Will there be more remote consultation pilots than BA has, as well?

News comes via Prof Mike Short of another remote consultation pilot planned – this time the ELECTOR project involving Denmark, UK and the Czech Republic. As it seems to have no website yet, we can only offer a Twitter handle. There’s also info on the Brit in the video on the above link, Dr Anthony Leeds, on the University of Surrey website, (explaining that he has recently been appointed a Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen).

This information comes a few days after the previous remote consultation pilot we covered that was featured in Pulse. Is this reviewer being unduly pessimistic in wondering whether we are about to suffer the same pilotitis that afflicted telehealth that led to the original “more pilots than BA” jibe? If so, what can be done?

Well one obvious cause of the problem is (more…)

2015: a few predictions (UK-biased)

As intimated in our review of last year’s predictions, we feel little need to change course significantly, however some are now done & dusted, whereas others have a way to go. The latter include a concern about doctors, especially those in hospitals, continuing to use high-risk uncertified apps where the chance of injury or death of a patient is high if there is an error in them. Uncertified dosage calculators are considered particularly concerning.

Of necessity this is an area where clinicians are unwilling to be quoted, and meetings impose Chatham House rules. Suffice to say therefore that the point has now been well taken, and the MHRA are well aware of general concerns. Our first prediction therefore is that:

One or more Royal College/College will advise or instruct its members only to use CE-certified or otherwise risk-assessed medical apps.

The challenge here of course is that a restriction to CE-certified apps-only would be a disaster as many, if not most, apps used by clinicians do not meet the definition of a Medical Device and so could not justifiably be CE-certified. And apps are now a major source of efficiencies in hospitals – (more…)

New TSA Chief Executive appointed shortly before their conference begins (UK)

The TSA has provided us with the following announcement this morning:

TSA GEARS UP FOR EVOLVING SECTOR WITH NEW LEADERSHIP

Telecare Services Association is excited to announce that Alyson Bell will be taking over leadership of the industry body, as part of radical changes to lead, represent and promote the evolving sector.

After 4 and a half years of leading TSA, its current Chief Executive Trevor Single, will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. Trevor commented: “The organisation (more…)

The sun is in his heaven and all’s well with the world?

It’s tempting to think that nothing much has changed in the world of telehealth & telecare recently. For example the quality of healthcare PR looks to be unchanged, if the recent announcement by Telehealth Sensors is anything to go by. They claim to have developed  an incontinence sensor that is “a revolutionary advancement in the home healthcare and post-acute care monitoring market.” Careful reading suggests this “revolutionary advancement” is based on the property of water, apparently only recently recognised by Telehealth Sensors,  that it conducts electricity (especially if its impure) – so advanced in fact that such sensors with a rather longer lifetime than the 30 days claimed by Telehealth Sensors, have (more…)

A salmagundi of (mainly free) opportunities to learn more about health technology this autumn (UK)

UKTI Belgium is running an excellent webinar series on eHealth & the European Union. Dates/times are:

  1. Thu, Nov 13, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT
  2. Tue, Dec 2, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT

During these webinars they will discuss tools that will enable you and your organisation to react to EU opportunities and challenges. For more information and to register go here.

TechUK and the BCS are running another of their very successful Healthtech Startup Schools, starting on Monday 20 October, ending on Monday 08 December. It is at techUK London , 10 St Bride Street, London , EC4A 4AD. Registration is here.

The University of Bath’s Assisted Living Action Network (ALAN) is holding an evening meeting in Bristol on 22nd October entitled on the flyer “Digital Health Apps: Insider views on the Challenges and Opportunities”, and on the website “Understanding the new regulatory and information environment for health apps”. It is being addressed by many worthies including Rob Turpin of BSI and Graham Worsley, recently retired from the TSB and now assembling a portoflio of really interesting roles. Book here

The GSMA has announced a whole bunch of awards for 2015 – entries are now open. Don’t dismiss them without checking each one out first – for example the Best Connected Life Award has eight categories, each with an award, including Best Mobile Innovation for Health. (If you wonder why this is under opportunities to learn (more…)

Another great free event – come to DHACA-day on 7th October in Liverpool! (UK)

DHACA, the Digital Health and Care Alliance, formed earlier this year and already past the 250 members level, is holding its second DHACA-day on 7th October, at Anfield Stadium (yes free tours will be available during the day for those interested).

