Telecare Soapbox: Thousands of telecare users potentially at risk

Fred Reardon, an independent consultant writes about a life-threatening issue.

At the end of last week I received a letter from my broadband provider Sky [UK entertainment and communications services provider] to inform me of the new and improved network for Sky broadband and that they would be upgrading my service on the 2/2/2010 and that there would be a loss of service for a short time approx 25 minutes. I read through the letter to see what this would mean for me. At the very end of the letter the last paragraph was headed:

Social Alarm and Telecare service
If you have a remotely monitored social alarm service or Telecare services which uses your telephone line, you should contact us straight away. (more…)

Continua’s ‘garden of wonders’ at CES: 5 videos

For your weekend viewing:
1) RTT News interviews Jonathan Linkous of the American Telemedicine Association on how technology and healthcare are converging (4 mins)
2) Larry Chu interviews Chuck Parker, Executive Director of Continua about the alliance, for HCPlive. (7 mins)
3) Tech journo Scott Mace visits the Continua Alliance booth at CES last week–the ‘child’s garden of wonders’ we referred to. The video quality is only fair, but Mr Mace lets the demos speak for themselves. You’ll also get an idea of the Digital Health part of the expo floor. This one includes IBM demonstrating the ‘end-to-end’ solution including A&D, Roche, Eurotech; Nonin Medical and Vignet. (7 mins)
4) Also by Scott Mace, this features Tunstall, Storento (sp?) med monitoring packaging, MedApps and a chronic disease management demo by a Continua representative that includes A&D, LNI Health Link uploading to a Google Health PNR. (10 mins)
5) A crystal clear MedApps demo using a pulse oximetry reading (the subject lived.) (1 min)

Telecare Soapbox: Keeping the care going in adverse weather

Over the past four weeks people in the UK have been experiencing the worst snow and cold winter weather for 30 years and we have had one, now two, press releases from telecare monitoring services praising the dedication of staff in keeping the service monitored and clients safe.

While adversity (especially adverse weather) undoubtedly brings out the best British characteristics of determination and pitting yourself against the odds to keep going – especially where people in care-related jobs are concerned – one wonders what responsibility the managers of services have to put measures in place to ensure that staff are safe and, even, not unduly inconvenienced. For example, have they made arrangements with nearby hotels so that on duty staff can avoid hazardous trips home? Or have they arranged dispersed (home-based) monitoring?

If you have an example of an employer going that extra mile to support his or her staff in these difficult conditions, we’d like to hear it – leave a comment.

Video interview with James Ferguson, Scottish Centre for Telehealth

Length: Unknown

LocalGovTV interviews James Ferguson, clinical lead at the SCT who, according to the publicity, “discusses how a nationwide hi-tech drive is enabling people to communicate with consultants remotely to prevent hospitalization and support carbon reduction targets…Scottish residents can now benefit from video-conferencing and photo assessments to streamline access to healthcare wherever they are located…Mr Ferguson also addresses how to overcome barriers to adopting this technology so that other trusts and local authoritites can realise the enormous benefits.”

The catch is that to view the video you have to give up contact information that will be used for marketing by the video’s unnamed sponsor – and there is no privacy policy on the site which spells out just what else LocalGovTV will or will not do with that information. http://www.localgov.tv/JamesFerguson

Healthcare highlights at International CES

For the healthcare minded, the Consumer Electronics Show (International CES), officially kicking off Thursday (7 Jan) in Las Vegas (but all over the press with Google’s Nexus One, ‘smartbooks’/slates etc.), has a section in the LVCC’s North Hall dedicated to ‘digital health’.  Unfortunately the exhibitor list in this ‘tech zone’ is a bit of a disappointment, with only Continua Alliance and GrandCare Systems of interest to our readers.  The neighboring Silvers Summit ‘tech zone’ has more of interest, with Dakim (brain fitness), Jitterbug (phones), Tabsafe (med dispensing) and Wellcore (fall detection).  But Continua seemingly has a child’s garden of wonders in their booth.  They are demonstrating ‘the first end-to-end connected health solution based on the Continua architecture’:  Nonin Medical’s wireless Bluetooth pulse oximeter sends data to a PC manager running Vignet’s Connected Health Services platform (debuting at CES-release) which is then uploaded to an IBM server.  But…there’s more:  A&D Medical (blood pressure and weight–see recent story on Halo partnership), Lamprey Networks, PDT, Renesas Technology, Tunstall Healthcare (Telehealth Platform–see below–and Connect) and ZyXEL are also demonstrating in the Continua booth. Continua’s release and press advisory.

[Donna Cusano update 7 January] Live from CES–GrandCare Systems hosted their weekly open webinar/conference calls from the just-opened floor.

  • Add to your visiting list: Carnegie-Mellon/University of Pittsburgh (Silvers Summit ‘tech zone’ booth #3013)–their display from their Quality of Life Tech Center is a 64 square foot room demonstrating their latest innovations, including RFID-assisted walls that change moods–color and brightness–to assist those with traumatic brain injury, plus touch screens for vital signs monitoring.  (Thank you Jeff Giuggio from C-M for the short briefing).
  • Wellcore (#2909) is introducing at CES their in and out-of-home fall detector, which will be marketed through the firstStreet catalog starting in March. Beyond the usual accelerometer, it uses algorithms to track and discern type of motion, delivers voice messages from their online website and will prompt to be worn. Out-of-home, the Wellcore monitor connects via Bluetooth to a cell phone.  Releases.

Although this editor isn’t there, we could have an ‘inside source’ for updates…we hope that what happens in Vegas, can’t stay in Vegas!

[Donna Cusano update 8 January] According to this release, at today’s 11am keynote Qualcomm chairman Dr. Paul Jacobs was joined by Dr. Eric Topol of the West Wireless Health Institute to highlight a selection of digital medical devices, including AirStrip OB (AirStrip Technologies), Mobile Baby (Great Connection), PiiX (Corventis) and Vscan (GE Healthcare).