Jane Ankori, ALISS Programme Director

Written by Alan Robertson on 21 September 2015 in Feature

For the next 100 days, Connect will be running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland. Today's it's the turn of ALISS Programme Director, Jane Ankori

Jane Ankori (@JaneAnkori​)

Job Title/Organisation: ALISS Programme Director: Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

Board of Directors: The Spark

What does your role involve?

My roles focus on health and wellbeing and how we might use digital technology to support some of the factors that help create health: community, relationships, and meaning and purpose in life. They involve working in partnership and holding to a vision of the person at the centre. I manage the ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) Programme, based at the ALLIANCE, which contains an information service, digital tools and asset mapping support to help communities identify, collect, maintain and share information about local sources of support. I also sit on the Board of Directors for The Spark, an organisation providing relationship support across Scotland.

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

Well, my experience has been that the greatest challenges in digital, and indeed any programme, are not technical ones; they are the more human issues. At present, the ALISS Programme in particular is challenged to scale against a backdrop of significant change in health and social care: working as an aid to integration where many are struggling to make sense of their place in new joint structures. It’s challenging work, but holds great possibility.

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

That’s a difficult question because I do genuinely find our work with all partners and communities extremely rewarding. If I had to pick one that had quite an impact on me, it would be our work in partnership with the People Powered Health and Wellbeing Programme (based at the ALLIANCE) and Glasgow Council for Voluntary Services within Project In:SPIRE; a Health Foundation funded project led by the staff of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Intensive Care Unit. Its goal is to improve health and wellbeing outcomes, with a focus on employability, for people who have had a stay in intensive care and their families. Central to that is connecting people to local sources of support that may help them live well in the community. It’s been inspirational and moving to see how it’s helped individuals, their families and staff on the unit. That’s what motivates me to do what I do.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

I wonder if we might invest further in addressing barriers to inclusion and in finding ways to support individuals and small start-ups. There are many barriers to inclusion – from gender bias from a young age to disability to social pressures. There are some good initiatives now underway in Scotland to work on this – CodeClan and Work4Me for example. The ALISS Programme has worked very successfully with a small Glasgow technology start-up, Braw Software, led by Kevin Brolly. They bring commitment, passion, flexibility and extraordinary expertise to our work. There are many talented individuals out there who, given support, might take the leap into self-employment. A key factor in attracting more people into digital will be taking an approach that focuses and builds on people’s strengths.

Which new technology excites you the most?

Any technology that addresses our core needs as human beings and helps us realise our right to a happy healthy life.

What's your favourite app and why?

Oh, tough question! On a personal level, as a mum to a five-year-old, it has to be BrushDJ. Developed by a dentist to encourage brushing and improve oral health, it’s a must-have for any battle-weary parent. It’s simple, fun, meets the needs of children, parents, and professionals, and has been developed by a non-technical individual on the front line. Brilliant. 

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

Let’s make 2016 the year we truly put people at the centre of digital health and wellbeing. I followed with great interest the session on People Driven Digital Health and Wellbeing at this year's Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester. The key question ‘how can we unleash people driven digital health and wellbeing’ led to some messages for our New Years’ resolution list: ground-up innovation must be recognised and supported; it’s vital to connect innovators and people accessing services with practitioners service providers and commissioners, with principles of co-production at the heart of those collaborations; we need the right technical infrastructure to enable innovation; and we need to support digital innovators with access to data insights and business advice. Wouldn’t that be a 2016 to celebrate? 

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