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Hospital Waiting List – Open Knowledge Workshop #1

- April 12, 2017 in Hospital Waiting List, Open Data

On a sunny Saturday, May 25th Open Knowledge Ireland held a workshop powered by citizens focused on discovering how Open Data can help the ever present Hospital Waiting List problem. With the workshop we created a space to build engagement around open data and hospital waiting lists and offered participants a practical way to get involved. The workshop was possible because in December 2016 the NTPF published Hospital Waiting List Data on data.gov.ie as machine readable data for the first time. Hospital Waiting List data can now be found here, here, and here. Hospital Waiting List Workshop #1 focused on identifying & discovering the patient journey, the data that is available, an operating model for use case creation using open data and a long list of potential use cases that for prioritisation at Hospital Waiting List Citizen Workshop #2. The workshop benefited from having experienced professionals from a range of new and disruptive fields of industries and expertise. On the day OK Ireland facilitated Data Analysts, Customer Experience SMEs, Technology Solution Consultants, Digital Natives, Students, and Coders. OK Ireland provided Open Data insights from Ireland and abroad and framed the topic for the day – ways of using open data to address the growing Hospital Waiting Lists in Ireland. Here is an account of Piush Vaish – a participant at the 1st Hospital Waiting List workshop citizen about how the day went. The post first appeared on his LinkedIn page.  

Ways to Improve Hospital Waiting List Using Open Data

Ireland has one of the worst hospital’s waiting lists in the developed countries. We all know someone or ourselves experienced the uncertainty of the length of time to see a specialist. We constantly wonder about our health while we wait. For instance, I had to wait overnight to be seen by a specialist at Beaumont hospital. It affects not only our physical but mental health as well while we wait to hear back from the hospitals. Therefore, when an opportunity came to tackle the problem of hospital waiting list using data I had to do something. That chance came through a workshop/hackathon organized by Open Knowledge Ireland on 25th March 2017. It was the first in a series of hospital waiting list focused workshops held at Guinness Enterprise Center. Open Knowledge Ireland is a part of Open Knowledge International with the goal of opening all essential public interest information. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting open data and open content in all forms to create insights that drive change and benefit the public at large. When I arrived at the venue there was a short session where we got to know the other participants over a cup of tea and biscuits. The group of participants came from a different background with various different skill sets and industry experience. Some of them were UX designers, web/ application developers, statisticians, past participants and data scientists. However, we all had one reason to be at the workshop. The motivation was to tackle a very real social problem as a group of experts and for our citizens by using public data about hospital waiting lists to make that information easily accessible for everybody. Afterward, we took up an office in a special set-up meeting room to learn about the work of Open Knowledge Ireland, what open data is and the reasons why we should be interested in the hospital waiting list data.     Open Knowledge Ireland explained their mission, vision, and values. The hospital waiting list datasets are produced by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). Since July 2012,the NTPF is responsible for the publication of outpatient and inpatient waiting lists. However, they originally published this data in pdf format which is not considered an ‘open’ data format. It limits the usability of the data. Hence, Open Knowledge Ireland has worked over the last two years to create examples of how the Out-Patient Waiting List and Inpatient/Day Case Waiting List can be published in easily accessible format. They also worked together with the NTPF and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to