Steve Hards asks “What questions should telehealth commissioners be asking suppliers?”
Now that the laughter in the UK’s telecare/telehealth community over Tunstall’s name change in the UK to ‘Tunstall Healthcare’ has subsided into a rather nervous giggle, it’s an appropriate time to raise the question of what criteria does a company have to meet to be recognised as a healthcare company?
To qualify, does a company have to undertake healthcare as the public would understand it, i.e. providing the services of doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals?
Or can it just employ a nurse as an adviser?
What if a company has been supplying say, bedding, or computers, to hospitals?
Or is it enough for a company to repeat “healthcare, healthcare, healthcare” mantra-like, in the hope of hypnotising its sales prospects?
Well, of course, these are rhetorical questions since the answer is, as Lewis Carroll put into the mouth of Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the looking-glass, “When I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
However, as the potential size of the telehealth market world-wide is attracting attention from all sorts of companies, the question is whether commissioners of telehealth services understand that they will need to probe the healthcare credentials of the companies they are dealing with. Perhaps readers would like to suggest questions that commissioners should be asking.