To quote from the O2 website: “We would like to let you know that O2 Health has taken the difficult decision to stop selling our telecare (Help at Hand) and telehealth (Health at Home) in the UK. We will cease providing the Help at Hand and Health at Home services to existing customers.”
There are more details on the website – the reason given for the decision is that the uptake of mobile telecare and telehealth in the UK marketplace has been slower than anticipated.
As someone who attended the launch of Help at Hand in March, and who has been really excited about O2’s decision to move into the end-consumer market as the harbinger of the development of a consumer telemonitoring service market, this has left me in a state of shock.
There are of course now apps that can make a standard smartphone or tablet behave in a similar manner to the dedicated kit that O2 has provided. However the principal challenge with retail sales of telecare and telehealth has always been the monitoring/response end, which O2 will now presumably be withdrawing.
A sad day!
Update 26 July: A reader has sent us a snap of the O2 display taken today at their local (Hertfordshire) Tesco pharmacy counter. That person spoke with the pharmacist who said they hadn’t been told it had been withdrawn! This Editor (Donna) notes that the display is jammed in adjacent to the £5 Cholesterol Check and flyers for ‘Are You At Risk For Diabetes?’ Aside from its unattractiveness and medicalization, whatever happened to what presumably was the marketing takeaway message–freedom to live life out of the home in safety for the first time, delivered simply? Looks like the POS (point of sale) missed that all-important mark.