get this data published in machine readable format. In December 2016 hospital waiting list data was for the first time made available in machine readable format on data.gov.ie. This now enables anyone to download the datasets and do any sort of analysis on it. The format of the workshop was unconference or open space conference. It was my first time attending such a conference. We were given a problem statement but we were free to tackle it in any way the group thought to be most useful to understand the problem more. The agenda was driven by the participants and their expertise in technology, digital, User Experience design, Digital, Analytics and backgrounds from various industries. There were no narrow topics pre-determined, no keynote speakers invited and no panel had been arranged – so the workshop was very interactive and very driven by the participants themselves. The topics to be discussed were refined through the participation of the attendees to problem statements that could be tackled and looked at in one day. If a session among a group did not inspire an attendee or was not contributing, then he/she were free to get up and find a different group.This enabled everyone to leverage and play on their strength, do research and contribute to understanding the problem statement based on their own experience. We convened at the individual breakout sessions to discuss the progress of each working group and share learning’s between the working groups. In my opinion, this process helped to apply ideas and empowered participants to share their ability. This offered an opportunity to have an unfiltered exchange of creative ideas.   My first work group was working on mapping the journey for the patient right from getting a symptom till diagnosed by the specialist. The aim was to document the end to end experience of the patient through their perspective, understand how patients are interacting with their general practitioner or hospital, find pain points, identify areas for improvement and improve the experience moving forward.     The visualization inspired us to seek value-driven decisions based on a patient’s experience model of performance. There was another group who mapped a patient’s journey from through A&A as well as how this journey is currently tracked and how this data is collated by one specific hospital. This was to understand the pain points that hospitals may come across when gathering and providing the data.     Later, we swapped our findings to create a complete picture of the patient’s journey. I then swapped from the journey mapping group to another group that was working on data validation. It was essential for the long-term success of the project that the data is open, correct and useful.     We ensured that the data gathered by NTPF was using data/statistical standards. While I was engaging with different groups, the other participants were engaged in data analysis, creating an API and researching the problem in other countries. The below figure shows an early view of the type of insights that can be generated using the hospital waiting list data that is available on data.gov.ie today. We also had a short video presentation by Bob Harper from Detail Data who created the Hospital Waiting List Dashboards that are available for Northern Ireland (http://waitingtimesplus.surge.sh/). He explained how he is using the data provided by NHS on his website to present information in a way that is more easily accessible to and understandable by the public in Northern Ireland. At the end of the day, we all presented our findings to the group and decided what we’ll focus on during the next workshop. Some of the points we aim to discuss in the next workshop are: –
  • Understand existing Hospital Wait Time data publicly available in the Republic of Ireland
  •  Understand and highlight data gaps
  • Recommend additional data points required to build tools useful to citizens (suggest via data.gov.ie)
  •  Identify quick-win use cases and begin prototyping
  • Identify more complex use cases and next steps
If you are inspired by what we have achieved and interested to continue the journey to empower the public please register your interest by attending us at the next workshop.  

