Telehealth Soapbox: Do something great!

Roy Lilley, the UK media’s highest-profile commentator on the NHS, telehealth supporter and previously chair (twice) of the TSA conference, writes a several-times-a-week newsletter commenting on events and developments in the UK that affect the NHS. It is required reading for anyone, including private sector suppliers, who need to understand what is happening in the NHS. (Sign up here) His newsletter article today, although not about telehealth, touched a particular nerve because the ‘i’ word he excoriates in the NHS context is frequently bandied about in the telehealth context. The article is reproduced here, with permission, and our thanks.

It’s annoying. Everywhere I turn it’s there; inappropriate, the wrong context and unsuitable. It’s stuck to my shoe. I can’t scrape it off. Over the last two weeks wherever I’ve been, PowerPoint presentation after PowerPoint presentation misused it and misrepresented its intent… (more…)

Is ‘telemedicine’ just ‘healthcare’ yet?

In English, there is a well-recognised pattern in the development of some terminologies. Beginning with the ‘old’ technology, a new descriptive element is added when ‘new’ technology comes along. In time, the new terminology is shortened – often just going back to the original. Take, for example: carriage > horseless carriage > motor carriage > car. Or, a more recent one that is still in a state of flux: telephone > phone > mobile(cell)phone > smartphone > phone. Is this happening yet with terms like ‘telemedicine’, ‘telehealth’, mhealth, etc? Some people like to think so, as in this blog post Redefining telemedicine as a routine clinical practice. However, as much as enthusiasts of the technology like to anticipate such changes and, in doing so, to ‘help them along’ (it has its origins in magic, perhaps) the weight of linguistic history indicates that such changes only happen when there is a consensus in the general population that the once-new technology is now the norm. Heads-up thanks to Bob Pyke.

Telecare Soapbox: Who can purchasers trust? (UK)

Editor Steve Hards frets about a dilemma for telehealth and telecare service purchasers.

Imagine that you are ‘a commissioner’ in a position to influence plans for local NHS or council spending, or you could be in a position of influence within an NHS trust, or a council.

You are acutely aware of past, current and impending funding pressures. Positive messages about telehealth and telecare technologies and their potential to facilitate changes in the way services are provided – and possibly to ease some of those funding pressures – have somehow penetrated your noisy environment.

You are reasonably convinced that services locally should ‘do something’ about it. You start convincing others. You build enough momentum to get to the point of someone drawing up a commissioning specification.

What do you put in it? (more…)

Telehealth Soapbox: When the elephant in the room has no smartphone

Carolyn Thomas, a Canadian writer, Mayo Clinic-trained advocate for women’s heart health and herself a heart attack survivor, observes the parade of self-monitoring and Quantified Selfing by ‘urban datasexuals’ at Stanford University’s Medicine X conference at end of September. Originally published in her blog Heart Sisters.

stanford med x conference centreShortly after arriving at Stanford University School of Medicine to attend the conference called Medicine X (“at the intersection of medicine and emerging technologies”), it hit me that I didn’t quite belong there. Maybe, I wondered, the conference organizers (like the profoundly amazing Dr. Larry Chu) may have goofed by awarding me an “ePatient Scholarship” – rather than a more tech-savvy, wired and younger patient in my stead.

Please don’t get me wrong – I was and still am duly thrilled and humbled to be chosen as one of 30 participants invited to attend MedX as ePatient scholars, generously funded by Alliance Health after we met selection criteria like “a history of patient engagement, community outreach and advocacy”.

But almost immediately, I started feeling like a bit of a fraud… (more…)

Telecare Soapbox: Let’s deal with the inequalities of the Framework Agreement (UK)

Regular Telecare Aware readers will know our long-standing general concern about the market-distorting effect of the UK Government’s Telecare, Telehealth and Telecoaching Framework Agreement for procuring such services. John Guyatt, Director of Solutions4Health spells out what that means from the perspective of a relatively new company in the field.

I was recently preparing a bid for a telehealth service being commissioned in the next few months, when I realised that the exercise only allowed bids from companies already in the Government’s framework agreement.

We’ve been active with products in the telehealth business for the past 18 months, but we are excluded because we weren’t providing telehealth solutions when this framework agreement was first introduced about three years ago.

That’s several generations in the technology world and therefore raises a number of issues… (more…)

Best use of telehealth and telecare (UK)

Illustrating the point that even in the UK the terms telehealth and telecare are used in a variety of ways, the four EHealth Insider Awards 2012 finalists in the ‘Best use of telehealth and telecare’ category included three which were loosely ‘telecoaching’ (as defined by the National Framework Agreement) and only one which we would rate as telecare. Happily, it was the winner: NHS Lothian and East Lothian Council – telecare in care homes to reduce falls. Best use of telehealth and telecare finalists. Awards results.