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.







Digital first and adult social care hack day

This Tuesday a few of us got together at The Fusebox to focus on adult social care.

A big thank you to Wired Sussex for donating the room at such short notice and being such excellent hosts.

whitebioard showing abstract doodlesWe had a very productive day working on different ways to access and share data across council systems.

We also looked at what useful information is available in public APIs. APIs are a type of technology that allow different systems to share information. For example, both the Care Quality Commission and the Food Standards Agency provide APIs that give about the adult social care providers we use.

I’ll be writing more on this blog about what we learnt and the next steps.

You can find out more about what goes on at The Fusebox on their tumblr

User research with adult social care

Hello, my name is Ivanka and I do user research.

User research gives a team the understanding it needs to design a good user experience. It also enables us to test any service and evaluate how well it meets its users’ needs.


I’ve just joined the digital first team at Brighton & Hove City Council. The first project I am going to focus on is with adult social care.

The council works with many different adult social care providers in the city. We pay them to provide care and support services to our citizens. We’re responsible for the safety and quality of that care. We ask providers to give us data to help us monitor and evaluate their service.

My job will be to understand the user needs of the people who provide the adult social care and the user needs of council staff who work with them. Those user needs will be used to develop and evaluate the tools that are used.

If your organisation provides adult social care in the city, you’ll almost certainly be hearing from me and, if you don’t, please feel free to get in touch.