The NHS is moving into the Digital Age with connected health apps and services. But is it accessible to all?
Bitjam has been working with Klaudia Suchowiak, a blind person studying her third year at Keele University. Klaudia has dedicated her time through an internship to reflect on her experience of digital health services, highlighting the challenges of accessing public services faced by visually impaired people.
Here at Bitjam we like to be challenged. Klaudia’s valuable work has helped us to better understand how our design principles and understanding can and will have a positive impact on end users.
You can access the 2nd article in the series, free via the link below, all we ask is you pay back with a Tweet or LinkedIn post saying thank you.
We want to thank Klaudia for her all her amazing work with Bitjam, also Keele University for creating this opportunity plus Santander for their involvement in setting up the programme that has enabled this to happen.
The views in this article are personal to the author and reflect their experience, without bias from Bitjam Limited.
Interested in healthcare or education innovation? Call or get in touch with the Midlands-based Bitjam team, for all your software research and development needs.
2018 has opened lots of opportunity for us to focus on more data and IoT projects recently, including Staffordshire-based environmental measurement and control company Meaco.
“(Meaco provide) a range of environmental monitoring and control equipment to include data loggers, handheld devices, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and controllers”.
They specialise in providing products and services for high profile national treasures including museums, industrial archives, heritage sites and financial institutions.
Bitjam are to provide a modern solution to replace the current, soon-to-be outmoded hardware and provide effective and highly secure software. To discover more about the project, we’re using our R&D cycle to decipher the requirements, to accurately develop and test hardware and to build appropriate software with scalability in mind.
Currently we’re in the process of getting two units working in the field trial. This has involved the setup of Raspberry Pi’s with software and security configuration, and installing in two different real-situation environments such as a museum or bank.
The project is part of a longer process of working in partnership with Meaco to replace existing software to more modernised and scalable cloud-based technology.
The technology will revolutionise the way that Meaco provide high profile partner services, who deliver a mostly public sector service themselves. This boost of their services has a social benefit so it’s an appealing project to us, as it’s our preference to work in partnership with companies who have a similarly social vision.
We are working in partnership with Meaco director and system creator Michael Hall to innovate the entire system, which has given us a very hands-on experience (something we very much prefer to do at bitjam!). Together we’re working through the challenges of innovating the systems in such a way that business as usual is not affected and that clients are not disrupted during the transition.
If you have an IoT project with a social or public sector benefit and need a partner to develop both hardware and/or software, get in touch! You can drop us an email for a chat at [email protected]
Also, if you have requirements for an environmental monitoring system, we can highly recommend Meaco.
Contact Michael at [email protected]
Over the past decade we have seen an exponential growth in technology from the introduction of wireless internet, to smartphones, to nanotechnology. One particularly interesting concept is the channel shift that we are seeing in the ways in which we communicate.
What used to be 1:1 interaction has now led to the use of social media where clients are now able to reach out to businesses and social services at a click of a button. However, Social media is still too much like a broadcast channel where only simplistic interaction take place, with deeper interaction required in sectors such as health and social care. Social media may not be the prime channel to reach out to t
hese services as its publicity and lack of security are not ideal.
Therefore as businesses try to keep up with the advancement of technology, it is important that they do more with less. This is where we need to explore tech like chatbots (e.g. Healthbot’s, Edubot’s) to assist our development into the future.
What Is A Chatbot?
Chatbots are computer programmes that imitate human conversation through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. They range on a spectrum with simplistic bots who only recognise and respond to keywords found in a huge database, to those that incorporate the use of sophisticated Natural Language Processing systems who are very much indistinguishable from humans.
Chatbots Are Becoming More Commonplace
- ‘DoNotPay’- A robot lawyer that offers free legal aid to refugees seeking asylum in USA and Canada, helping them to fill out immigrant applications and helping people to apply for asylum support in the UK. This benefits people who might find it challenging to get started and empowers legal aid organisations by assisting with large numbers of clients.
- Xiaoice – A chinese chatbot built by microsoft that speaks to over 20 million people, serving as a ‘friend’. Many see her as a friend, just as they would a real human. The conversations with Xiaoice are so human-like, it creates a new goal for artificial intelligence to make people happier.
- Poncho – A Weather Forecaster- A funny and witty bot, capable of sending personalised weather and astrological predictions.
Challenges of Chatbots in Healthcare
Chatbots in healthcare may have to make clinical decisions, requiring stringent measures to maintain safety as it would become classified as a clinical device. For example, a healthcare chatbot may suggest when and how much medication to take. This requires professional advice from a doctor and if given incorrectly by a bot, could pose damage to patients. This then becomes a “human error” issue which someone would have to be responsible for.
There are also issues related to the level of trust between bots and patients as their interaction lacks the physicality and the connection created when patients meet 1:1 with their doctors. Therefore, patients may not feel as content or confident with the advice provided to them.
Lastly, should chatbots become successful and common practice in the medical profession, they could replace jobs such as nurses. Human resource could be replaced by artificial intelligence.
Future of Chatbots
As technology continues to advance, so will the intelligence of our chatbots; they will be used more frequently in a larger range of services to the point where in 2020, it is predicted that 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Modern chatbots will be able to sustain emotional and in-depth conversations with humans in the same way that humans interact with each other, creating personal connections and serving as practical assistants. Chatbots could become our doctors, accountants, and maybe even our personal stylists and friends.
Bitjam is researching and developing chatbots both in healthcare and education with an early version currently being tested in a healthcare setting. We have developed an early version that uses end-to-end encryption with powerful software behind the bot that allows clinicians to programme the logic required for patients to interact and manage their health. However the key focus here is to allow clinicians to programme the chatbots rather than build an artificial intelligence system to make key clinical decisions.