It is usually the large scale telehealth and telecare projects that hit the news, be it for their successes or, indeed, failures. So as the new year starts, let’s celebrate a couple of smaller scale projects which have made progress recently.
From Coldwater, Michigan, we have a student telehealth scheme opening this month. With significant funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health, clinics will be opened in two schools in Branch County to provide primary healthcare services from a central Adolescent and Pediatric Center which has four physicians and a nurse practioner. A school based nurse provides physical assessment of students in need and, if appropriate, links via video to the Center to consult a physician or the nurse practitioner. Diagnostic equipment at the schools are also networked so the Center staff have access to these in real time. Prescriptions, if needed are sent direct to a convenient pharmacy. The state funding provides the majority of costs for equipment, a nurse at each school and operation for 3 years. See Branch County CHC website for more details.
From the other side of the Atlantic, in Doncaster, England, the local council’s telecare service reported that it has reached its 1,000th user. Doncaster’s service povides access to a comprehensive range of sensors from simple fall detectors to other sensors placed discreetly around the home on ceilings, doors, walls, beds and chairs. The 24-hour monitoring service attracts a weekly charge under £4 and there is no charge for the equipment. The benefit to the user is obvious and the Council benefits too, as it has an obligation to provide care services to residents who are unable to live at home.