DHACA, currently part of the TSB-funded dallas programme, was established to grow the use of digital technology in the delivery of health & social care through promoting interoperability and scale. DHACA will be the space where members collaborate on requirements and on solution development, resulting in things being done once, and shared. to achieve this, DHACA is developing a range of member-driven Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that will (more…)

A few observations from September’s Health Technology Forum London

On Wednesday 17th September, Health Technology Forum members gathered at Baker Botts’ office in London for a couple of key presentations on legal aspects of medical software.

The first, by Joe Hagan-Brown, Regulatory Affairs Specialist at the MHRA, covered the EU’s medical device-specific regulation. The second, by Alex Denoon of Lawford Davies Denoon, was a presentation on the EU’s data protection regulation.

Readers with long memories will recall that I summarised medical device-specific regulation a while back; much of what Joe said added colour to that summary. A few comments he made are perhaps worthy of repetition (more…)

One week to go to the first (free to attend) DHACA-Day July 11th

On July 11th, the free-to-join Digital Health And Care Alliance (DHACA) will be holding it’s first members’ day. The primary aim of DHACA-Day is to kick start operational activity within the Alliance. DHACA will respond to members’ priorities through the vehicle of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which members are free to join in accordance with their interests. DHACA SIGs will generally follow the requirements gathering processes, leading to the generation of assets in the form of Interoperability Profiles, Guidance, Informational Briefings, and Reference Material.

Key to getting off to a good start will be the optimum selection and scoping of SIGs, and so during DHACA-Day we want firstly to hear from members, and then collectively to propose and define the priority SIGs from the key issues emerging.

To begin the process, the morning will comprise a range of motivational speakers talking on key topics such as integrated care, citizen identity, technology enabling care services and future challenges.

The event is being held in the DTG offices very close to Vauxhall tube station and is free to attend – sign up here for a great day!

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” take II (UK)

Names again! E-Health Insider today has published a typo-prone summary of a Technology Strategy Board survey of the public’s understanding of “‘health and safety devices”. Unsurprisingly, just as most people would not know what acetylsalicylic acid is (though would be happy to take it when it was called aspirin), so only 10% knew that “‘health and safety devices” meant telecare and telehealth. Not sure I’d get that one right either.

There is better news though. The article also quotes the survey as finding that “38% of people said they did not understand the benefits for both self-care technologies and for health and care apps for smartphones and tablets” which I reckon is fantastically marvellous because it means that 62% of the population did understand the benefits of these technologies, which is a heck of a lot more than I suspect a random sample of GPs would, and shows we have been successful beyond our wildest dreams, especially if those happen to be concentrated in the oldest 62% of the population.

Sadly not all was quite so good as “…the research found that 43% of people would not consider telehealth because they would prefer to be seen by their clinician face to face.” Just as whenever in conversation someone tells me they wouldn’t share their health data, and I’ve asked whether they’d still feel like that if they were lying dying in the street and could be saved only if a clinician had instant access to that data, so I wonder if the question had been posed,  as with our local surgery for non-urgent consultations, “would you prefer to wait 28 calendar days to see your clinician face to face or would you be consider remote consultation within 24 hours”, the answer might be slightly different.

The good side of course is that (more…)

mHealth: a salmagundi of items

Overloaded with Horizon2020 proposal adjudication and conference management (including the first DHACA members’ day on 11th July), this editor has been unable to do much Telehealth & Telecare Aware blogging. However the interesting items have continued to attract my attention and Prof Mike short (especially), Alex Wyke and Nicholas Robinson have continued to add further to the pile (huge thanks to all). So much seems worth highlighting: where to start? Perhaps with the 18 factors to make telemedicine a success, enumerated by the EU-funded Momentum project. Telecare Aware readers will be unsurprised by all 18, which look pretty basic. However many will notice obvious absences, such as the need to adduce evidence of the success of the intervention. Gluttons for punishment will find much more (more…)

EU green paper on mHealth – VERY IMPORTANT

This week the European Commission published its green paper on mHealth previously announced in the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, kicking off a broad stakeholder consultation on existing barriers and issues related to mHealth deployment and helping to identify the right way forward to unlock mHealth potential. To accompany it, a very short video by Neelie Kroes is available. An accompanying short (10 page) paper by the EC on the current legal position for people using health & wellbeing apps is also well worth a read. Finally, to complete the set, the EC has produced an mHealth infographic as well.

