Managing the Consumer Data Deluge

Joe Marion at Healthcare Informatics: “By now, everyone is aware of Apple’s recent announcement of an ECG capability on its latest watch.  It joins an expanding list of portable or in-home devices for monitoring cardiac and other functions.  The Apple device takes advantage of an established ECG device from AliveCor, which had previously introduced the CardiaMobile ECG capture device for Android and iOS devices.  More sophisticated monitoring devices such as implantable devices can monitor heart function in heart failure cases.

Many facilities are implementing video-conferencing type capabilities for patient consultation for non-life-threatening issues.  These might include the capture of information such as a “selfie” of a rash that is uploaded to the physician for assessment.

Given that many of these devices are designed to collect diagnostic data outside of the primary care facility, there is a growing tsunami in terms of the amount of diagnostic data that will need to be managed.  Since most of this data is created outside of the primary care facility, there are several questions that need to be addressed.

Who owns the data? Let’s take the case of ECG data captured from an Apple or AliveCor device.  The data is being acquired by the user, and it is initially stored on the watch or phone device, and may utilize some initial diagnosis application.  The whole purpose of capturing this data is to monitor cardiac function, particularly fibrillation, and to share it with a medical professional.  In the case of these devices the data can be optionally uploaded to an AliveCor cloud application for storage.  Thus, the assumption would be that the patient is the “owner” of the data.  But what if it is necessary to transmit this data to a professional such as a cardiologist?  Is it then the responsibility of the receiving entity to store and manage the data?  Or, is it assumed that the patient is responsible for maintaining the data?

Once data is brought into a provider organization for diagnostic purposes, it seems reasonable that the facility would be responsible for maintaining that data, just as they do today for radiographic studies that are taken.  If, for example a cardiologist dictates a report on ECG results, the results most likely end up in the EHR, but what becomes of the diagnostic data?

Who is responsible for maintaining the data? As stated above, if the acquired data results in a report of some type, the report most likely becomes the legal document in the EHR, but for legal purposes, many facilities feel the need to store the original diagnostic data for some period of time….

Who is the originator of the data collection? The informed patient may wish to acquire diagnostic data, such as ECG or blood pressure information, but are they prepared to manage that data?  If they are concerned about episodes of atrial fibrillation, then there may be an incentive to acquire and manage such data.

Conversely, many in-home devices are initiated by care providers, such as remote monitoring of heart failure.  In these instances, the acquisition devices are most likely provided to the patient for the physician’s benefit.  Therefore, the onus is on the provider to manage the acquired data, and it would become the facility’s responsibility for managing data storage.

Another question is how valuable is such data to the management of the patient?  For devices such as the Apple watch ECG capability, is it important to the physician to have access to that data over the long term?…(More)”.

What is the true value of data? New series on the return on investment of data interventions

Case studies prepared by Jessica Espey and Hayden Dahmm for  SDSN TReNDS: “But what is the ROI of investing in data for altruistic means–e.g., for sustainable development?

Today, we are launching a series of case studies to answer this question in collaboration with the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data. The ten examples we will profile range from earth observation data gathered via satellites to investments in national statistics systems, with costs from just a few hundred thousand dollars (US) per year to millions over decades.

The series includes efforts to revamp existing statistical systems. It also supports the growing movement to invest in less traditional approaches to data collection and analysis beyond statistical systems–such as through private sector data sources or emerging technologies enabled by the growth of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Some highlights from the first five case studies–available now:

An SMS-based system called mTRAC, implemented in Uganda, has supported significant improvements in the country’s health system–including halving of response time to disease outbreaks and reducing medication stock-outs, the latter of which resulted in fewer malaria-related deaths.

NASA’s and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat program–satellites that provide imagery known as earth observation data–is enabling discoveries and interventions across the science and health sectors, and provided an estimated worldwide economic benefit as high as US$2.19 billion as of 2011.

BudgIT, a civil society organization making budget data in Nigeria more accessible to citizens through machine-readable PDFs and complementary online/offline campaigns, is empowering citizens to partake in the federal budget process.

