Quarkside

19/10/2015

IoT poses ethical dilemma for carers of vulnerable people

Filed under: Health,Innovation,Wellbeing — lenand @ 3:16 pm
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Newcastle University, Institute for Ageing, have questioned the ethics of monitoring older people living alone with mundane household appliances, such as kettles. The Internet of Things (IoT) now has the capacity to place sensors unobtrusively and collect data continuously, generating concerns about “informed consent”. Four were identified:

  • Smartphones passively monitor activities and send alert to families or carers in public spaces outside the control of the observed person;
  • Potential stigmatisation of the observed person;
  • Greater liability to the carer who has constant availability of data;
  • Reduced face-to-face or telephone communication.

However, they urge caution to avoid over-emphasising potential harms compared to the likelihood of improved outcomes.

Innovate UK funded the study, which also included a focus group report of the Kemuri® Wellbeing Monitor. This is an IoT smart power socket that senses temperature, motion, and power used by kettles and microwaves in kitchens. Web software learns patterns of behaviour and checks for changes from normal behaviour every hour. The objective is to reduce NHS and Social Care costs by families identifying the risk of hypothermia, dehydration, malnutrition and unattended falls.

The focus group from VOICENorth were all carers of older people who had symptoms of dementia. The findings included:

  • “… an overwhelmingly positive response that the three types of information was the most appropriate to support carers to provide reassurance that all was well”;
  • “Most felt the kitchen was a place where ordinary day-to-day activities happen”;
  • “… there was unanimity that the device was user-friendly in terms of the user interface (screen, readability, and instructions)”.

The full report, “Ethics of passive wellbeing monitoring and focus group report“, is available to download.

26/08/2014

Kemuri: Funding Awarded

Filed under: Health,Social Care,Technology,Wellbeing — lenand @ 2:52 pm
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The Technology Strategy Board has conditionally awarded 60% funding for the Proof of Concept for the Kemuri Smart Power Socket.  This is the public description.

A need has been identified for a Smart Power Socket, permanently fixed to a wall that has sensors for temperature, humidity, motion and power usage. It has to send data continuously via the Internet, including during periods of power outage.

No compact and tamperproof Smart Power Socket is on the market to satisfy the need. The design is unique and capable of being developed into versions for Europe and the rest of the World.

The concept was awarded a prize to build the first demonstrator. This was built and successfully tested. This project takes the demonstrator through more stages of development to prepare for larger scale manufacture. This includes professional design of the enclosure, internal electronics and a set of new prototypes. It requires funds for IPR registration and certification for safety and radio frequency emissions.

The use case is in the kitchens of vulnerable people living alone. They must consent to sharing data with family members or carers.

The POC also includes setting up test software for data collection, predictive analytics, identity management and smartphone visualisation. The results are a prototype system that gives hourly and daily indicators of wellbeing without any active input from the older person using the kitchen.

It’s good news for the millions of older people who would prefer to live alone in their own homes with non-intrusive support from their families.

01/07/2014

Value of Predictive Analytics: Kemuri

Filed under: Health,Innovation,Social Care,Technology,Wellbeing — lenand @ 7:05 am
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A report “Challenging Innovators: Matching offerings to the needs of older adults” has a diagram to locate Kemuri in a quadrant:

Value of Predictive Analytics

Value of Predictive Analytics

Kemuri is high value and high function with predictive analysis, pattern detection and motion.  Fall detection is indirect, but better than nothing.

There’s lots more to digest in the publication by Laurie M. Orlov, Boomer Health Tech Watch

 

19/02/2014

Kemuri: Benefits First

Filed under: Health,Innovation,Social Care — lenand @ 10:53 am
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Kemuri Can Save Lives.  That bold statement was not contradicted by last night’s sell out audience at the IoT Meetup in Shoreditch.  It was the first presentation open to the public. The organiser asked for a non-techie talk, and got one – apart from the fact that everybody there would know that IoT is the “Internet of Things”.

