Blood app

This will be going in as a little case study/vignette in an apps development section of the Peoples-Uni module. Summary is

The app started life as an idea 7 years ago following a suggestion by a junior doctor during a training session run by a blood transfusion practitioner in her previous Trust. The doctor talked about the need to have guidelines available at the time of need. The idea was proposed to the NHS Blood Service, the nurse partnered with an NHSBT colleague and worked with an internal developer in the NHS Blood service to create a trial app based on platelets guidance.

They completed extensive literature based and other market research to find out what apps clinicians were using, whether they were likely to use an app for this purpose, what would be a good design. The app was successfully tested by clinicians and other research colleagues. They also conducted post-market surveillance.

They have decided to extend the app to include clinical decision support that will affect patient outcomes, which falls in the scope of regulatory approval as a device. The proposal was resubmitted to the NHS Blood service who approved a larger budget, there was a tender for external developers and a more formal clinical evaluation team from multiple Trusts or practices. The partner has managed the regulatory approval approval to date and the nurse has managed the research, the communications between all the clinical professionals as well as the clinical input into the design and development.

They are aware that now the market has been saturated with many apps but due to the clinician buy-in throughout the process they believe they have a product that others will find helpful. The nurse has identified some unrealistic outputs from the algorithm which they are currently intending to fix before releasing the app to the clinical evaluators shortly.

I have offered to help with promoting it. I don’t think a developer would want to hear that their journey has been 7 years but they both have other full-time jobs and complete research so it is not a guideline for how long it could take. It does show that clinician buy-in is stronger if they are involved from the outset.


Cancer pain research twitter feed

Whilst still sorting whether there is going to be a cancer pain app or whatever from ICR, I’ve set up an unofficial twitter account to curate this – over the next few days I will be finding cancer pain researchers in ICR, The Royal Marsden and beyond. It will also include social, psychological research on pain and some patient generated pain toolkits, videos etc

English and global languages

This is featuring again in conversations, probably due to Brexit and the freedom granted by the media to express multiple racist comments (apparently over 150 in reply to a local news story about a new child from Calais being reunited with family).
I don’t agree with the idea /ideology of English being the universal language – and I think it’s in most cases due to the immaturity of computing to date as well as global trade.

It appears to be further evidence of the ossification of UK/US with structures so solidified that it has very little flexibility to adapt.

I have started a Russian language course and although I’d quite like to travel back in time and have words with St Cyril about character case; some of it is quite similar to Turkish and I can say please, thank you, water, fruit, coffee, tea so once I have kick, block, strike and punch 😉

However hard it is for Brits & US citizens to adapt, it is possible by learning other languages and I do believe that a multi lingual world is all for the better. You can’t just reduce a language to one set of words and say this is how it’s going to be, that ignores the sources which make up languages in the first place.

Top Internet languages: 
What the British Library says about English as a global language:

What the Oxford English dictionary has to say about its sources:

Breaking bricks

This winter I will be practising boards and hopefully bricks as it’s something that you can just get on with in your own time and I can do in the garden I share.

At the very first tkd session I ever attended (age 37/8) I chatted to one of the female black belts who had some amazing bruises all the way from her hand to elbow. For their black belt they needed to break boards / bricks and she had been practising but not got it fully figured out.

We do some basic thin board breaking (hand and foot) but it has not yet been a requirement for our black belt testing or a particular type of material. I am interested in practising further though, one of the teenagers at our martial arts summer camp had to break half a brick for his tang soo do test. I chatted with a former bricklayer (not martial artist) and he said not all bricks and concrete would be possible to break. I’m meeting some of our other black belts outside of training later this week so will find out what they are doing and take from there.

Russia part 3 (long)

The bad & ugly

That look on people’s faces when you tell them you’re educating yourself about Russia – it’s as if I said I spend my weekends swimming with piranhas. I don’t have much sympathy for those who can afford to travel and visit events and still do it. For those who may be able to afford some time on the internet, they can hardly be blamed if all they do is look at social media and google.

