Quarkside

25/07/2014

Data Privacy: Put ASHs in the bin

Filed under: Governance,Privacy,Technology — lenand @ 10:25 pm
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There’s a consultation about the regulations for protecting personally identifiable data. The government proposes allowing a number of local organisations to create secure Accredited Safe Havens (ASHs). They will have access to information from peoples’ personal care records, which could be used to identify an individual.

The consultation assumes a solution that there is a need to transfer such data into an ASH.  Quarkside suggest that an alternative is inherently safer. Instead of moving data to an ASH, it stays put in a Personal Data Store (PDS). A PDS resolves the problems of consent by only releasing data for analysis without personally identifiable data.  This could be controlled by Mydex.

The back of a beer mat design goes something like this:

  • People control their own health and care records in a suitably encrypted data store.
  • Data is held in 5* format in triple stores and using URIs appropriately (ask Sir Nigel Shadbolt how to do it).
  • Explicit consent has to be given for the extraction (or viewing) of any attribute. This avoids any data which could lead to identification being stopped at source. The consent could also be given by an Accredited Data Attorney (ADA). An ADA could be the person or any single person who has been trusted to give consent to release data for sharing purposes.
  • If an Accredited Data Processor (ADP) wishes to use anonymised data then temporary rights are given by the ADA. Data may be given an expiry period after which any copies of the source data are destroyed. The ADP would be allowed to stored summarised data for analytical purposes.
  • Any joins of personal data are done within the domain of the PDS and the method of performing those joins and hidden from the ADP. The risks are reduced for loss of privacy. If you go back to the principles of FAME you will see the nine principles that can make this work. The Identity Management problem is solved at source. Sharing data from multiple agencies is logically performed in an infrastructure that is like a walled garden.
  • Each time data is released to an ADP, then the source identity would be irreversibly hashed by the ADA. The regulations would be so much simpler to implement.
  • The ADA can release personally identifiable data to multiple agencies, such as health and social care. Again this must be time limited and the agencies would be obliged to destroy data, without any rights to store archives that contain personally identifiable data. A PDS is the repository for health and social care records.

Big data technology has advanced to the stage where this has become possible. Give control of sharing to the citizen. Acknowledge that people have ownership rights to their data, even if it is collected and stored by the NHS (or any other ADP). If you don’t create ASHs, you don’t need to regulate them

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31/05/2014

Kemuri: Cisco Grand Challenge Entry

Filed under: Innovation,People,Social Care — lenand @ 8:34 am
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Kemuri wants more people to share this vision:

People living longer, happier and healthier

in their own homes

with non-intrusive social support

from family, friends and carers

Kemuri products and services will help towards achieving it for more families of vulnerable people living alone.  Kemuri has entered a competition, “Cisco Internet of Things Innovation Grand Challenge”. The winner will receive a prize worth US$200,000. Winning would boost the ability to scale quickly to a service for thousands of families with older people living alone. A place in the semi-finals is guaranteed if the entry “Social care costs reduced with IoT sensors and predictive monitoring” is “liked” by the most number of people. To make sure that people are genuinely interested, Cisco require people to register on the Innovation web site.

The publicity for being top of the poll would be useful, even if it does not lead to winning the top prize.  Spreading the link would help to gather a few more votes for a worthwhile social enterprise that could have an impact on every family that is concerned about the wellbeing of vulnerable people living alone.

10/04/2014

Kemuri: IoTLondon Showcase

Filed under: Innovation,Risk,Social Care,Technology,Wellbeing — lenand @ 3:26 pm
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The buzz at the IoTLondon showcase demonstrated the huge energy of entrepreneurs.  Kemuri was able to demonstrate tangible progress since the original presentation in February.  The strapline was a bit tacky, “Granny Monitor”, but all better suggestions are welcome.

People were interested in poking their fingers into the working demonstrator, thankfully it was in battery powered mode and not connected to the mains.  It contains:

  • Temperature sensor – for hypothermia risk
  • Power sensor – for dehydration or nutritional risk
  • Motion sensor – for immobility or fall risk
  • Controller board – to schedule data transmissions
  • Communications board and aerial
  • Power socket

All fitting into a UK standard double socket enclosure.  Mission accomplished.

We had genuine enquiries about selling to the general public.  The answer has to be “No”.  The equipment must be professionally installed and the first units will go to telecare companies or care agencies.  Furthermore, it was just a demonstrator and it has to go into a prototype, certification and pilot phase before it should be introduced at scale.

As pointed out in the Marketing Flyer, we are “seeking supporters, collaborators and funders” before taking the next steps.  Tell your friends.

