Knowing who has patented what previously is a perpetual headache for developers of new devices. Now, CambridgeIP, a provider of online patent search has produced an app so that you can run searches on your phone. We are not sure why you would not want to use a desktop machine for such searches, but we guess they know their customers best! DiscoverIP.
When editor Donna passed an item from iHealthBeat to me, her comment was “Just as the DOD and VA are fighting over systems, maybe VA can make a few pounds selling VistA to the NHS!” Well, it’s much more interesting than that!
The iHealthBeat item is about a £285,000 ($430,000) exchange programme – of “leaders, staff and ideas” – to see what people from NHS England and the Veterans Health Administration (VA) could learn from each other about digital records and technologies. (This follows the scandalously expensive collapse in 2011 of the NHS’s attempt to develop its own national electronic record system.) Digging around some more, we discover from an item by eHealthInsider that the exchange programme began as part of the 3millionlives (3ML) initiative to compare notes on telehealth monitoring. With 3ML now being incorporated into NHS England, we find that the extended remit of the exchange programme has relegated telehealth to what many seem regard as its proper place in the scheme of things – the sidelines.
The Wessex Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC), the Southampton University-based initiative that supports telehealth and telecare activity across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and South Wiltshire is holding an ‘Innovation Month’ event which, this week, features their telehealth and telecare work (which has been outstanding amongst the UK regional-based activities). In addition to the information on this web page, people who follow their Twitter feed (@WessexHIEC) will be receiving links to lots of telehealth and telecare resources this week including videos, training resources and presentations.
In a ‘David v Goliath’ battle on 4th July at the Technology4Good Awards organised by AbilityNet, myhomehelper – a computer-based reminder system for people with dementia – won ‘The People’s Award’ i.e. it was the most popular of 10 entrants voted for by the public. Read the story from the perspective of myhomehelper founder Kevin Marsch here. Information on the awards which may interest others for next year here. Heads-up thanks to Mike Burton, Telecare Coordinator, Hull City Council.
Heartwarming story of Jara, a 15 year old Labrador/Collie cross, who was trained nine years ago by the Dog Aid charity to help his owner Kerrie whenever she has a seizure. As soon as one occurs he pulls an alarm cord in her flat that alerts her telecare control centre which then sends assistance. As well as sounding the alarm Jara is trained to fetch Kerrie’s medication and to bring a special ball on a rope which he can use to help pull Kerrie upright as she comes out of a fit. But now he is ‘retiring’ and has been given an award by the telecare provider Welbeing. (Good for them!) Full story: ‘Alarm’ Dog Jara Given Welbeing Retirement Award.
Related: Previous TTA alarm dog item, May 2012.
In February we reported and commented on the clumsy tender by Worcestershire County Council for ‘Supply of a Solution for Assistive Technology for Worcestershire’ as part of its 3millionlives (3ML) Pathfinder site status. The tender process should have completed and been awarded some weeks ago and yet we cannot find any reference on the internet to the outcome. Does any reader have a link to an announcement we have missed? All we have seen referencing Worcestershire lately is a gushing – but apparently unrelated to the tender – press release by Tunstall on 25th June in praise of its long-standing partner organisation Worcestershire Telecare a service supplier that is independent of the council.
Despite the echos of star (reward) charts for children as recommended by Supernanny, the issuing of stars by the European Commission to cities in recognition of developing ways of helping older people is probably a Good Thing. It provides a mechanism for recognition of good practice and a means of promoting healthy competition. It also means that, in order to rate the cities, someone somewhere has to have a vision of what is ultimately possible. There are six categories of innovation in the EU’s ratings: medication adherence, fall prevention, frailty and malnutrition, integrated care, independent living and age-friendly environments. Good examples have been noted from Andalusia, Scotland, the Basque region and Portugal. There are details in the press release. Moreover, it is not just about recognising good practice it is about sharing it via a Digital Market Place for Innovative Ideas. Perhaps the rating process holds some ideas for NHS England as it wonders how to promote telehealth. Hat tip to Bob Pyke.
Back in May we wondered if it might not be time for the 3ML initiative to be “moved to a new home” But this week’s low-key 3ML announcement (undated) that it has moved (from where it used to couch surf, with the Telecare Services Association) to a new home within NHS England’s Medical Directorate* leaves one wondering whether the also desired “reinvigorated and regenerated” will come about.