The wilful ignorance of politicians, academics who abuse their positions of public service to generate propaganda especially on social media. Aleppo for example. I started following  @Vanessa Beeley on twitter who wrote about a recent visit to Aleppo. I can’t use Patrick’s brilliant post enough but I learnt a lot during the crisis camp haiti hack we did about basic intelligence gathering and odd snippets from elsewhere in my life. This is enough to at least raise question marks about sources, timing, frequency. For example in a military crisis where suddenly there is a lot of focus from mainstream media, US & UK foreign offices on East Aleppo, you naturally can ask yourself, why East Aleppo, what is happening elsewhere that you rather we didn’t focus on and especially when you consider who Syria’s neighbours are and US influence in some of those neighbours countries…

And this is not paranoid fearmongering. General Sir Rupert Smith explains this on the whole of p287 of the Utility of Force about Iraq and the media

“…Above all one must never forget that the interest of a journalist of producer which is usually genuine – is driven by a need to fill spaces with words and pictures. I used this for my understanding in the Gulf in 1990 when considering my method for conducting operations against the Iraqis. I realised the need to make particular arrangements for handling what I called ‘presentation’ in order to ensure the continuing support of our people and allies, to impart to the enemy a specific impression we wanted him to have and for my command to feel it was well presented”1

So the mainstream media will impart what military commanders want them to impart ultimately and it’s not impossible if you accept the idea of war among the people, that Vanessa Beeley’s accusations of the NATO White Helmets being terrorists operating as humanitarians for media purposes could be true. Mainstream media and military operations have always operated that way. So all the ranting against Russia without even the slightest questioning of sources is pure propaganda. And vice versa. If people refuse to even consider the possibility that they might be wrong and don’t bother to educate themselves to find out if they were, it becomes much more tiring and tedious.

The good

I attended a Russian folk singing performance at Pushkin House – beautiful singing, they sang Russian songs, a Ukrainian song that every Russian knows, songs from Russians who lived in Romania and elsewhere.

Currently reading an art history book of a visit to Russia in 19th century by a snobby British art critic who is very critically rude (like a stereotype art critic) and doesn’t like most of the art of St Petersburg or much in some European schools of their time. Have barely started the book but it’s very educational as in another British establishment view from that time.

Just finished A history of twentieth century Russia (1st edition) by another Oxford academic – Robert Service, which goes up to 1997. One of my favourite snippets was a woman handing out protest leaflets in Red Square. When some officials from the Kremlin questioned her and asked her about the leaflets they found that there were pages with nothing on them. When asked why – she said – what is the point of writing anything, everybody knows !

Also reading bits or all of books or articles on health and also about other countries in central Asia and Europe including The Foreign Policy of the European Union (2nd edition, Keukeleire & Delreux) some of which I knew but quite a lot I didn’t and it situates the Brexit and other discussions more easily in the current climate.

Will be a bit of reading pause for a while as try to reactivate brain with various different pharma legislation and procedures.

Haven’t yet progressed with learning Russian any further but is particularly useful for reading social media and a couple of emails I am intending to write, my local library has some options and may do an online course. Will decide either way in next few days.

Have started this journey and will keep going.

1. Smith R (2008) The Utility of Force – the art of War in the Modern World, Vantage books edition

mobile app brief update

The Institute of Cancer Research, our sister organisation at the Royal Marsden have said yes, that although they develop their content primarily for existing students, if there is a clear demand they are happy to investigate and potentially develop either in-house or with a partner. Their previous toolkits were on CD-Rom and have not become available in other formats due to the size of the eLearning team and their current workload. I have also been asking Marsden clinical colleagues if this is something they would use or contribute to and they are interested.

I am following up with a colleague from the National Institute of Health Research who has already developed a research ‘consent’ app, in about ten days time. Then further groundwork with GPs and others to see if this something that is worth pursuing further.

delicious bookmarks to 2016 updated


think most links to liars have been removed

Hope not hate Sutton

I didn’t know Jo Cox personally but knew people who did know her well and what a deeply lovely woman she was. After her death several Yorkshire friends I know mentioned how ashamed they were that this appalling tragedy happened in Yorkshire which is the friendliest place I have lived outside of Turkey. The Council of Europe report released today has highlighted again the dangers of xenophobic, racist commenting in the UK.

I was not particularly active with Hope not Hate then but a community building inclusive initiative has been started called #MoreinCommon. A few of us have started a fledgling Hope not Hate group in Sutton. We will be holding our first public event in late November. We can help others who are passionate about helping communities integrate and encourage different nationalities to spend time with others. One of the fantastic #MoreinCommon events held elsewhere was called  “Blooming Foreigners” – a gardening project involving a mix of nationalities including those who previously had some very nationalistic views.

I learnt this song last winter from NHS campaigning friends in Leeds, taught to us by a South African musician, there are various version on youtube – this one from Hungary who also don’t appear to be hating people as much as the media make out. Positive messages of hope are always welcome.



Pharma module outline 0.1

There are already a series of excellent background pharma eLearning modules which cover all phases into marketing authorisation which we will reference & link to during the content development.

