Washington health summit told of Buckinghamshire innovations
A GP from Buckinghamshire has told an audience of health experts in Washington DC how patients in his county are using an innovative scheme allowing them to take their own health readings at home and send them in to their health professionals using text messages. The scheme is a local implementation of the national Advice & Interactive Messages (AIM) for health project. One of Dr Davis's case studies told how the home health readings had helped a 55-year-old patient who had previously been consulting her GP about her blood pressure levels. Being able to regularly test herself at home with the aid of a blood pressure monitor meant she became far less anxious about her condition - leaving her spending less time focusing on her health and having fewer contacts with the practice, benefiting both her and the practice. Dr Davis is the GP Clinical Advisor working for Buckinghamshire County Council, and both Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups. He says patients from the county will benefit from the NHS England-funded trip to the conference to share knowledge about assistive technology. "The aim of the delegation to Washington DC was to share learning with Americans and bring back future possibilities from the USA," said Dr Davis. "The knowledge we gleaned from the conference will help to enhance the care we give to patients in Buckinghamshire." The group met at the end of last month at the headquarters of the Veterans Health Administration, America's largest integrated healthcare system.
Pictured: Dr Tom Davis addresses the conference in Washington DC
Advice & Interactive Messages (AIM) for health - the Florence SMS texting telehealth service: www.networks.nhs.uk/nhs-networks/aim/about-us
Patients sign up to take their own health readings, from UKAuthority.com, May 2014: http://www.ukauthority.com/tabid/64/Default.aspx?id=4722
Launch of All-Party Parliamentary Group on customer service
A group of MPs led by Philip Davies MP and Steve Reed MP have launched the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Customer Service, appointing the Institute of Customer Service t run the group's secretariat. The new group aims to raise awareness and understanding of customer service among parliamentarians and establish a dialogue with UK organisations across all sectors. Members will debate the impact of customer service on economic growth and business performance, improving the quality of public services for citizens, business performance and developing employability through customer service skills training. Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service presented the latest results from the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), the national measure of customer satisfaction published bi-annually by the Institute. The index reflects the current state of customer satisfaction in the UK across 13 sectors, including local and national public services. The July 2014 UKCSI revealed that customer satisfaction has fallen over the last year, from 77.9 (July 2013) to 76.3 (July 2014) - and is at its lowest point since 2011. This indicates that UK organisations - including public sector bodies - have not kept up with customer expectations during the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014. Steve Reed MP said: "High standards of customer service are critical in public services and private businesses. There's less money around and, as a result, more pressure to do better for less. A key way to make that happen is to focus on what customers really need and then do that." The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service managers and workers.
Institute of Customer Service: www.instituteofcustomerservice.com
Major shift for G-Cloud supplier security requirements
The Government Digital Service has said suppliers on G-Cloud will no longer need to obtain Pan Government Accreditation. The move comes as part of a new Government Security Classification Policy which came into effect on 2 April, replacing the previous Government Protective Marking Scheme. G-Cloud suppliers will now be required to self-assert their services, and buyers will become responsible for assessing and selecting the most appropriate cloud services for their security requirements. GDS has advised that it will release guidance on this new approach in the coming weeks. Despite these changes, submissions for cloud services that connect to the Public Services Network (PSN) will continue to require Pan Government Accreditation. Responding to the announcement John Godwin, head of compliance and information assurance at public sector cloud specialist Skyscape Cloud Services, said: "Many are assessing this change as being good news for suppliers - particularly SMEs - as the previous process of achieving PGA accreditation required specialist knowledge, was time consuming and often very expensive to complete... However, there is a real possibility that the new approach has the potential to confuse: public sector buyers now have to make their own decisions as to what controls will deliver the most appropriate protection for their data, and they are likely to find this process of assessing, comparing and selecting from multiple suppliers more difficult in the absence of a single trusted, credible and rigorous assessment system. Perhaps most concerning of all is the risk that suppliers may be able to make unsubstantiated claims (whether inadvertently or intentionally) regarding the level of assurance they are able to deliver." Another leading G-Cloud supplier, hosting and server specialist Memset, has welcomed the recent simplification of official security classifications. The company's managing director Kate Craig-Wood, said:"The old impact levels system was hugely complex and poorly understood, which created a significant barrier to entry for many companies, especially SMEs. This simplification will greatly open up the public services ICT market... It is important that SMEs can assess the requirements rather than being scared off by fear, uncertainty and unnecessary complexity. I also hope that they will work with Industry in developing the new standards, which I expect are quite "skeletal" at this stage. For example, do we need central accreditation at all? Banks have been managing ultra-high InfoSec for years without a central accreditor, instead relying on approaches including robust penetration testing to deliver provable security."
G-Cloud Security Update: https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2014/07/21/security-update-from-g-cloud/
Memset Government Hosting: https://www.memset.com/gov/