History Project: Early pendant alarm (photo)

Person with a pendant alarm in the early 1980s. The ‘hub’ is on the shelf.

Person with pendant alarm in early 1980s

Crown copyright.

Source: Staying at home: Helping elderly people HMSO 1984.
Author: Professor Anthea Tinker (To whom many thanks for the copy).

As far as we know this study was the first evaluation of housing options for older people that included costings and detailed information on various alarm systems. It was based on surveys for the Department of the Environment (DOE, as it was at the time) of all council housing departments in England and Wales in 1977. The research was undertaken between 1977 and1983 and the surveys had a 92% response rate and were followed by phone interviews.

Telecare Soapbox: When will telehealth companies start generating income?

Jacques von Speyer, CEO of US Tele-Medicine reflects on his recent experience of talking to industry leaders at the ATA conference.

I was at the ATA conference a couple of weeks ago and found a certain commonality; no one is making money right now in telemedicine. Of all the device vendors, both the new ones from Korea, Taiwan, China, Israel, France and Switzerland, to the branded names like Intel, GE, AT&T, Bosch, Honeywell and the others, not one of them has produced an important single flow of income.

The entire industry seems to be waiting for some payor or another to step forward and be the first to implement a national system of sufficient proportions to kick start telemedicine in the USA. One difficulty to achieving that is the fact that US industries and governments are in abeyance until the election, and the prospect of redefining how someone approaches healthcare and its delivery, based on an uncertain economic indicators, is difficult. Entities are comfortable with the status-quo and after all, eventually, everyone seems to be receiving healthcare irrespective of cost or time involved. So where is the incentive to change? It appears that not even the inherent savings appropriated in most telemedicine programs is enough of a motivator to push telemedicine along in the USA.

Basically we are all waiting for the ‘eventuality’ to take place, and it will. The challenge for most, however, is to stick around long enough to benefit from it.

Jacques von Speyer
US Tele-Medicine

The forefront of mHealth: Learning from Saxon times

Spend 15 minutes with a cup of coffee and the video below to hear Dr Leslie Saxon sum up the present situation for remote monitoring of patients with heart implants and the case for, and current limitations on, mHealth generally. “It’s a civil rights issue.” Wow! It’s better than many a two-day conference. Don’t miss the anecdotes that start at 8mins 45secs.

See this TEDMED page for biographical information on Dr Saxon.

RELATED NEWS ITEM May 16, 2012: Philips has announced the latest addition to the company’s remote diagnostic arrhythmia and remote patient monitoring portfolio, CardioCare Wireless Arrhythmia Services, to streamline the complex process of remotely monitoring cardiac patients and capture critical information sooner. Only in the US at present. HealthTech item.

Who, What, When? The History Project

What Who Designed It Who Did It First Date Evidence Source
First telephonic diagnosis (See comment below) 1879 The Lancet 29 Nov 1879, Page 819
Pendant alarm
Fridge monitor
GPS tracker for people with dementia
Device for asking health questions remotely

Founding of Association of Social Alarm Providers (ASAP) in the UK

1989? TA comment
‘Button and box’ Andrew Dibner Lifeline Inc in the States TA comment
opening of the first 24 hour call monitoring centre Stockport? 1979 TA comment
Alarm protocols from security industry adopted into social alarm systems TA comment
Publication of the ‘Three Generations of Telecare’ model 1996 Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare (JTT)
EXTRA (EXtended Telecare Remote Alarms) Technology in Healthcare (a spin-out from Bangor University) Licensed to Tunstall 1997- 2001 Products granted Millennium Product status in 2000 TA comment
FRED, a smart fall detector Gareth Williams (See EXTRA entry) TA comment
Successful telecare trials for frail older people and for people with dementia Anglesey, Cheshire, County Durham, Northern Ireland and Northamptonshir e 1998 -2001 TA comment
Large scale Opening Doors for Older People trial and roll-out Tunstall-led consortium including Technology in Healthcare, Possum and Motion Media West Lothian 2001-2004 TA comment
Activity monitoring that could be used to detect dangerous behaviour or patterns of activity for assessment purpose Technology in Healthcare’s MIDAS system (subsequently redeveloped by Tunstall as ADLife) Cheshire, County Durham and Londonderry 2001 TA comment
Remote vital signs monitoring (telehealth) RGB systems by Tunstall Carlisle, West Yorkshire and Medway? TA comment
Mobile-phoned based telecare medical alarm Vodafone  2001 TA comment
Safety Confirmation ‘I’m OK Button’ and Pellonia monitoring software. James Batchelor Alertacall 2005  Waybackmachine website sceenshot
ASAP becomes TSA
Telecare Code of Practice published Telecare Services Association (TSA)
Wire-free sleep monitor  University College Dublin  Omron, Japan  May 2012  Press release

Telecare Soapbox: Telehealth apples and pears

Independent consultant cardiologist Dr Lance Forbat, whose work using telehealth monitoring Telecare Aware has reported a number of times, responds to the recent headline on the Mayo Clinic study that telehealth monitoring appeared to treble death rates and points out that in comparing monitoring people at home with and without telehealth monitoring they were not comparing like-for-like.

If I do a twice daily ward round on my patients and look at the physiological signs recorded by the nurse and take a history, possibly pick up on unnoticed issues that my years of experience detect, I would like to think I make an impact on the outcome of patients’ illnesses as well as their sense of well being… (more…)