Irish Open Data Wishlist – Ireland falling behind its Open Data promises and international best practice

- July 22, 2015 in DPER, OGP Ireland, Open Data, Open Data Ireland, open data wish list

This post follows up on a public request made to the government to open up high impact public data sets for the benefit of Ireland’s citizens and economy on April 14th, 2014. The ‘Open Data Wishlist’ of high impact data sets was crowdsourced to be particular to the Irish context by Open Knowledge Ireland by approach to Irish public. The wish list was delivered to Stefan Decker and Deirdre Lee (Insight Centre for Data Analytics) who requested the assessment to be included in their work on the Irish government’s Open data strategy for which they won a tender in 2014. The submission was made by the public on April 14th, 2014. (Link) This blog post is to highlight that, Over a year after the requested ‘Open Data Wishlist’ was delivered not one one of the data sets identified have been  published in an open format and under an open licence! Worse, there is no timeline to do so! This is worrying because Ireland seems to be falling behind other countries such as the UK, the US, Canada, etc. in their efforts to fuel their economy and improve the services provided to their citizens. Equally critically, Ireland seems to be falling behind the promises it has made as part of it’s own ‘Open Data Strategy’! We realise that cultural change takes time, but making already public information, such as hospital waiting lists, available for reuse in machine readable formats should be straightforward (Hospital Waiting List Current Example). If the government of Ireland is serious about empowering evidence-based data-driven decision-making, it needs to start complimenting good intentions with actions. We are calling on Minister Howlin to publish a timeline for publishing these data sets in open format, in line with the promises made, with progress made in other countries and in line with the global G8 Open Data Charter (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-data-charter/g8-open-data-charter-and-technical-annex). Why delays are worrying: In April 2014 via crowdsourcing, the Irish populace produced list of public data sets felt to promise the highest impact and requested that they be published in an ‘open’ format. ‘Open’ generally means that data that is already collected on behalf of the public is published in machine readable format (e.g. not PDF reports) and under a licence stating that it can be freely to used, reused, and redistributed (e.g. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence). Only in this way can service providers and businesses utilise the data in a way that can be of benefit to citizens, businesses and services in Ireland. Once easily accessible to the public these types of data sets have the potential to help build better services to meet the needs of citizens (e.g. data on hospital waiting lists) and to be a catalyst for innovation and economic prosperity. A popular estimate by McKinsey (http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/open_data_unlocking_innovation_and_performance_with_liquid_information) on the benefits of adopting open data practices can unlock $3 – $5 trillion of economic value across 7 sectors globally, with up to $1.2 billion unlock-able in ‘Education’ alone. What high-value datasets should be published?
  • Geospatial Data (broken out as many different owners for various datasets. Also included is the examples of what is being requested and/or type of metadata needed to make this useful. Where “name” is listed, both Irish & English if available. All data below to include long/lat coords for single point references or shapefiles for area references)
  • Postcodes
  • Addresses (Full breakdown by building and by structure within e.g. apartments)
  • Boundary data (National, County, City, Suburb, Townland, Census SA, Electoral Division, etc)
  • Road Network (Ref #’s, names, classification, lit/unlit, bridge info e.g. height’s & widths)
  • Topography
  • National Maps
  • Waterways (Navigation, depths, berths, names, source, underground yes/no, rivers, streams, ditches, lakes  etc)
  • Soil data (soil type, acidity, etc)
  • Natural Heritage Area’s (boundary, operator, name)
  • Bogs (type, protected yes/no, operator)
  • Social Facilities (Garda Stations, Courts, Hospitals, Primary Care Centers, GP’s, Dentists, Care Homes etc – name, operator, contact details)
  • Sports Facilities (sport, team, operator)
  • Schools (patron, mixed yes/no, name, level)
  • Voting Stations
  • Government offices/departments (name, contact details, under which dept. etc)
  • Energy (power plants to include renewables, plant type, power lines, line capacity, substations, reference #’s, names)
  • Playgrounds (surface, facilities)
  • Crime data (Crime statistics, safety, location of crimes, accidents)
  • Health data (Prescription data, performance data, source location)
  • Education (List of schools; performance of schools, digital skills)
  • Election data (results, location, party, etc)
  • Energy and Environment (Pollution levels, energy consumption)
  • Finance and contracts (Transaction spend, contracts let, call for tender, future tenders, local budget, national budget (planned and spent))
  • Global Development: Aid, food security, extractives, land
  • Statistics: National Statistics, Census, infrastructure, wealth, skills
  • Government Accountability and Democracy: Government contact points, election results, legislation and statutes, salaries (pay scales), hospitality/gifts
  • Science and Research: Genome data, meteorological data, research and educational activity, experiment results.
What licences should Open Data Ireland use?
  • CC-0 or at most CC-BY version 4
  • Public Domain
  • GNU General Public License (software)

First Irish Charity Data HackDay took place on Saturday July 26th 2014 at Tcube

- September 4, 2014 in Adrian Corcoran, Adrian O’Flynn, Allen Thomas Varghese, charity, Chris Garde, Data, Dave Corley, Denis Parfenov, Flora Fleischer, Grazia D'Aversa, Hackday, Helen Nic Giolla Rua, Ingo Keck, Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland, Patrick Killalea, Salua Nassabay, Tracey P. Lauriault

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 13.27.58
When: Sat, 26th of July, 2014
Where: TCube kindly hosted the event to support the work done for the Charity sector
Organiser: Open Knowledge Ireland
Who: 13 participants: Dave Corley, Tracey P. Lauriault, Patrick Killalea, Adrian Corcoran, Allen Thomas Varghese, Ingo Keck, Helen Nic Giolla Rua, Adrian O’Flynn, Flora Fleischer, Denis Parfenov, Chris Garde, Grazia D’Aversa, Salua Nassabay
 
Main Findings from first Irish Charity Data HackDay
  1. No standardised way of tracking income and expenses
  2. Not all charities make income and expense data publicly available on their website
  3. When published, income and expense data is not published in an ‘open’ format
 
