Across the UK there are a range of approaches to delivering the latest wave of communications technology. The ambitious strategy adopted by the health and social care focussed Liverpool 5G project, integrating LORA, 60mm waveband and mobile phone technology has demonstrated a practical methodology for the delivery of low cost, pervasive communication to homes throughout the Liverpool City Region. Although that is a bold statement, and the communication achievements of the project are immediately evident, and given the existing level of mobile phone and broadband coverage it raises the question ‘so what?’. In part, and only in part, that is answered by the use cases which formed part of the project including a pharmacy at home application, a personal dehydration, home status, activity and early release patient condition monitor. Taken individually, each of these use cases, and others, are (for example in homes where there is no broadband, and sometimes no mobile phones) enabled by and/or will benefit from the low cost delivery of resilient, pervasive communications. However, it is when considered as a group, with data from both the existing and other new applications combined with other data sets, for example local air pollution data that new possibilities begin to emerge.
The Liverpool 5G project has also demonstrated the practicality of connecting the network to a scalable environment where data can be securely hosted, curated and made appropriately available not only to clinicians and care workers but also to academic, public and private sector researchers in a Trustworthy Research Environment (TRE). Enabling the proliferation of pervasive, non-invasive and cost effective monitoring technologies, creates the capacity to collect data which in turn, when combined with the TRE, enables researchers to make new logical connections offering rare opportunities for environmental impact, epidemiological, cohort and geographic (both City wide and local area) based studies. Possible areas of opportunity include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the effectiveness of extended ‘living at home’ techniques, and mental health issue alleviation strategy impacts.
AIMES is the leading commercial provider of Trustworthy Research Environments in the UK and, from their home base in Liverpool, provide a range of bespoke environments for NHS bodies and health researchers throughout the country. Incorporating a TRE with the Liverpool 5G network, and the potential to provide real or near real time date sets has been a challenge, but one which fitted directly with the company’s philosophy of creating infrastructure for a purpose. Integrating the TRE into the network creates a demonstrator for an ecosystem where Personally Identifiable Data can be collated, pseudonymised or anonymised and accessed by researchers, under GDPR/DPA 2018 and robust DSP information governance compliant conditions. The AIMES TRE platform combines a number of technologies which promote the development of learning health systems and the ingestion of data from the 5G network will enable the development of new algorithms, including AI based services. This unique resource forms part of Liverpool’s overarching strategy to be in the forefront of the practical, cost effective, combining of digital technologies and big data with expertise in order to improve service delivery and the healthcare, social care and quality of life opportunities of its citizens.