ALISS is a community-driven initiative which makes it easy to find and point to local online information about keeping well. Our focus is helping people to live better with long term health conditions, providing tools and frameworks, working with communities so that we build infrastructure together.
ALISS is an opportunity to encourage a culture of mutuality and contribution by harnessing our most valuable asset: the ideas and diversity of our population.
People and organisations offering support to self manage have many ways to publicise their information (web sites, posters, leaflets). At the same time people seeking that information can miss it, because there are so many places to look. It’s frustrating – support may be on the doorstep but you can’t find it!
Why is ALISS needed?
Traditionally, public sector and voluntary organizations’ have collected information to create printed or online directories. However these are often:
- difficult to keep current;
- unlikely to reflect smaller, less visible services;
- unlikely to tap into vital local knowledge of those living with long term conditions;
- unlikely to offer good reusability of their data
Much useful online content is ephemeral or produced by people with little knowledge of the web. This is often ignored by more formal directory services and is poorly indexed by the general search engines.
ALISS aims to create one place to contribute and point to information and, therefore, one place to find it – we’re calling this the ALISS Engine. It isn’t a website, a search engine, or a database; it’s more like an index. The Engine and the data it points to is the technical part of ALISS, but when everyone joins, it will also become a space for innovation.
The NHSScotland Quality Strategy calls for a collaborative approach to supporting people to manage and maintain their health…
“We will have to involve the people of Scotland to a greater extent in the co- production of health and health care”
“… recognising and valuing diversity, promoting a person-centred approach and involving people in the design and delivery of healthcare.”
Better Health Better Care provides the policy context for the project:
“Health and social care professionals need quick access to information …. Despite good local examples, there is no standard referral system between NHS and non-NHS organisations. A self management framework is therefore required in each area to identify existing support systems and provide a map for staff and the public.”
The Long-Term Conditions Alliance Scotland (LTCAS) recommends improving access to local information on sources of support to self manage.
The ALISS approach
People living with long term conditions are at the centre of ALISS – they have valuable experience and many are thinking … “wouldn’t it be a lot better if …?” about some aspect of their lives. But it’s really hard to turn their idea into something real and practical and to share development with colleagues, carers, professionals and others.
ALISS is supporting people who live with long-term conditions to turn their untapped creative ideas into real proposals by using simple service design processes.
The story so far
We wanted to work with as many stakeholders as possible to help us to think through the type of service needed in order to improve access to local information. These included people living with long term conditions, people with poor literacy skills, the voluntary sector, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government, the information sector, representatives from NESTA, Patient Opinion, Mental Health programmes, and designers (from Glasgow School of Art).
We held 3 workshops, one each in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. We asked participants to think about the future and imagine what would help them live well with long term conditions. Some amazing ideas were developed using innovative service design techniques.
This process culminated in a 2 day event in Glasgow, when we asked a larger group to take the ideas to the level of a ‘business plan’.
Key themes were:
- groups felt empowered to develop ideas that could really make a difference
- social isolation was a constant factor, people wanted to connect with other people and not necessarily local groups and organisations
- a list of requirements for a potential ALISS service emerged
- a new, wide-ranging, multidisciplinary community of people concerned about health and long term conditions was created
- significant opportunities arose to work with existing information providers
ALISS provided a focus for innovation, people had good ideas and plenty of drive to make them happen.
You can read much more about the process and the ideas that were generated here.
The ALISS Engine
We’re building an ALISS Engine to provide the technical infrastructure to collect, index and, link up and deliver information relevant to self management, making resources more visible. Read more about the Engine and how we’re building it.
We’re developing a set of services to support existing information providers who deliver resources for communities and people living with long term conditions. In addition to this, people have asked how ALISS can help them to find local solutions to their information needs. This has encouraged us to think about how ALISS might develop as a collaborative, providing a range of services to support people and organizations who wish to enhance their current service or develop a new resource.
ALISS sees service-design as a crucial approach and method for supporting this. We used service design principles to develop the blueprint of the ALISS engine.
An ALISS Community
We’re seeing a new community grow up around the ALISS project. By bringing together like-minded people and making connections between initiatives at local and national level, ALISS is becoming known as an entity which has attracted interest across a range of disciplines and provided a unique focus for discussion and innovation. ALISS has generated a rich network which could provide a range of services such as:
service design expertise
social enterprise mentoring and guidance on funding
web and technical advice
business development advice
The ALISS project team doesn’t have all of these skills, but has fostered relationships with individuals and organisations who do. For example The ALISS team have developed links with NESTA as they develop their Age Unlimited Programme. NESTA helped the team with the ALISS innovation process.
ALISS and young people
In our ALISS and Communities work-stream, we aim to build on current health improvement work by developing learning experiences which will raise awareness of long term conditions and self management. One of the most important features of any community is their school. We mapped “making sense of local health information” against the Health and Wellbeing stream of Curriculum for Excellence and found many links and overlaps. Some of our work in this area is described here.
Schools can use ALISS to contribute to their communities through their timetable which includes confidence building, Citizenship, IT, Health and Wellbeing, physical end classes. This idea does not present something extra to fit into an already bulging curriculum but can be threaded through already established classes.
We are also contributing to the SGHD ‘Engage a Generation’ project, with the Boys Brigade to develop a learning pack, which will be made available to other youth organisations.