The move seems to confirm the widely held suspicion that, despite assurances about 3ML including telecare, it is really about telehealth. This is reinforced in the language of the announcement which is quick to reference clinicians. But how will NHS England get the ‘real’ NHS to adopt telehealth in practice? By being “a true partnership and synergy within NHS England” of course! [Glad to see, by the way, that it will be “delivered going forward”, not delivered backwards!]
We wonder too whether NHS England will continue to accept funding from 3ML’s private company partners. If it does not, it will not be the 3ML partnership originally envisioned and if it does, it could become a political embarrassment.
Has 3ML just been hit from the sandpit of the bunker into the long grass of the rough?
* “The English NHS is controlled by the UK government through the Department of Health (DH), which takes political responsibility for the service. Resource allocation and oversight was delegated to NHS England, an arms-length body, by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.” Wikipedia.
Local radio is a great way to reach people who are not glued to the internet over breakfast, so congratulations to Eastbourne-based Welbeing for getting BBC West Midlands to run a two-part feature on telecare on Friday. Readers who want to listen have a couple of days left. As this is a radio programme it may be available outside the UK – skip to 1hr 07min 58s for the first part and 2hr 06min 27s for the second. Each section is about 8 minutes long. The clips feature a widow called Mavis who has had two strokes, who falls frequently but who is determined to live in her own home as long as possible. When the broadcast is no longer available read her story here: Welbeing Lifeline is a ‘Life Saver’ for five falls Mavis.
Three noteworthy items of news from Ireland thanks to Toni Bunting, Editor, TANN Ireland:
- Launch of Northern Ireland’s first Electronic Care Record system “will improve the speed, quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery”.
- SilverCloud Health raises €1.5m to target global e-therapy market New e-therapy platform for people with depression or chronic illness.
- Fujitsu Launches Research Project to Provide Health Monitoring Technologies and Assisted Independent Living “monitoring services and assisted independent living for senior citizens and patients who live in smart houses”. [It will be interesting to see how what they produce compares with the outcome of this study. TTA 9 May]
As flagged up in TTA last October, [start here and follow the links back] The Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) has now issued a tender for a telehealth and telecare systems framework agreement. It will run for four years and comprises three ‘lots’:
- A single online shop for products (and possibly services): “products included in the catalogue can be updated, increased or revised at any time in response to innovations in the market place and evolving client needs”
- Managed service provision: “a list of proven, specialist suppliers who are able to undertake this for [service commissioners]. This may include some or all of: service user assessment, equipment supply, service monitoring, and response…we intend to restrict the number of suppliers…to approximately 6” [Emphasis ours]
- Consultancy services: “a list of suitably experienced consultants who are able to provide specialist advice to commissioners on the topics of telecare and telehealth”
The EU and UK laws on tendering for supplies and services are extremely burdensome on suppliers and commissioners alike but (more…)
According to an article in its local newspaper, The Yorkshire Post, Tunstall continued to grow last year, mostly due to a number of acquisitions outside of the UK. However, it also grew its UK revenues by 9.7% in 2012 which probably demonstrates the value of being the most known brand in the market in very uncertain times. Financial details, and short video interview with UK & Ireland managing director Simon Arnold: Tunstall reaping rewards of NHS shake-up.
In a content-packed edition of this newsletter one 6-page item stands out for special attention. It’s Mike Clark’s ‘summary’ of telehealth, called Telehealth, how are we doing? which begins on page 17. Mike turns his laser-like attention on the UK’s telehealth issues including those arising from the WSD programme results and orders them into an easy-to-read logical sequence and draws some measured conclusions. It’s a pity it is not available as a standalone report for wider circulation. June Telecare LIN newsletter (PDF) plus separate news item list supplement (PDF)
One of the links in the newsletter is to the Department of Health’s 2013-14 Corporate Plan which includes a list of its achievements for 2012-13. Search it as much as you like for any telehealth-related keywords, you will not find any. It looks like DH has brushed it off its hands and moved on. Which, given its recent toxic-touch history may not be a bad thing.