International nonprofit BRAC is ensuring mothers and infants in the slums of Bangladesh are not left behind through a data-informed intervention combining social mapping, local censuses, and real-time data sharing. BRAC estimates that from 2008 to 2017, 1,087 maternal deaths were averted out of the 2,476 deaths that would have been expected based on national statistics.

Atlantic City police are developing new approaches to their patrolling, community engagement, and other activities through risk modeling based on crime and other data, resulting in reductions in homicides and shooting injuries (26 percent) and robberies (37 percent) in just the first year of implementation….(More)”.

Ctrl Alt Delete: How Politics and the Media Crashed Our Democracy

Book by Tom Baldwin: We all know something has gone wrong: people hate politics, loathe the media and are now scared of each other too. Journalist and one-time senior political advisor Tom Baldwin tells the riveting–often terrifying–story of how a tidal wave of information overwhelmed democracy’s sandcastle defenses against extremism and falsehood.

Ctrl Alt Delete exposes the struggle for control between a rapacious 24-hour media and terrified politicians that has loosened those leaders’ grip on truth as the internet rips the ground out from under them. It explains how dependency on data, algorithms and digital technology brought about the rise of the Alt Right, the Alt Left and a triumphant army of trolls driving people apart. And it warns of the rise of those threatening to delete what remains of democracy: resurgent populists in Westminster, the White House and the Kremlin, but also–just as often–liberals fearful of mob rule.

This is an explosive, brutally honest and sometimes funny account of what we all got wrong, and how to put it right again. It will change the way you look at the world–and especially the everyday technology that crashed our democracy….(More)”.

The secret data collected by dockless bikes is helping cities map your movement

Lime is able to collect this information because its bikes, like all those in dockless bike-share programs, are built to operate without fixed stations or corrals. …In the 18 months or so since dockless bike-share arrived in the US, the service has spread to at least 88 American cities. (On the provider side, at least 10 companies have jumped into the business; Lime is one of the largest.) Some of those cities now have more than a year of data related to the programs, and they’ve started gleaning insights and catering to the increased number of cyclists on their streets.

South Bend is one of those leaders. It asked Lime to share data when operations kicked off in June 2017. At first, Lime provided the information in spreadsheets, but in early 2018 the startup launched a browser-based dashboard where cities could see aggregate statistics for their residents, such as how many of them rented bikes, how many trips they took, and how far and long they rode. Lime also added heat maps that reveal where most rides occur within a city and a tool for downloading data that shows individual trips without identifying the riders. Corcoran can glance at his dashboard and see, for example, that people in South Bend have taken 340,000 rides, traveled 158,000 miles, and spent more than 7 million minutes on Lime bikes since the company started service. He can also see there are 700 Lime bikes active in the city, down from an all-time high of 1,200 during the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 football season….(More)”.

Senators introduce the ‘Artificial Intelligence in Government Act’

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier at FedScoop: “A cadre of senators is looking to prompt the federal government to be a bit more proactive in utilizing artificial intelligence technologies.

To this end, the bipartisan group including Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., introduced the Artificial Intelligence in Government Acton Wednesday. Per a news release, the bill would seek to “improve the use of AI across the federal government by providing resources and directing federal agencies to include AI in data-related planning.”

The bill aims to do a number of things, including establishing an AI in government advisory board, directing the White House Office of Management and Budget to look into AI as part of the federal data strategy, getting the Office of Personnel Management to look at what kinds of employee skills are necessary for AI competence in government and expanding “an office” at the General Services Administration that will provide expertise, do research and “promote U.S. competitiveness.”

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to benefit society in ways we cannot imagine today,” Harris said in a statement. “We already see its immense value in applications as diverse as diagnosing cancer to routing vehicles. The AI in Government Act gives the federal government the tools and resources it needs to build its expertise and in partnership with industry and academia. The bill will help develop the policies to ensure that society reaps the benefits of these emerging technologies, while protecting people from potential risks, such as biases in AI.”

The proposed legislation is supported by a bunch of companies and advocacy groups in the tech space including BSA, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Intel, the Internet Association, the Lincoln Network, Microsoft, the Niskanen Center, and the R Street Institute.