This primer is to encourage people to ‘do’ based on their background knowledge and experience. It also links with ethos of the water sanitation module subject matter experts and how to encourage researchers to develop their capacity and others around them.

Target audience

  • Existing People’s University students who may have some clinical background or an interest in a clinical career.
  • Citizens with an idea either for medicine or medical device/technology who may either be ‘tinkering’ in the case of technology or possibly doing some informal research.
  • Citizens who are interested in finding out more about routes that medical or tech entrepreneurs might be following in their country.
  • Citizens who may have people they know or themselves with a disease and are passionate about finding a cure but have limited access to pharma/tech industries

Outcomes  (full outcomes currently under further discussion)

  • To start a discussion with relevant partner and/or to take forward an idea into a phase of development that is regulated.
  • To identify appropriate future markets for their idea and how to navigate the regulatory practices that may be applicable
  • To evaluate risks and prepare safe conditions for the investigation of their idea

Outline (may change completely in the next week and if it doesn’t, not necessarily in this order)

  1. Taking forward my/our idea
    • How?
    • Is it my/our idea to develop?
    • Is my/our idea going to matter / success against a pharma giant like GSK, Pfizer?
    • What are the environmental and other conditions affecting my idea (possibly loosely around PESTLE 2.0)
    • Innovation ‘case study’ / vignette / scenario
  2. What are the regulatory and industry environments where my idea will develop
    • EU case study / vignette / scenario
    • Regulatory information gathering
    • Legislation & harmonisation
    • Horizon scanning
  3. How can I/we reduce risk?
    • Safety case studies / vignettes / possibly a fun pharma industry archetype
    • Environmental health considerations
    • Liability
  4. How can I / we find partners or identify expertise?
    • this may include a link to an outcome of a complementary water sanitation research project that I will know more about shortly but generally capacity building
    • How to protect idea
    • Markets & Sales (e.g. reference to Dragons Den / Angels investment & pharma/tech)

A reviewer has pointed out that people would be tempted to skip 1-3 as 4 sounds the best way to get going. We may or may not open up 4 until some of 1-3 completed but agreed that if we can’t point out why the groundwork of 1-3 is useful to make the best of 4 then we have essentially failed !

Any comments welcome


Quick fly through mobile apps, assumptions and design

Firstly – two apps which I use a lot on my phone – easy presentation, minimal typing and selection of anything including navigation. Quick to dip in and out.

screenshots of met office and national rail app

An app I haven’t used for a while but did once whilst collecting lots of NHS clips in a hurry – Evernote – much more text to read , fairly light menu.

screenshot of Evernote mobile app notes list

Can’t find a classic mobile apps versus web article from 2007/8ish but AlistApart one of the best from 2010 (post the debates with Google/Apple rushing along with html5) More in all my bookmarks on everything in the universe up to 2013 – rest still @nicolaavery on Del.ic.ious or whatever it’s called, don’t use now.

So briefly continuing to entertain idea that a mobile app which presented articles could possibly still be a good thing – quick list on mixed links on pain from different journals across Dovepress openaccess & also sample post with lots of links from an amazing doctor in the UK who writes about pain. You could imagine these as a list with preview as in Evernote above. Or a search with tags on different aspects of pain or drugs related to pain management or therapies etc

You could present it with blocks of colour or circles e.g. in examples 1, 2, you can pay attention to e.g. gestalt principles, but these are just one example of psychology and visual perception.


This assumes a lot including 1) that smartphone is affordable, 2) an app is a good idea 3) a busy professional has time to look at it & can navigate it 4) they want to spend time looking at a small device to read.

Taking a few steps back, two examples

gestures and interactions from Near Future Laboratory

ergonomics and interactions from Designing for Humans

Both the above are too brief to go into attention and eye strain for example, so another assumption could be removed which is that a mobile device needs to be touched in some way e.g. using a spoken web instead. Or another assumption that a mobile phone needs to provide the presentation i.e. the articles in a visual or audio format, when instead it could be a mobile delivery mechanism e.g. mobile web server. However it might be a that a local non-mobile server does a better job.




British TKD Nationals

I wasn’t fighting though may do next year if back to competition fights by spring. Although I would have been one of if not the oldest competitor there this year – but as I started martial arts at 35, still feel younger in some respects…

A clip of some fighting yesterday (not our fighters due to phone battery fading and using their own phones to do video). Good young fighters coming through and good to see Lutalo there, a very decent guy according to those who know, he very kindly spent ages signing everything for anyone that wanted – it’s amazing to see the impact he has had in inspiring young fighters to come through.