their NHS counterparts, particularly in areas that can be monitored remotely by smart technology on the wrist of all of us. As the provision of healthcare moves away from hospitals into a more community based environment, if for just a few bucks a  month, say you can have your diabetes monitored every day, in real time – or your heart and blood pressure similarly managed – does it matter that you never get to see a real Nurse?  All you want is the Nurse to call you when things look wrong – and for you to be able to drop by as you pass thru the local train station en route to work.

So why do so few NHS Hospitals and CCGs want to adopt similar practices?

The problem is twofold; if we can  solve a specific problem, with  technology, using half the nurses – then we can schedule the remaining nurses somewhere else where there is a greater need. Except that clinical grass roots staff have a fear of change and a fear of losing their job. And Managers have a fear of losing their nurses – and their silo based budgets.  As long as they have lots of people coming through those hospital doors – the money will keep rolling in.

And second – we regularly get emails and responses from NHS senior Managers saying;  “Sure, come by for a conversation, but not for a conversation that means we have to do something”. There is this misplaced belief among so many NHS Managers that as things have always been done this way – then life will continue to be done this way.

Not any more.  

We are seeing already that the public is voting with its feet. Sure, its a small beginning – but its a beginning none the less. As a senior more enlightened NHS Director told me – “we cannot keep trying to squeeze 100 appointments into the time reserved for only 40”.

There will become a time, sooner rather than later, when the public itself will start to wonder why they are paying any money for public healthcare at all. By then of course, it will be too late.

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IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION MISSING THE POINT?

We focus on the upcoming IP Expo Europe Conference at Excel London  and ask the question – are consumers being left behind? 

If so, this would be a pity. It is no coincidence that IP Expo Europe is just a few days before the Chinese IRC Retail Conference also in London, whose view is;  With the challenge of slowing retail sales, international expansion is key to maintaining double-digit growth.

The emergence of the Chinese eCommerce market, in a country whose GDP is constantly growing, is a clear opportunity to Re:Generate retail. Today’s QiXi day – the Chinese equivalent to Valentine’s day – is poised to generate record growth in international eCommerce sales. In other words, ECOMMERCE can drive retail.

The problem is, that’s not how ordinary people are viewing this. It’s not just Consumers, although there is  a dawn of realisation in the minds of the general public that the great benefit of online retail might also be killing the social high street that binds society together.  Maybe going shopping wasn’t so bad after all?  When one third of all the things that people buy online, are routinely returned to their sender – and there are more charity shops than thriving retailers – perhaps we are missing something in the way we describe and market “digital transformation”. Transformation might not necessarily be for the better.

The same feeling is also spreading into our public sectors; increasingly we are seeing new “digital transformation” labelled projects, that are little more than typing our patient records into someone’s Windows 7 desktop.  The NHS has “ringfenced” (oh please, don’t be naive) – money for “digital transformation” that will simply throw money at projects its hospitals were going to do anyway.  Digital Transformation is great PR.

At a time when emails no longer carry the same immediacy as they originally did – and it is now better to communicate sending something called a Letter in the mail – are we missing the point in thinking that everybody of course knows what blockchain is? Or are we blinded by selling technology to ourselves, when we are forgetting that what people want are the benefits of said technology? What that  technology is  – is irrelevant.

And that’s the point. IP Expo Europe  is not addressing consumers. It is a platform for the vendors of said technology, to show us the best ways of delivering business benefit.  We as “consumers” of technology should know how to translate that into something our own customers will understand. But to get there – we need the face to face, the casual conversation, the in depth presentation – with our peers – that will show us better ways to get where we ourselves need to go.

This may in turn reflect back into our struggling retail market, as long as it is a catalyst for methodology change, marketing people to get together. In short, the key to overall success, is a mix of the two -ECOMMERCE drives face to face retail.

We expect the greater awareness of vendors and delegates at IP Expo Europe will bear fruit in the change in the way vendors market what they do, and organisations handle their consumer data, in particular, becoming more open to international business – which will in turn drive the very retail sectors that are under pressure. 

If so, then Digital Transformation can start to create social good in the very areas that have been left behind. 

The Future Shapers. Protecting Your Assets

Information per se is not important. What drives our world, is access to the right information. We interview TheFutureShapers Director, Richard Copland about the growth and need for relevant information in our business.

We have some strange ideas about ownership. You wouldn’t ever consider walking into a supermarket, pick up a bar of chocolate, eat said chocolate, and only pay the girl at the till if you happen to like the chocolate. You would never go to a football game and only pay for the ticket if your team win.

