Sep 24, 2020

Technology is set to revolutionise care, report says

social care
elderly people
assistive technologies
Leila Hawkins
3 min
Technology is set to revolutionise care, report says
The health and social care sectors face rapid change in the post-COVID ‘new normal...

A new report from Barclays Corporate Banking states that technology will transform the health and social care sectors, adding that care homes need to adapt and evolve to make sure they're not left behind. 

The report, titled 'Stepping out of the shadows: Social care prepares for a digital future', found that in the period between 2018 and 2019, more than 250 care homes went out of business, although the number of requests for social care funding went up 5.7%. Additionally the research noted that the UK population is ageing, and by 2043 it's estimated that the numberof people aged over 65 will increase by 43%. 

In addition to this, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed an additional strain on the healthcare sector and magnified existing pressures.

Despite these challenges, the Barclays report indicates that the pandemic presents an opportunity for systemic transformation in healthcare. The report suggests that The Internet of Things, for example, could create greater synergy between systems by reducing the issues that cause inefficiency and increase costs.

Covid-19 has significantly increased interest in digital communications and technology, with four out of five people saying that technology has been a vital support during the lockdown period. The number of over-70s required to self-isolate and use technology to order essential items like groceries, manage their banking, and communicate with family and friends increased significantly in this period. This means the social care population of the future will be far more digitally-savvy than previous ones. 

Barclays' report says that this familiarity with technology will help support the shift from healthcare being something patients access when they’re sick, to something that can support healthy lifestyles and mental and physical wellness. In a care home setting, this more proactive approach can alert staff before problems become serious, and for those living independently it can provide reassurance that their wellbeing is being closely monitored.

The roll-out of new assistive technologies like wearable sensors, vital sign monitors and stress level trackers can aid greater independence and improve the experience of care at home or in residential settings, the study says. Additionally, a switch to digital by healthcare providers will also boost connectivity within individual and care homes, allowing for more responsive, data-driven development of care.

"The sector is waking up to the potential that technology offers to create better, more effective and efficient care for residents/users and deliver real business benefits for providers" Steve Fergus, Head of Healthcare for Barclays Corporate Banking said.  

“Sharing information about the potential of technology and these opportunities with providers, individuals and local authorities, is an important part of the UK social care debate. Connecting our clients with what is possible in the world of social care can help initiate conversations and deliver real change.”

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Jun 24, 2021

Data de-identification - why it matters in healthcare

3 min
Riddhiman Das, co-founder and CEO of data privacy startup TripleBlind tells us why data de-identification is important in the healthcare sector

Large amounts of healthcare data is generated yet goes unused due to privacy concerns. To address this, data privacy firm TripleBlind has created Blind De-identification, a new approach that allows healthcare organisations to use patient data while eliminating the possibility of the user learning anything about the patient’s identity. 

We asked Riddhiman Das, co-founder and CEO to tell us more about data de-identification. 

Why is data de-identification important in healthcare? 
Blind De-identification allows every attribute of any given dataset to be used, even at an individual level, while being compliant to privacy laws, rules, and regulations by default.

Governments around the world are adopting global data privacy and residency laws like GDPR, which prohibit citizens’ personally identifiable information data from leaving the borders of the country. While great for data protection, data residency laws result in global silos of inaccessible data. TripleBlind allows computations to be done on enterprise-wise global data, while enforcing data residency regulations. 

In the US, HIPAA compliance has relied on what is called the Safe Harbor method, which requires removing 18 types of personal patient identifiers like names, email addresses, and medical record numbers. The Safe Harbor method can be too restrictive with the data or can leave too many indirect identifiers, which puts the patient data security at risk. Getting de-identification wrong could make an organisation liable for a costly mistake.

What does TripleBlind's solution do? 
With TripleBlind, data is legally de-identified in real time with practically 0% probability of re-identification. Our solution allows analytics on data containing personally identifiable information and protected health information  with zero possibility of re-identifying an individual from the dataset. This allows healthcare organisations to access more meaningful data, creating more accurate and less biased results.

For example, a healthcare drug researcher in a rural, predominantly white area, would only have patient data that would reflect their local population. With TripleBlind’s de-identification, they could more easily leverage third-party data from another healthcare facility in a more diverse region, creating a more complete data set that more accurately reflects the larger population. This has the possibility to create more accurate diagnoses and better drug results for more diverse populations.

How can healthcare organisations use this in practice? 
TripleBlind is blind to all data and algorithms. That means we never take possession of customer data. We only route traffic between entities, enforce permissions, and provide audit trails. The enterprise’s data remains under their control. TripleBlind does not host, copy or control their data, algorithms or other information assets, ever. 

We facilitate a connection to an encrypted version of their information assets. Our technology allows the algorithms and data to interact in an encrypted space that only exists for the duration of the operation. Organisations use their existing infrastructure, so it’s not hardware dependent.

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