“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…)

The long-term care revolution: two papers

Written for the Technology Strategy Board and published by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, the purpose of the main study is to “outline the case for a revolution in long term care all to be set in a time scale of 2012, 2020 and 2050. This includes evidence about the views of older people and their carers in the UK, lessons from abroad and the implications for industry/providers.” It is written as a ‘study of studies’ on a broadly-scoped problem; it focuses considerably on issues such as care provision, housing (including co-housing and communities) and putting the older person in more control of decisions, housing and tech design. Telehealth and telecare, while not the focus, have a hefty section (pages 32-41) but their conclusions will not be a huge surprise to our readers such as expanding inexpensive, simple assistive technologies, the need for more research and better design. The fact it is comparative is extremely helpful for those who want to see beyond borders, and there is a large section on ethical issues which is certainly unusual in studies of this type.  We thank the lead author, Professor Anthea Tinker, Institute of Gerontology, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London, for providing information on and the PDFs of the studies. Assisted Living Platform – The Long Term Care Revolution and A study of innovatory models to support older people with disabilities in the Netherlands