… and here is how it all went down on Saturday 26th July 2014 at Tcube:
The day started with a welcome speech by our conveners and hosts Denis Parfenov and Flora Fleisher of Open Knowledge Ireland.  A short presentation was given by Flora Fleischer. Adrian O’Flynn, our Charities Subject Matter Specialist, and the person who inspired the event, introduced the topic of spending for charities in Ireland. He highlighted recent issues portrayed in the media and explained why it would be useful for the public to be able to compare charities based on their financial reports.  Here is his presentation. Adrian Corcoran, the event’s project manager, provided detailed instructions on how to work together for the day.  He followed this outline (http://openknowledge.ie/chy-01-charity/)  
Three main datasets were used for the CharityHack:
  1. An overview working document listing basic data about the charities: (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sIH9NKBkpQMFMnt_0sYW9B8DSyv839EbbtLmibdml1s/pubhtml).
  2. An excel spreadsheet (CharityFinancialDataFinal.xlsx), that includes detailed data for a number of charities, which were initially extracted from the annual reports by Adrian O’Flynn.
  3. A reference document which includes definitions of the codes used in the document above (e.g. expenditure codes)
    (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sIH9NKBkpQMFMnt_0sYW9B8DSyv839EbbtLmibdml1s/edit#gid=861039018)
  Participants were divided into three teams “red”, “green”, “blue”, following the team label of the charities in the overview document.   Participants from each team picked a charity from the overview document.  Adrian Corcoran told us how to label the data, how to quality check the numbers within and how to verify the data with the annual reports. These data were then assembled into one shared document.  Data quality issues were reported and then corrected by Adrian Corcoran.   Any issues were reported during this process and the more serious problems were shelved for later. Once this work was completed, only data that passed data quality processes were included.  
The charity data used for this CharityHack exercise are as follows:
  1. Data were extracted from the annual financial reports of 24 of the largest charities in Ireland (€1Mil+).  NOTE This represents a small sample of the thousands of charities in Ireland.
  2. These are charities known through their public brand awareness for the fiscal year 2012 (see the definition).
  3. ONLY charities where funding represents charitable funds collected voluntarily from the public were selected.  This excludes charities that primarily rely on large institutional funds (e.g., Irish Aid Grants, HSE Grants).
  4. Only charities that have been independently audited and who have published their financial statements on a publicly accessible websites were used.
  5. Only charities who followed the Statement by the Accounting Standards Board on the SORP Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice were used (Section B: Resources Expended). Not all organizations in Ireland follow this standard. It is only because of this standard that it was possible to derive standardized financial data from the financial statements in the annual reports. The data here reflect resources spent on Governance, Fundraising and Charity.
  6. The list of charities was derived from the survey conducted by the Irish Charity Engagement Monitor (ICEM).
  7. This final dataset was quality checked by the participants at the 2014 Charity Hackday on July 26.
  8. The original dataset was created by Adrian O’Flynn.
  It is a small sample, but this illustrates the power of open data.   The dataset that was generated on the HackDay, and which is being continuously developed, can be found on the  Open Knowledge Ireland website. Finally a first draft of a future website was created, where charity data can be be displayed in an easy to understand fashion. Thanks to Barry Alistair (TCube), Adrian O’Flynn (Charity Subject Matter Expert), Adrian Corcoran (Project Manager), and Denis Parfenov & Flora Fleischer for organising the Charity HackDay. And many thanks to all the participants who lent their time and skills! We could not have made as much progress in one day without you!
Photo report of the day:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123736148@N04/sets/72157645554728899/ Pictures are courtesy of Dan Alexandru who kindly joined us on the day to capture all the fantastic work happening! Thanks Dan!

Open Knowledge Ireland celebrate FOI victory

- July 3, 2014 in OKF Ireland, Open Government Data

Open Knowledge Ireland are this week celebrating partial victory in their campaign against application fees for FOI requests. Here is their press release. Ireland

Open Knowledge Ireland welcomes Minister Howlin’s announcement that Government has approved the removal of an application fee for Freedom of Information Requests