The senators are hardly alone in their conviction that AI will be a powerful tool for government. At a summit in May, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy created a Select Committee on artificial intelligence, comprised of senior research and development officials from across the government….(More)”.

Direct Democracy and Political Engagement of the Marginalized

Dissertation by Jeong Hyun Kim: “…examines direct democracy’s implications for political equality by focusing on how it influences and modifies political attitudes and behaviors of marginalized groups. Using cases and data from Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, I provide a comprehensive, global examination of how direct democratic institutions affect political participation, especially of political minority or marginalized groups.

In the first paper, I examine whether the practice of direct democracy supports women’s political participation. I theorize that the use of direct democracy enhances women’s sense of political efficacy, thereby promoting their participation in the political process. I test this argument by leveraging a quasi-experiment in Sweden from 1921 to 1944, wherein the use of direct democratic institutions was determined by a population threshold. Findings from a regression discontinuity analysis lend strong support for the positive effect of direct democracy on women’s political participation. Using web documents of minutes from direct democratic meetings, I further show that women’s participation in direct democracy is positively associated with their subsequent participation in parliamentary elections.

The second paper expands on the first paper by examining an individual-level mechanism linking experience with direct democracy and feelings of political efficacy. Using panel survey data from Switzerland, I examine the relationship between individuals’ exposure to direct democracy and the gender gap in political efficacy. I find that direct democracy increases women’s sense of political efficacy, while it has no significant effect on men. This finding confirms that the opportunity for direct legislation leads women to feel more efficacious in politics, suggesting its further implications for the gender gap in political engagement.

In the third and final paper, I examine how direct democratic votes targeting ethnic minorities influence political mobilization of minority groups. I theorize that targeted popular votes intensify the general public’s hostility towards minority groups, thereby enhancing group members’ perceptions of being stigmatized. Consequently, this creates a greater incentive for minorities to actively engage in politics. Using survey data from the United States, combined with information about state-level direct democracy, I find that direct democratic votes targeting the rights of immigrants lead to greater political activism among ethnic minorities with immigrant background. These studies contribute to the extant study of women and minority politics by illuminating new mechanisms underlying mobilization of women and minorities and clarifying the causal effect of the type of government on political equality….(More)”.

Revisiting the governance of privacy: Contemporary policy instruments in global perspective

Colin J. Bennett and Charles D. Raab at Regulation & Governance: “The repertoire of policy instruments within a particular policy sector varies by jurisdiction; some “tools of government” are associated with particular administrative and regulatory traditions and political cultures. It is less clear how the instruments associated with a particular policy sector may change over time, as economic, social, and technological conditions evolve.

In the early 2000s, we surveyed and analyzed the global repertoire of policy instruments deployed to protect personal data. In this article, we explore how those instruments have changed as a result of 15 years of social, economic and technological transformations, during which the issue has assumed a far higher global profile, as one of the central policy questions associated with modern networked communications.

We review the contemporary range of transnational, regulatory, self‐regulatory, and technical instruments according to the same framework, and conclude that the types of policy instrument have remained relatively stable, even though they are now deployed on a global scale.

While the labels remain the same, however, the conceptual foundations for their legitimation and justification are shifting as greater emphases on accountability, risk, ethics, and the social/political value of privacy have gained purchase. Our analysis demonstrates both continuity and change within the governance of privacy, and displays how we would have tackled the same research project today.

As a broader case study of regulation, it highlights the importance of going beyond technical and instrumental labels. Change or stability of policy instruments does not take place in isolation from the wider conceptualizations that shape their meaning, purpose, and effect…(More)”.

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech

Book by Jamie Susskind: “Future Politics confronts one of the most important questions of our time: how will digital technology transform politics and society? The great political debate of the last century was about how much of our collective life should be determined by the state and what should be left to the market and civil society. In the future, the question will be how far our lives should be directed and controlled by powerful digital systems — and on what terms?

Jamie Susskind argues that rapid and relentless innovation in a range of technologies — from artificial intelligence to virtual reality — will transform the way we live together. Calling for a fundamental change in the way we think about politics, he describes a world in which certain technologies and platforms, and those who control them, come to hold great power over us. Some will gather data about our lives, causing us to avoid conduct perceived as shameful, sinful, or wrong. Others will filter our perception of the world, choosing what we know, shaping what we think, affecting how we feel, and guiding how we act. Still others will force us to behave certain ways, like self-driving cars that refuse to drive over the speed limit.