24/01/2014

Funding a Social Enterprise

Filed under: Health,Innovation,Risk,Social Care,Wellbeing — lenand @ 8:43 am
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Ideas are free.  Concepts are beguiling and an excuse for inaction.  Improving the wellbeing of an ageing population seems to be a noble social enterprise.  People don’t want intrusive monitoring – but digital technology can help.  Kemuri has taken the first steps in providing a passive wellbeing monitoring service that will cost less than £1000 in the first year and less than £500 in subsequent years.  One year in a residential care home costs at least 10 times this amount, or more likely, 20 or 30 times.

The technology for Kemuri’s simple well-being monitor uses the Internet of Things.  It may be a buzz word, but when Google invests £2 billion on such products, it is not just hype.  Adrian McEwan’s book on the Designing the Internet of Things has helped to identify the action needed for a start up.  The chapter on a Business Model Canvas provides a nine point process for showing what must come next. The benefits are clear, the costs are containable, so how can funds be raised to deliver at scale by 2016, when the impact of the Care Bill becomes clear to the general public?

The proposition is that funding should be forthcoming if there are sufficient provisional orders.  Provisional orders would be financially risk-free for care commissioners.  If the products and services do not meet pre-determined conditions, then the order need not be fulfilled.  The financial risk is taken by the funders.  The big question is the size of the market at the price point selected.

In the UK, here are approximately 2.5 million people aged over 75 living alone in own homes, sheltered housing or care homes.  Any one of these is a potential beneficiary of passive wellbeing monitoring.  2,500 provisional orders would be just 0.1% of the potential market.  2,500 provisional orders represents a turnover of £2.5 million.   Is this attractive to Angel funders or Venture Capitalists?  Time will tell.

22/11/2013

Ageing Better: The message is getting through

Filed under: Governance — lenand @ 11:45 am
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Via the Public Service Launchpad, Quarkside has identified a blog promoting the understanding of the social issues surrounding our ageing population.  Claire Ritchie is worth following if you are interested.

21/11/2013

Ageing: What do People Need?

Filed under: Health,Outcomes,Social Care,Technology,Wellbeing — lenand @ 7:07 am
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Ageing impacts everybody in civil society.  We all grow older; we observe the ageing process with mild disinterest until it affects us personally. Who are the key stakeholders in sustaining a reasonable quality of life for our ever increasing ageing population?
  • Older people living independently
  • Relatives, who may live many miles away
  • Carers providing voluntary or commercial services
  • Local Authority Social Services officers
  • Voluntary Sector advisors

At the Health Technology Forum (November 20th, 2013), Mike Clark informed us that there are 1.5 million people employed in the Social Care industry.  In addition, there are about 5 million more providing unpaid care to relatives, friends or via voluntary work.  Before may years have passed, more then 9 million of the UK population will be personally involved in providing social care.   It is beginning to have a major impact on UK productivity with so much time and effort being deployed in caring. Technology enables people to do more, with less effort, improving outcomes in health and wellbeing.

Before rushing into a care technology solution, Quarkside recommends taking stock of what each stakeholder group needs, with answers to simple questions for each group:

  • What are the benefits of monitoring activity in the home?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much activity should be monitored and stored, if any?
  • How much data should be shared, and with whom?
  • What are the critical privacy requirements?
  • What is affordable?

These questions are being posed at Kent County Council (November 23rd, 2013).  The results should should inform any care ecosystem design for the technology products that will largely have to be self-funded.  The State will not provide for things that only provide peace of mind and improved levels of wellbeing of older people and their relatives.

24/10/2013

GO’D: We are in a bad place, but it is a stable bad place

Filed under: Governance,Policy,Politics — lenand @ 4:46 pm

Gus O’Donnell, a former Cabinet Secretary, has proposed key reforms that he believes would lead to better government in an article in the Political Quarterly.

On the social side, he recognises problem of a rapidly ageing population, with increasing pressure on health and social care budgets.  He notes the rising trend in obesity, the growth of dementia and Alzheimer’s and mental health issues in general, making it hard to see how the state can afford to help all who need it.

In his solutions, he proposes policy changes for enhancing wellbeing, and constitutional changes would deliver such policies.  He asserts a fairly broad consensus on the following:

  • our planning laws are too rigid and slow;
  • our infrastructure is outdated and in need of urgent attention;
  • our education system is not producing the skills that our businesses need;
  • our health system is expensive and inefficient, with too little spent on prevention and mental health resulting in too much being needed for drugs and hospitals.

