Curtis-James Marshall, Senior Public Affairs and Media Officer, Future Care Capital

Public opinion across the country has become increasingly challenging to predict. There has been a clear culture shift – old brand, political and socio-economic loyalties are changing. This became increasingly apparent during the European Union referendum campaign and across the Atlantic with the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency.

If we want to better understand what the public think and need, then we must shake up traditional ways of reaching different groups of people and embrace new methods of interaction. Crowdsourcing is the kind of game changer, if used effectively, that can be a powerful tool to accurately capture public opinion.

At Future Care Capital, we are keen to understand grassroots opinion and a range of issues through Crowdsourcing – that is, amassing insight from professionals and the general public via the internet.

There are several real-world examples where governments have taken the initiative to almost step aside in the decision-making process, utilise big data and implement the power of crowdsourcing.

Iceland recently attempted to redraft its constitution by creating a forum made up of a ‘demographically representative mini public’, using the power of social media in order to open up the process and gather feedback.

Mexico City’s municipal authority – hot on the heels of Iceland – lined up a digital tool to promote public participation and crowdsource a new constitution, largely due to a lengthy struggle that gained momentum to make up for, what the population felt was ‘incompetence of both federal and local government’.

Singapore has shown that it doesn’t always have to be such high-level, fundamental change that is needed – it can just be about how you want to travel. By harnessing big data and digital disruption to tackle the everyday commonplace problems, transport in the city-state has been rerouted according to data amassed from commuters’ smart cards. The plan is to build and maintain a network based on demand as opposed to pre-planned timetabling.

The aim, then, is to generate ‘collective intelligence’.

How could this benefit health and care in England?

With the recent rise of modern technology connected to the internet, we are now heavily reliant on our smart phone and other wearable devices to help us navigate day-to-day life. These devices provide us with our personal information in real time and terms such as ‘data privacy’, ‘cyber security’ and ‘online surveillance’ are now part of the everyday lexicon and have become things to be aware of whilst going about our daily business.

In November 2016, KPMG found that approximately 55% of consumers surveyed globally said they had decided against buying something online due to privacy concerns. The report also revealed that less than 10% of consumers felt they had control over the way organisations handle and use their personal data. Respondents in most countries said that privacy is more important than the potential convenience gained from sharing personal data. [1]

This, however, is only one side of the coin…

In terms of health and care, data has the potential to improve outcomes for people across the country when shared with and used by others appropriately. Sharing data can help people keep fit, manage pre-existing conditions, help people look after family and friends and inform research into diseases to aid the development of new treatments. Data also enables health and care professionals to design and provide services based upon a robust evidence base. This means that policy makers responsible for health and care in government can be more responsive to public need.

At Future Care Capital, we are keen to explore new approaches to health and care data management that are capable of addressing people’s concerns about privacy, security and the exploitation of data for financial gain, whilst maximising the scope for it to serve the ‘greater good’. We would therefore like to understand your attitudes toward the sharing and third party use of health and care data in more depth. We have launched brief questionnaires about Health and Care Data Management and Our Vision for 2030 on our new crowdsourcing platform. By sharing your views on these matters, we can work together to achieve change.

Our organisation believes that new ideas for health and care services would benefit from greater public involvement – everyone’s voice should be heard when designing the future of such important services.

Crowdsourcing has the potential to drive innovation and exciting new ideas that will shape the health and care services of tomorrow. The attraction of disruptive methods of engagement is growing all the time – do not be left behind.

References

[1] Companies that fail to see privacy as a business priority risk crossing the ‘creepy line’, KPMG (7th November 2016)