Telehealth good news story backfires (UK)

Watford New Hope Trust receives CommunityPod courtesy Telehealth Solutions is an item in a local newspaper. It should have been a really positive news story for the company Telehealth Solutions and the WNHT charity but the journalist’s failure to explain what the technology does, or its benefits, has spawned a series of uninformed comments. What a pity. Heads-up thanks to Mike Burton.

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Comments

  1. Yes, what a pity this story has created such a whirl of negativity! The concept of the Community Pod is a multi-user remote monitoring system. The charity will be using it to record demographic and health data of their service users with the aim of better understanding the health and social inequalities faced by this population. They have a number of GPs and services they would like to sign post their service users to (such as substance abuse, addiction, LTCs), and CommunityPod provides a great solution for this. Access could be granted to the local homeless clinic to enable healthcare professionals to view the relevant data collected. The workers at Watford New Hope Trust really believe this system will help their work and provide a wealth of evidence for future service design and commissioning.

    The full news item can be found here: http://www.telehealthsolutions.co.uk/news/2012/12/19/telehealth-solutions-partner-with-watford-new-hope-trust

    We are proud to be supporting such an organisation.

    Hannah – THSL

  2. UpNorthAndToTheRight

    The article was too concise. And please forgive me Hannah, your response was too jargonistic. If the article would have said that ‘WNHT is trying to address health and social issues faced by certain areas of our society by the Pod taking people’s blood pressure and asking some questions about their lifestyle’ (or something along those lines) then that would have cleared it up.
    Also something about who was monitoring or collecting the information and how the systems are medically based and that volunteers are not assessing people. Still time to comment on the article itself?

  3. The case-workers at the charity are not volunteers and part of their current roles is to assess service users and offer treatment and advice. Also, the monitoring proposed is not necessarily health based (i.e. blood pressures) but centre more around the other services they currently offer. There may be a future application for also making this accessible to the local GPs in the same way that conventional telehealth systems can be accessed.

    Apologies for my jargon, it’s not something I was aware of (!).

  4. Cathy

    It is a shame that none of the organisations concerned has stepped in to offer clarification in the article comments themselves.

    On the other hand Hannah your two comments above seem to be at odds with each other as well as with what is stated in the article … perhaps THSL and WNHT need to sit down and agree exactly what the Community Pod will do and clarify the situation.

    The barriers we face in encouraging adoption of assistive technologies include ignorance and fear … press articles like that one do a lot to increase those barriers.

    On a personal note I wholeheartedly applaud all attempts to improve services for homeless people – having spent several hours a few months ago trying to find services to signpost for a nephew who believed that he was not entitled to any mental health support because he was homeless. So please do get the picture right and promote the services rather than undermining them.

  5. UNATTR

    We slip into jargon without realising it. If you said to me ‘multi-user remote monitoring system’ then I know what you mean. Say it to a staff nurse, a person on the street, a GP even and most would not have a clue. Even ‘commissioning’ is something that I need to explain to some people. I imagine everyone knows nothing about what I do and so I speak to them accordingly until proved otherwise.

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