You could probably hear the champage corks popping at the Civic Centre last week, when the council announced it had a signed a ten-year deal with IBM to deliver something called Watson Health. Its certainly a major win for IBM, with the council being the first UK local authority to spend an undisclosed amount of cash on something yet to be proven in the UK market.
However, enough’s been written about the deal, without anybody actually saying what it does or what benefits it brings to the taxpayer in the borough, other than council Chief Exec Lockwood saying it will help “…deliver better services with better outcomes, all for less cost…” which doesn’t actually tell us anything at all.
Continuing the theme of using big words which don’t clarify anything, the press release from IBM said: “The enhanced Watson Care Manager solution is designed to create an integrated approach to health and social care that improves individual choice while meeting the requirements of NHS and other local authorities.”
Pictures, as they say, speak a thousand words, so here’s a picture of the fine ol’ feast that was laid on to celebrate the momentous occasion.
The council has been asked how many bottles of champagne were drunk at this party, but declined to answer.
Oh, and the ‘Big Brother’ bit in the headline? Here’s the final snip from the PR spiel: “The Watson Health Cloud can mask individual identities and information to be shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.” It’s all well and good the council collecting all this data, but can they be trusted not to reveal it, even accidentally?
Many thanks to my anonymous source inside the council for providing this picture.