Then again, if you listen to some music and want to buy that song – you wouldn’t think twice about giving some of that price to the composer and artist, would you. Or maybe you would? Yet the storms that greeted the music industry in its protection of musicians rights and copyright, are as of nothing, to the market that is open to the protection of yours and my IP whenever we create and publish a good idea, a new piece of code.

TheFutureShapers publishes relevant and highly insightful Articles, about key markets and industries where technology will make a difference. As an impartial and disinterested hub of knowledge, Futureshapers looks to publish the insight that others miss.

Yet in many ways, TheFutureShapers has transformed from being a high level crystal ball with far sighted reach – to an organisation that has stumbled on a genuine market need that will make it and its investors a fortune. The knowledge that it disseminates, itself has a value greater than merely the access to it, and the people who have created such knowledge should be rewarded.

The Ethereum Smart Contract technology is a blockchain based solution that manages the IP of the ideas and technologies that you create. It gives you ownership and therefore a value, for the work you have put in, the thought processes that you have developed over time.

Like all good ideas, its simplicity has the same financial needs to come to market, as any Start Up. Enlisting the support of you and I to invest financially, fits the modus operandi of being a solution to cater for all.

So far via Crowdcube, the company has raised nearly £50k. Target is £200,000. This puts the company in the public domain as far as proper visibility is concerned.

TheFutureShapers can be viewed by linking direct into the Crowdcube website; https:// http://www.crowdcube.com/companies/the-future-shapers/pitches/qay2mq

AND NOW FOR THE RUSH OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY…

The recent Presentation from John Keyes at the DAMA event #LifeWithGDPR2018 – drew a lot of attention.

We are going to publish the key points in brief – but what is becoming crucial for companies, is to have a rapid and foolproof and automated way – to deal with the requests for private information that are going to flood to all of our corporates that deal with the public.

Recently  launched, is  a relevant solution called ALTADA – http://www.altada.com – which is an eloquent and seamless way to deal with this issue. Please see their website. But here are the key points…

And remember, we haven’t even gone two months yet since GDPR first came into play.

* 169% increase in Weekly “Breach Notifications” since May 25th. Up from Avg 54 per week in 2017, to 145 per week in 4 weeks from May 25th

* 54% increase in weekly “Complaints and Enquiries”

* Upcoming E-Privacy regulation – Direct Marketing will require “consent”. The current perception that some companies have that they may use “Legitimate Interest” as the legal basis for Direct Marketing is unfounded.

* Article 6: “Legal Basis”
The 1st question the DPC ask when a concern is raised: “What is/was the legal basis for processing”

* Article 12: Transparency.
“I havn’t seen a Data Privacy Notice that complies with Article 12 yet”

It will be interesting to see how these stats pan out over the year – It would be great if John and the DPC could publish them regularly on their website….

LIVING WITH GDPR; HAS LIFE MOVED ON?

We look at the upcoming Chief Data Officer conference in London and ask; are we getting bored by all this?

Yes, indeed we are. And that’s the problem. And it makes us immune to the real issues of handling our corporate data, because, frankly – if we ever see yet another request from a company we have never heard of, to “opt in and remain on their mailing list”, – when we never knew we were even ON their mailing list – then we would be forgiven for jumping out of the nearest window.

Depressions were never as bad as this!

The answer, is to take a balanced view. I absolutely “get” that there are still some serious issues as to how we handle our personal or restricted data and that these aspects have not been universally solved.

But let’s not miss the real opportunity – which is; there are new and better ways to handle our data. Wake up calls are great if we do what the name suggests, ie – we actually “wake up”!

Looking at the Agenda of governance, emerging technology, and conceptual avenues of strategy – the upcoming CDO conference promises to move us along, in the directions that we now need to be heading.

If the profile of delegates attending, is as expected – then this is a forum that our decision makers in business need to attend. Decisions are based on looking forward as much as the experience of looking back – but let’s not dwell just on those experiences.

The key thing about the CDO is as always the interim networking, the casual conversation, and our guess is that this will always be the same. But the blurb from the good people at IQPC is that things have moved on, and that this is the discussion platform that will take us there. Pillows and blankets will not be provided.

Our longer Report will follow shortly.

IF A.I. IS SO IMPORTANT… CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT IT WILL ACTUALLY DO?

We look at some examples of the  new focus in healthcare and ask; really?

The recent announcement of the upcoming HIMSS Impact 2018| Leading Digital Transformation and Big Data in Medicine – conference in Berlin later this year, coincides with an announcement in the uk from the Government, that it is now investing zillions into “AI”, to combat various troublesome diseases.