Open Knowledge Ireland welcomes the announcement by the Minister that the suggested reforms to the FOI fees regime includes the removal of the €15 application fee for non-personal requests. On April 10th 2014 Open Knowledge Ireland together with a squad of Freedom of Information advocates for Ireland wrote an Open Letter to Minister Brendan Howlin asking to leverage the Government’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership as an opportunity to remove fees at all stages of FOI and AIE requests and appeals. The letter was signed by 74 signatories urging the Minister to consider the points outlined for his upcoming FOI bill. On May 7th, at the Civil Society Day, which was held on the eve of the OGP Europe regional meeting, the upfront fees charged in Ireland for submission of FOI requests were brought to the attention of 120 civil society and government representatives from 30 countries. And today we are pleased to see the Minister is taking a step in the right direction! Denis Parfenov, Open Knowledge Ambassador for Ireland and one of the Founders of the Open Knowledge Chapter in Ireland, in his reaction today said that he “warmly welcomes this announcement”. “This is a great success story for all citizens and FOI advocates who were involved in pushing to drop FOI fees as part of Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan. Open Knowledge Ireland together with Irish citizens and other Irish civil society organisations had been pushing to include a commitment on free FOI requests into the 2 year Action Plan and we are very pleased that the Minister has considered the recommendations of the Irish Civil Society OGP Network.” Flora, Co-Founder at Open Knowledge Ireland gives an early reaction to the announcement and has collated early voices from passionate FOI advocates in Ireland: “Open Knowledge Ireland is adopting a cautious position to the FOI reforms announced today. While we’re welcoming the announcements and Minister Howlin’s consideration of the Open Government Partnership principles, we still need to wait until we see the full set of proposed amendments in order to make an accurate assessment of the impact of all the changes.

Open Knowledge Ireland welcomes Minister Howlin’s announcement that Government has approved the removal of an application fee for Freedom of Information Requests

- July 1, 2014 in Freedom of Information, OGPirl, Open Government Partnership, Press Release

 1st July 2014 okirlogo

Open Knowledge Ireland - dedicated to promoting open data and open knowledge for citizens (openknowledge.ie)

  Open Knowledge Ireland welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister that the suggested reforms to the FOI fees regime includes the removal of the €15 application fee for non-personal requests. On April 10th 2014 Open Knowledge Ireland together with a squad of Freedom of Information advocates for Ireland wrote an Open Letter to Minister Brendan Howlin asking to leverage the Government’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership as an opportunity to remove fees at all stages of FOI and AIE requests and appeals. The letter was signed by 74 signatories urging the Minister to consider the points outlined for his upcoming FOI bill. On May 7th, at the Civil Society Day, which was held on the eve of the OGP Europe regional meeting, the upfront fees charged in Ireland for submission of FOI requests were brought to the attention of 120 civil society and government representatives from 30 countries.

And today we are pleased to see the Minister is making a step in the right direction!

Denis Parfenov, Open Knowledge Ambassador for Ireland and one of the Founders of the Open Knowledge Chapter in Ireland, in his reaction today said that he “warmly welcomes this announcement”.

This is a great success story for all citizens and FOI advocates who were involved in pushing to drop FOI fees as part of Ireland’s first OGP Action Plan. Open Knowledge Ireland together with Irish citizens and other Irish civil society organisations had been pushing to include a commitment on free FOI requests into the 2 year Action Plan and we are very pleased that the Minister has considered the recommendations of Irish Civil Society OGP Network.

Flora, Co-Founder at Open Knowledge Ireland gives an early reaction to the announcement and has collated early voices from passionate FOI advocates in Ireland:

Open Knowledge Ireland is adopting a cautious position to the FOI reforms announced today. While we’re welcoming the announcements and Minister Howlin’s consideration of the Open Government Partnership principles, we still need to wait until we see the full set of proposed amendments in order to make an accurate assessment of the impact of all the changes.

 

In the following find our low down of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly + Next Steps

The Good

The Bad

And the Ugly

    • How far reaching is the commitment to openness really? The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform “has asked that we [the civil society network involved in providing feedback on the proposed OGP Action Plan] would review the sentence in the CS Foreword expressing disappointment that more progress wasn’t made in relation to the abolition of fees” in light of the announcement that was made today.
      1. The request was sent not to the whole network but to one or more persons that the Department chooses to work together with.
      2. We are being asked to change the wording without having insights to the actual suggested amendments which are more than likely ready to go and could be provided for insight.
      3. Good to see there was an outcry by FOI advocates that the wording should not be changed until promises have turned into actions and until detailed amendments have been shared.
 

Next Steps

- We really need to wait and see the actual suggested amendments and the new bill before we can make any quality assessment. In the meantime these documents provide more detail about the suggested changes. Some of those raise questions:                    Cross-posted: