Earlier this year, Breaking Barriers Innovations (BBI) and Agilisys collaborated on a roundtable titled ‘Pathways, Places and Priorities’.
This discussion centred on how healthcare organisations, local authorities and the wider public sector can work together to best help citizens through an intelligent, holistic approach that features early intervention and the adoption of latest technology solutions.
In the second part of our series on this topic, GovTech Leaders spoke to Andrew Mindenhall, CEO of Agilisys, to hear his thoughts on place-based initiatives and the role technology can play in delivering a more joined-up, citizen-led approach to service delivery.
What does the Pathways, Places, Priorities activity mean for Agilisys?
For the last 20 years we’ve worked across the public sector and we’ve absolutely seen the necessity for the different government departments, whether it be the local authority, NHS, CCGs, housing organisations etc, to ‘join up’ thinking when it comes to looking citizens or customers. Being able to join up service provision and, more importantly, to have access to shared data, so that we can focus more on prevention, rather than having to respond to situations, has to be the right thing across a number of different fronts.
Firstly, from a cost perspective, it’s cheaper to focus on prevention and, from an individual’s perspective, if you can prevent something happening or prevent a difficulty occurring then it has to be better.”
The positive news is that we’ve had, for a number of years, proven technology to do this – technology that can really enable prevention. So, it’s now more about how you get the different organisations working together. As I said at the roundtable, it’s not the fact that the technology needs to develop. The challenge is getting people to use it and changing the way people work. And to be bold and do things in a very different way, which in so many cases is all about ensuring people – at multiple stakeholder levels – aren’t afraid to use it.
How can the wider public sector achieve that?
I’m not saying that this isn’t done to some extent already, but I think a good place to start is to run some bold pilots. What you don’t do is spend time and money writing a report and doing a study on how you can improve things and what you should do. This is all about getting on with a project, building a prototype, running a pilot, involving end-users and getting some positive results. Then you can roll it out to lots of those different organisations that you need to be working with.
I have observed over the years that sovereignty can be a blocker, yet local authorities should look to break down these barriers and work more closely together. Building open, trusting relationships across a place can lay the foundation for true citizen-centric innovation. An example where local authorities have worked well together and have brought fruitful outcomes are Bolton & Wigan Councils.
Agilisys is the preferred bidder for a digital transformation programme with the States of Guernsey. The opportunity here is that the States of Guernsey has a President and a chief executive that are responsible for all public services on the island. So, we’re going to be working with them as they go through their public service reform, to join up across the organisation. We’re going to pioneer and take forward new ways of working, implement some new technologies and, in a year or two’s time, be able to prove how you can join up some of these services using technology.
What are the technologies and the solutions that can really drive change?
Let’s start with some examples. One would be ‘med tech’ innovation enabling people to ‘check and test’ themselves in a whole manner of different ways, rather than having to go to a GP practice on a regular basis or someone having to come out to visit but somebody able to do whatever tests are ‘needed’, has obvious benefits, not least the ability to pick up any issues before they become major issues.
Another would be around the ability to keep older people in their home. It’s interesting that there are a lot of organisations that create a lot of kit using new technologies, but I think the take-up rate is relatively small. I think part of the reason for this is that nobody’s quite sure where the funding should come from. Local authorities don’t necessarily see it as their responsibility, the NHS don’t see it as their responsibility, so it sort of falls between a multitude of different organisations. Somebody needs to be bold and just state where the funding needs to come from, because if you invest in the kit, the savings will be significant.
A final example is around artificial intelligence and how the data you can pull out of various different systems can be used, as mentioned earlier, in a more preventative way. If you think about the amount of data that’s out there at the moment, the amount of data that’s collected or could be collected, there are massive opportunities to make the whole process more efficient and provide a much, much better service to those people who need it.
How does Agilisys as digital partner to Breaking Barriers Innovations, move this forward and make the discussions that have been happening a reality?
We’ve got to get stakeholders that want to make a difference and we’ve got to get stakeholders that are bold enough to do things in a radically different way and absolutely not talk about it, but implement it. Sadly, there’s nothing new in what I’m saying as there are too many situations where reports and studies are done and then nothing happens.
If bold steps are taken to run pilots we can then analyse the results and look to roll it out. The challenge whenever you’re dealing with public services is the fear of something going wrong or not working out as planned. I think we need to be bold and we need to appreciate that things won’t always be perfect first time, but unless you try these new things and do things in different ways, you won’t make progress and you’ll never get anywhere.
Don’t miss the part one of the series ‘Driving change through place-based partnerships’ where GovTech Leaders spoke to Nic Werran, Managing Director of DragonGate and Partnerships Director at Breaking Barriers Innovations, to find out how citizens should be more involved in their health and care, how organisations can work better together to help highlight those most at risk and why success needs a joined-up approach.