Grannies living alone were the star turn.  As they grow older, the risk of hypothermia, dehydration and immobility increases.  After a fall or a stroke, they can lie on the floor unattended for hours or days.  In the worst cases they are discovered dead.

The first putative customer gave the benefits case.  She was taken into hospital on Sunday night.  ‘If I had installed the Kemuri kit, I would have seen that her heater was broken on the Monday before, had it mended, saved enormous distress and the saved the State the high cost of an emergency’.  He drew the chart in the slide pack.  He can have the first off the production line.

All the techie stuff was missed out, leaving time for plugging Adrian McEwen’s book, simplicity, design and teamwork.

24/01/2014

Care Bill: LAs should prepare now

Filed under: Health,Innovation,Social Care,Technology,Wellbeing — lenand @ 12:25 pm
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The Care Bill will need massive ICT change within Local Authorities (LAs) by 2016.  The Department of Health (DH) have issued, for discussion, a guidance note on social care information and technology (DH Care Bill Guidance).  Priority actions are:

  1. Roadmap: Plan with suppliers to satisfy a new charging regime by 2015.  Back office systems will need updating.  LAs will also have to provide information and advice to citizens – especially signposting citizens to care services.
  2. Self-Funders:  Consider on-line assessment for self‐funders within wider changes in information and systems.
  3. Better Care Fund:  Use the NHS Number as the primary identifier to comply with Integrated Digital Care Records Guidance.  There is capital fund open to NHS providers applying for resources to support the development of Integrated Digital Care Records, including with adult social care.  The second round will open shortly and LAs are strongly encouraged to work with NHS providers to make a compelling proposal.
  4. Open APIs:   Think about embracing open APIs when procuring, renewing or refreshing its IT systems.
  5. Technology Enablement:  Work with DH and national partners, to develop technology that drives improved outcomes, citizen experience and efficiency.

LAs should take this opportunity to consider joining forces to support a social enterprise that provides a national infrastructure with Open APIs into citizen controlled Personal Data Stores, keyed on the NHS number.  Co-production is the best opportunity in decades to provide interoperability between health and social care records, including self-funders recording expenditure against their Personal Care Budgets.  A social enterprise, such as Kemuri, could provide such an infrastructure, with suitable funding.

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.

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.

22/10/2013

Ageing: Have we any choice?

Filed under: Health,Social Care — lenand @ 9:50 am
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The UK is predicted to have almost 20 million people over the age of 65 in 2030.

UK Ageing Population Growth

UK Ageing Population Growth

The proportion of older people relative to younger people is also increasing.  People are living longer and, in general, birth rates are reducing.  We have little choice in how we grow old.  After the age of 50 the ageing process means that our mental and physical capacity decreases until death.  The economic issues are are not going to disappear and however we play with the figures, the younger economically active people are faced with funding the growing ageing population.

The most obvious impact is in health and social care, where the Government have decided to cap the the budget in 2016, thereafter the value will reduce in real terms.  To give an idea of the scale:

  • Dementia results in health care costs of £23 billion (Age UK);
  • Falls currently cost £1 billion for health and social care, rising to £2.2 billion in 2050 (AKTIVE);
  • Adult social care costs for the elderly are £8.9 billion (HSCIC):
  • Chronic disease costs the NHS about £7 for every £10 it spends on patient care (College of Medicine).

People age at different rates, and they have different needs.  Whilst some are relatively healthy, an increasing number are suffering from chronic conditions.  Health and lifestyle are closely related.  The more active prefer to live independently as long as possible, the less healthy begin to need care assistance and may have little choice other than moving into care or nursing homes.  Choice is important, but options reduce with with reducing physical and mental capacity.

What is also clear is that the statutory services are reducing funding and that self-funding is going to increase after 2016.  Many families will have no choice about funding of care in old age.

 

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