Those who control these technologies — usually big tech firms and the state — will increasingly control us. They will set the limits of our liberty, decreeing what we may do and what is forbidden. Their algorithms will resolve vital questions of social justice, allocating social goods and sorting us into hierarchies of status and esteem. They will decide the future of democracy, causing it to flourish or decay.

A groundbreaking work of political analysis, Future Politics challenges readers to rethink what it means to be free or equal, what it means to have power or property, what it means for a political system to be just or democratic, and proposes ways in which we can — and must — regain control….(More)”.

What Can Satellite Imagery Tell Us About Obesity in Cities?

Emily Matchar at Smithsonian: “About 40 percent of American adults are obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) over 30. But obesity is not evenly distributed around the country. Some cities and states have far more obese residents than others. Why? Genetics, stress, income levels and access to healthy foods are play a role. But increasingly researchers are looking at the built environment—our cities—to understand why people are fatter in some places than in others.

New research from the University of Washington attempts to take this approach one step further by using satellite data to examine cityscapes. By using the satellite images in conjunction with obesity data, they hope to uncover which urban features might influence a city’s obesity rate.

The researchers used a deep learning network to analyze about 150,000 high-resolution satellite image of four cities: Los Angeles, Memphis, San Antonio and Seattle. The cities were selected for being from states with both high obesity rates (Texas and Tennessee) and low obesity rates (California and Washington). The network extracted features of the built environment: crosswalks, parks, gyms, bus stops, fast food restaurants—anything that might be relevant to health.

“If there’s no sidewalk you’re less likely to go out walking,” says Elaine Nsoesie, a professor of global health at the University of Washington who led the research.

The team’s algorithm could then see what features were more or less common in areas with greater and lesser rates of obesity. Some findings were predictable: more parks, gyms and green spaces were correlated with lower obesity rates. Others were surprising: more pet stores equaled thinner residents (“a high density of pet stores could indicate high pet ownership, which could influence how often people go to parks and take walks around the neighborhood,” the team hypothesized).

A paper on the results was recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open….(More)”.

Emerging Labour Market Data Sources towards Digital Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

Paper by Nikos Askitas, Rafik Mahjoubi, Pedro S. Martins, Koffi Zougbede for Paris21/OECD: “Experience from both technology and policy making shows that solutions for labour market improvements are simply choices of new, more tolerable problems. All data solutions supporting digital Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will have to incorporate a roadmap of changes rather than an unrealistic super-solution. The ideal situation is a world in which labour market participants engage in intelligent strategic behavior in an informed, fair and sophisticated manner.

Labour market data captures transactions within labour market processes. In order to successfully capture such data, we need to understand the specifics of these market processes. Designing an ecosystem of labour market matching facilitators and rules of engagement for contributing to a lean and streamlined Logistics Management and Information System (LMIS) is the best way to create Big Data with context relevance. This is in contrast with pre-existing Big Data captured by global job boards or social media for which relevance is limited by the technology access gap and its variations across the developing world.

Network effects occur in technology and job facilitation, as seen in the developed world. Managing and instigating the right network effects might be crucial to avoid fragmented stagnation and inefficiency. This is key to avoid throwing money behind wrong choices that do not gain traction.

A mixed mode approach is possibly the ideal approach for developing countries. Mixing offline and online elements correctly will be crucial in bridging the technology access gap and reaping the benefits of digitisation at the same time.

Properly incentivising the various entities is critical for progression, and more specifically the private sector, which is significantly more agile and inventive, has “skin in the game” and a long-term commitment to the conditions in the field, has intimate knowledge of how to solve the the technology gap and brings a better understanding of the particular ambient context they are operating in. To summarise: Big Data starts small.

Managing expectations and creating incentives for the various stakeholders will be crucial in establishing digitally supported TVET. Developing the right business models will be crucial in the short term and beyond, and it will be the result of creating the right mix of technological and policy expertise with good knowledge of the situation on the ground….(More)”.