Carebnb and the law of unintended consequences

Carebnb and the law of unintended consequences

Along with the title: “NHS may rent spare rooms to ease bed crisis” The Guardian ran a story this week, on what it describes as an Airbnb style scheme designed to help alleviate pressure in the NHS, by enabling patients ready to be discharged from hospital to recuperate in a private home. The story, which was first featured in the Health Service Journal, was also covered by Roy Lilley in his regular blog where he raises a host of concerns about CareRooms including safeguarding, exploitation, safety, training and regulation. However, beyond the obvious concerns, he asks the more fundamental and interesting question: “The real issue is not if CareRooms can be made to work safely.  The real issue is why are we even contemplating this? … Austerity is the mother of innovation and here is an innovative solution driven by the mother of all austerity.” On its website, CareRooms offers hosts £50 per room per night, and the promise of up to £1000 a month, for providing a bedroom and three supplied microwave meals for a discharged patient. The website incorporates pictures of hotel style immaculate bedrooms along with a reassuring narrative: “We are working with the local health and care community to provide a safe, comfortable place for people to recuperate from hospital.” Co-founded by a doctor, CareRooms was conceived out of real struggles with shortages in social care, and makes a compelling case to solve what is a well-reported strain on the NHS. It has the support of the NHS clinical entrepreneur programme and I have no doubt it is positively intended. So if the concerns raised...
Towards a manifesto for digital health #socialjustice

Towards a manifesto for digital health #socialjustice

What would a manifesto for digital technologies grounded in social justice look like? In other words, the development of digital technologies in health and care that enable an equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within society and which balance the interests of individuals, communities and institutions. After all the NHS is a collective endeavour – each of us contributing so that we all have access to health and care free at the point of demand. A few weeks ago I co-facilitated the first of mHabitat’s three Digital Humanities in Health and Care seminars along with Dr Helen Thornham from the School of Media and Communications at the University of Leeds. Along with a group of practitioners, technologists and academics, we considered the role of ethics and justice in respect of the inexorable rise of digital technologies in health and care. Mark Brown, one of our speakers, talked about the contested notion of social good in sphere of digital health: “Delivering public services is a political act. The shape of public services and how they feel are defined by political and historical realities. The decision of who pays tax, what taxes they pay, upon whom those taxes are spent and who it is that does the work is political. The ‘social good’ is not an uncontested idea. The culture of Silicon Valley is increasing looking, in the American phraseology, like a dumpster fire. Libertarian ideas run riot, with the very ideas that our public services in the UK are founded upon are seen as a deadly infringement of the rights of the individual to choice. Low tax, low regulation...
Digital leadership – kill or cure?

Digital leadership – kill or cure?

Is there such a thing as digital leadership? This article for the Harvard Business Review makes the case for it and this online course says it will teach you the requisite skills. But is there anything qualitatively different to being a leader and to being a digital leader? This question has been on my mind recently: firstly because I was recently invited by Mike Chitty and James Freed to speak on this topic at their ‘kill digital’ session at eHealth Week in which they put the notion of digital leadership under the spotlight and gave it a good kicking about; secondly because I’m co-delivering an mHabitat learning set for a group of leaders who are responsible for transforming care through digital technologies in eight of the new models of care vanguards. What are the qualities required of NHS and social care leaders who are transforming services enabled by digital? Here is what our learning set participants identified: Enthusiasm– the ability to enthuse and engage others Tenacity – keeping on when others might give up and remaining focused on the task Curiosity – being open minded and keen to find novel ways to improve services Reflective – learning from mistakes and finding new ways to move forward Credible – the ability to gather information, to be well informed and to make the case Collaborative – being willing to collaborate to get things done Having courage – trying new things and take calculated risks Pragmatic – starting small and adapting to new circumstances. None of the above qualities are specific to digital technologies but all relate to the ability to work...
#PdDigital15 – next steps in serendipity

#PdDigital15 – next steps in serendipity

Towards the end of 2014 a question start niggling, and then an idea started brewing, and then that idea emerged into a fully formed thing (well an event to be precise) in May. You can find out more about #PdDigital15 and where it all started here. There wasn’t a grand plan for #PdDigital15 and its meandering journey has been informed as much by serendipity as by design. At the core of this path has been the central question: How can we unleash people driven digital health and wellbeing? It was this question that framed #PdDigital15 the event and it is also at the heart of the white paper that Michael Seres and I launched at a breakfast session at the King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress today. You can find my Prezi presentation here. The central point Michael and I endeavoured to convey is the message that burst out of #PdDigital15 conversations loud and clear – there is a groundswell of people who want to influence, collaborate, inform and codesign digital in health and care; there is need to balance regulation with support for creativity and ground up innovation; the system needs to recognise, support and enable this to happen but not dominate or own it; tensions between the disruptive potential of people led digital and the more conservative tendencies of services need to acknowledged and power shared. You can find the white paper and summary version here. We are taking our learning on tour during the rest of this year and if you’d like it to drop in to your event then do get in...
Should social care staff friend people they support on Facebook?

Should social care staff friend people they support on Facebook?

Should social care staff ever friend people they support on Facebook? According to this great paper by Peter Bates, Sam Smith and Robert Nisbet, the default view of social care staff and organisations is a resounding no. This stance is echoed in the proliferation of social media guidelines for health care practitioners that you can find curated here. The authors make a case for a more nuanced response to this question as explored through the lens of support for learning disabled people. They argue that the multi-faceted nature of people’s lives resists the reductive notion of linear personal/professional boundaries implicit within social media guidelines. I have previously blogged about the positive affordances of boundary violation between the personal and professional on online social networking sites.  The authors point to the value of digital inclusion and potential of social media for accessing information and peer support. These ideas are beautifully captured in the context of mental health in a guest post by @positivitysmile. I concur with the authors’ stance that a thoughtful approach to social media is required for health as well as social care practitioners. Use and ethics of social media are not routinely incorporated within practitioner training and in my view this should be integrated throughout the curriculum rather than either ignored or sidelined as a stand-alone session or module. As our online and offline lives become ever more intertwined, health and social care staff will benefit from a sharpened understanding of online social networking both for themselves and people they support. Facebook is not a neutral space I would like to add a few additional thoughts to those...