Telecare Soapbox: When is a healthcare company a healthcare company?

Steve Hards asks “What questions should telehealth commissioners be asking suppliers?”

Now that the laughter in the UK’s telecare/telehealth community over Tunstall’s name change in the UK to ‘Tunstall Healthcare’ has subsided into a rather nervous giggle, it’s an appropriate time to raise the question of what criteria does a company have to meet to be recognised as a healthcare company?

To qualify, does a company have to undertake healthcare as the public would understand it, i.e. providing the services of doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals?

Or can it just employ a nurse as an adviser?

What if a company has been supplying say, bedding, or computers, to hospitals?

Or is it enough for a company to repeat “healthcare, healthcare, healthcare” mantra-like, in the hope of hypnotising its sales prospects?

Well, of course, these are rhetorical questions since the answer is, as Lewis Carroll put into the mouth of  Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the looking-glass, “When I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

However, as the potential size of the telehealth market world-wide is attracting attention from all sorts of companies, the question is whether commissioners of telehealth services understand that they will need to probe the healthcare credentials of the companies they are dealing with. Perhaps readers would like to suggest questions that commissioners should be asking.

Categories: Soapbox.


  1. Charles

    Healthcare companies
    1.Seems like other “traditional social alarm manufacturers” are also in the healthcare market!

    “Tynetec has been entered into the Medilink UK National Awards, which recognises the UK’s most innovative healthcare companies”

    2.Do telehealth commissioners exist yet?

    3.To answer your question what criteria does a company have to meet to be recognised as a healthcare company? How about these suggestions?

    a)Companies that provide services and products to support users maximise thir care close or in their own home and minimise their use of hopitals. Examples could include minimising the consequences of a fall, ensuring that a low living environment temperature doesn’t exacerbate a chronic heart condition, managing medication efectively,and of course the much more obvious telehealth applications of managing long term conditions in the community including the use of self care.

    b) Any company that supplies products approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency.

    c)Perhaps the simplest definition is any company who gets asked questions by telehealth commissioners!