He questions whether money spent wisely, with UK public spending (Total Managed Expenditure) accounting for round 45 per cent of GDP.  The implication is that is unwise and he postulates three reasons for poor levels of public sector productivity: policy hysteresis, short-termism and vested interests.

On politicians and policy, he has lots to say, which includes a desire for pre-qualification criteria for candidates. He questions the sense of free travel for Londoners over 60, free prescriptions and “winter fuel allowances to millionaire pensioners on the Costa Brava”.  He sees it as “all part of the ludicrous bias whereby the old are subsidised by the young. It is bad economics and bad social policy.”  Which politicians would wish to reverse these policies?

On short-termism, he sees the overwhelming priority in health is to focus more on prevention and to rebalance resources in favour of mental health.  He would like to use wellbeing as a success measure.  “All hospital staff from the cleaners to the consultants should be absolutely clear that their objective is to improve the wellbeing of patients. Subject to that, they may well have intermediate targets, like reducing waiting times and cleaner wards, but the main goal should be clear.”

On public sector Governance, he suggests a body with strong professional integrity. An Office for Taxpayer Responsibility (OTR) with its own professional staff.  Yet he proposes staffing that would only seem to continue organisational hysteresis: “secondments from the Big 4 accountancy firms, some former civil servants, particularly those with Treasury experience, some ex-ministers and private sector members, particularly those with experience of working with the public sector.”  Each of these are at risk of having vested interests.

His conclusion is:

Unfortunately, we suffer from strong policy and constitutional hysteresis. We are in a bad place, but it is a stable bad place.

21/10/2013

IoT sensor price crash

Filed under: People,Technology — lenand @ 11:41 am
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TI is producing a sensor device with six functions for $25.

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Pressure
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer

That’s less than $5 per measurement.  Most would be useful in a home environment connecting to a smart phone or personal computer.

Such low cost equipment could be part of an infrastructure that helps families to support independent living of older and other vulnerable people.  The data from such a device could be combined with data from smart meters, and other equipment monitors, to give insight into daily behaviour patterns.

13/07/2013

MLF supports open standards: Open Care EcoSystem?

Filed under: Innovation,Outcomes,Standards — lenand @ 7:29 am
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Martha Lane Fox understands the case for open standards; from her speech in the lords:

“I am not talking about expensive and costly top down nhs IT projects but instead about better use of data, open standards, more agile development and a more digitally minded culture in our healthcare sector….

 … the Department of Health (DH) believes that at least three million people with long term conditions and/or social care needs could benefit from the use of telehealth and telecare services. Implemented effectively as part of a whole system redesign of care, telehealth and telecare can alleviate pressure on long term NHS costs and improve people’s quality of life through better self-care in the home setting.

The NHS can potentially save so much money, they should consider giving financial support to organisations working on preventative care.  Here’s Quarkside’s idea.

Elderly people living independently could have their homes fitted with activity sensors and wear health monitors eg blood pressure.  Data is collected continuously, via the Internet, and analysed to create an individual’s unique, normal, behaviour pattern.  Deviation from normal patterns, displayed to family members or carers, alerts them of potential health problems and they can provide valuable data for GPs or hospitals.

Early medical intervention could improve outcomes for people with chronic conditions, eg diabetes, loss of cognition eg Alzheimer’s and recently discharged from hospitals.  Each could be worth £billions.

An ecosystem of open standards makes sense.  We need standards for::

  • Home activity sensors, eg smart meters
  • Health monitors, eg heart rate
  • Safety alarms, eg carbon monoxide levels
  • Time series data for all types of home and health monitors
  • Display of analytical information for individuals, families, carers and health professionals
  • Information governance of digital identities and data sharing

Standards like this, developed coherently in the public sector, would encourage innovative SMEs to enter the market and vastly improve health outcomes.  It could be a world leading industry, helping the UK economy.  This open ecosystem should be supported by multiple stakeholders.  It crosses the boundaries of Government departments of Business, Innovation & Skills, Health, Education, Communities & Local Government, Work & Pensions  and Local Authorities with responsibility for Social Care.

Any Government and Trust funding for the development of an Open Care EcoSystem will help the transformation from a reactive public health service to a preventative health culture in private citizens.

Is ten years too ambitious?

18/06/2013

‘Man in the middle’ attacks for dummies

Filed under: Risk,Security — lenand @ 3:49 pm
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Public WiFi security risks are real, not imaginary.  This paper from the Royal Holloway College, University of London highlights Security Risks associated with the use of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Should Quarkside publicise this paper?  The advice works both ways.  It gives as many clues to potential criminals as it does to those who should take more care.

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