In theory,  and indeed in reality, a new focus on a different way of  handling patient information, will save time, not necessarily save money, but enable our services to do lots more. And it comes about because there are just too many people, needing too many services. And as one clinical director told me; ‘we can hardly put a new clinic in the hospital car park..”

But  at a time when most Hospitals are still coming to terms about moving from Windows XP, there are three major stumbling blocks, and it is important to spell these out before we all get too excited.

First – if the UK Gov attempts to roll out this Finance in the same way as it has done for previous bjg deals, let’s say such as COGDE or Scan 4 Safety, etc.. then nothing much new will happen at all. Those hospitals that did take up either of the above, have largely  spent money on things they were already doing – so it just became a way of getting finance but not improvement; or they embark on a lengthy process of milestones that alas could have been done cheaper and faster with existing tech in the private sector. 

The result is that those Hospitals that did not make the cut, so to say, have become confused, and do nothing, as opposed to at least try to do “something”. What we have found is that if the management of a hospital wants to advance its healthcare performance, it will do so, regardless of Gov announcements.

Second – AI is not a Hospital process, but a Community process. This means that the data from a patient does not require said patient to come to a clinic or be seen by anybody in a place called a hospital. The data is patient driven and comes from his/her smartphone, his Apple Watch, her Fitbit, etc – without anybody doing anything much. In other words, AI in health is consumer driven,   and there are already plenty of Apps that harness very specialist health data from each and everyone of us, that can already be viewed by our GP or Hospital. The secret to AI health is by increasing patient engagement.

But finally – we need to understand what all this will do to our actual lives. What AI means, is that our diabetes, our heart, our fitness, can be monitored remotely – and we ourselves will take greater ownership of our lifestyle. 

This means that conventional financial models of where money comes from and for what – have to change. The focus will be empowering the community, and paying hospitals to monitor that – rather than get paid only when we physically make a visit.

Because if this does not happen, then health provision will move to pharmacies, etc, who will provide this monitoring for us – and we will pay them money to do so, because it will be immediate and in real time – instead of waiting to see our local GP or clinic appointment.

Which in turn will distance us from the very organisations we already pay money to, to look after us.

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….They Put Up a Parking Lot

We interview Shaz Ahmad, Nextgate’s VP of Cloud Operations to find out why people don’t miss something until it’s gone.

It is 02.00am Pacific Time and this is the preferred hour of the day for Shaz Ahmad, in his T shirt, to handle an interview. He is a self confessed night owl, but I would’ve thoughts there are limits. For me, it is 10.am GMT and there could be no worse time to make a constructive assessment of why Nextgate’s time has come. I have told my office to hold my calls.

But Shaz is as eloquent as I am even in mid morning, and he needs to be. Nextgate identity management technology is the secret sauce that make your hospital data work, seamlessly, that you do not realise you ever needed, until something goes wrong. It is the one line of code you never appreciated, but which makes your data work. As they say in the song, isn’t it the way it goes, you never realise what you’ve got – until its gone.

Except that with Nextgate – the thing that you don’t “get” – is the problem that you’ve got. As we move more and more into a connected and multiple data source environment, where patients not techies are driving that source of data, so (to paraphrase). Hospitals increasingly cannot map or match the data that they have. In short, the HL7 data is neither clean from one source or another, nor do existing systems talk to each other. And whilst this is technical issue, the problem is commercial. Putting it right takes man hours and costs money.

Except that it doesn’t. And it comes through the decision of starting again, and putting your data on a cloud. What that means is, a cloud-based solution that does identity management, allows hospitals and organisations to rapidly and accurately deliver a patient record at the point of care – with the flexibility and scalability you need in today’s evolving and digital environment.

Shaz does not talk about technology. He talks about Service Level Agreements. He talks about peace of mind. The idea that you as a Hospital (say). can access all of your data, 24/7, safely on a cloud, without the need for local expert support. Amongst all of the solutions that a hospital might have, Nextgate is the single line that makes not just a difference – it is THE difference.

It is the reason why Shaz left his  job at Orion, where he was a user of Nexgate technology, to take up an offer with the company that created the stuff.

Nextgate competes with the big IBM and Corporate Players in data integration. But it is addressing a real market need. The Obama driven “spine” of data accessibility mirrors the attempts in the UK to formalise data accessibility. Nextgate has reference sites and projects that are pan-Atlantic.

Yet it is a hard sell – what Nextgate are saying is; don’t wait until you have an issue before talking to us about our Cloud benefits.   As they say in the song, –  don’t lose sight of Paradise.