Responses to the Green Paper are required to the European Commission by 3rd July at the latest.

In view of the potential for mHealth to benefit everyone if correctly regulated and supported, all readers are urged to respond, either individually or collectively via an industry body (eg DHACA – see below), or both.

The document, at only 19 pages long, is hugely impressive, making an excellent case for (more…)

Encouraging signs of change

A couple of recent articles have given me hope, after a really depressing session at my local surgery today for an NHS Health Check.  It began when I spotted two adjacent notices in the waiting room, the first encouraging patients to access the surgery’s online facilities, and the second banning the use of mobile devices. It descended further when after producing the form I’d been asked to complete about height, weight, alcohol consumption, family history of disease etc., I was asked every question all over. When I protested, I was told that as most patients don’t fill in the form, or forget it, they ask patients anyway. (Discretion suggested it probably wasn’t the right time to suggest that perhaps that was why people don’t fill in forms…)

However the first article, by Zahid Latif, who heads up healthcare for the Technology Strategy Board, indicates a restlessness with the current use of patient data that appeals to me.  He goes on to explain how the projects in the TSB’s dallas programme (more…)

Digital Health and Care Alliance opens for business; free membership available (UK)

As the dallas programme approaches its halfway point, one of its four projects, i-focus, has formed an organisation to continue the promotion of interoperability across the health & care sector beyond the end of dallas. The Alliance, with the acronym DHACA, will help NHS organisations, local authorities and third-sector providers collaborate and share information about new digital services.  This will significantly help members reduce costs, remove duplication of effort and improve support for independent living and self-management projects, resulting in much-improved patient outcomes. DHACA will operate across the full health and social care spectrum. Targeted at forward-thinking, engaged, health and care professionals as well as technology suppliers, DHACA will provide experienced assistance, trusted processes and in-depth knowledge to:

  • Define and share best practice services, technologies and business models
  • Define and share business requirements for future procurement and roadmapping
  • Better use existing investments, assets and infrastructure
  • Ensure quality, interoperability with other systems and future-proofing

Membership is currently free – more information and joining arrangements here. (Disclosure editor Charles Lowe has been recruited by ADI, as interim director of DHACA, to establish it – the medical apps work previously published on TTA will now be taken forwards in DHACA)

Driving up medical app usage in the UK – part III: conclusions

This series of posts covers some work I have been doing over the past three months: attempting to answer the question of how best to improve the perception by clinicians and patients of the efficacy of health-related apps. This work has been done for the i-Focus project, part of the Technology Strategy Board’s dallas programme.

Part I briefly summarised the EU regulations covering health-related apps. The point was made that any health-related app must comply with data protection and consumer protection requirements, irrespective of whether the risk level is sufficient for it to be classified as a ‘medical device’. Where an app is classified as a ‘medical device’ it also has to be classified so that the appropriate adjudication work can be determined for it to receive a CE mark (Class I, lowest risk, requires least investigation; Class III, highest risk, requires greatest investigation).

Part II summarised the principal findings from discussions with a very wide range of potential stakeholders, from patients to consultants, and from individual app developers to chief executives of app curation companies.  The key findings were:

  • There is currently little academically-endorsed evidence of medical app efficacy, though much anecdotal evidence;
  • There are too many bogus apps around;
  • There are safety worries – for example where clinicians are using unregulated apps to manage medication dosage;
  • The process for obtaining certification is unclear;
  • Some app developers are ignoring data privacy legislation;
  • The business model for achieving sales via the NHS is not well understood.

In addition, a theme running through both posts is that there is an international dimension to this issue, with some countries, notably the US, well advanced in certain aspects.

From these findings, four key conclusions emerge: (more…)