Personal Cloud As Personal Assistant


Summary

Personal clouds can help remove some of the drudgery of dealing with your insurers and healthcare providers. This turns your personal cloud into a personal assistant that automates many of the mundane tasks we face in the information age.

Abandoned Fax Machine

Jon Udell has a great post up at Wired called Goodbye Fax, Hello Personal Cloud about the hassle of dealing with the healthcare system and how personal clouds could help.

Back in February my son lost control of his car and landed in the hospital. Fortunately he has recovered from his injuries. And fortunately we have health insurance. So everything's OK. However, I'm still -- six months later -- trying to untangle the bureaucratic mess that ensued.

There are multiple insurance providers (auto, health) and healthcare providers (hospital, clinic) involved in this game. None of them talk to each other directly. They all emit tokens, in the form of images of documents, that the consumer -- me in this case -- has to decode and route.

From Goodbye Fax, Hello Personal Cloud | Cloudline | Wired.com
Referenced Tue Sep 11 2012 16:12:58 GMT+0200 (UTC)

As Jon points out, there are multiple parties involved and they don't talk to each other or even, necessarily, understand each other. The poor person in the middle is you.

I've been blessed that my wife largely deals with all this. With a family of seven, it's quite the job. She is frequently exasperated with the insurance company or a provider. She spends lots of time on the phone understanding the mismatches and trying to connect things together. I estimate she spends 2 to 3 hours a week on Windley Family healthcare issues. And we're pretty healthy. A chronically ill person generates a commensurate volume of routing work.

All this is to say there's a tremendous opportunity in solving even part of this problem. As Jon says, the personal cloud can help:

When I enter into a business relationship with a provider -- and in this case there are four of them, two insurance providers and two health-care providers -- I authorize them to access my personal cloud. And the authorization is granular. The auto insurer has write access, so it can poke the Exhaustion of Benefits (EOB) token into my cloud data store, but no read access, because it doesn't need that. The hospital and the clinic have read access to just that one document. (Separately they have write access so they can poke bills into my data store.) The hospital and the clinic can also subscribe to notifications, so when the EOB token hits my cloud they know it's there and can access it. Since all access to my cloud is audited, I know when that happens -- or if it doesn't.

From Goodbye Fax, Hello Personal Cloud | Cloudline | Wired.com
Referenced Tue Sep 11 2012 16:22:55 GMT+0200 (UTC)

One key sentence in this quote, and one often overlooked in the personal data {store,locker} discussion says "The hospital and the clinic can also subscribe to notifications, so when the EOB token hits my cloud they know it's there and can access it." This is, to my way of thinking, an event. And it's a critical piece to making this all work. Even if there are APIs for getting to all the data, without events, it's just a pile of data. With events it comes alive, applications can animate it, and our personal cloud starts acting like a personal assistant.