mHealth: a salmagundi of items

Overloaded with Horizon2020 proposal adjudication and conference management (including the first DHACA members’ day on 11th July), this editor has been unable to do much Telehealth & Telecare Aware blogging. However the interesting items have continued to attract my attention and Prof Mike short (especially), Alex Wyke and Nicholas Robinson have continued to add further to the pile (huge thanks to all). So much seems worth highlighting: where to start? Perhaps with the 18 factors to make telemedicine a success, enumerated by the EU-funded Momentum project. Telecare Aware readers will be unsurprised by all 18, which look pretty basic. However many will notice obvious absences, such as the need to adduce evidence of the success of the intervention. Gluttons for punishment will find much more (more…)

2014: the year of reckoning for the ‘better mousetraps’

Or, the Incredible Immutability of the Gartner Hype Cycle

From Editor Donna, her take on the ‘mega-trend’ of 2014

This Editor expected that her ‘trends for next year’ article would be filled with Sensors, Wearables, Glasses, Smartwatches, 3D Printing, Tablets and Other Whiz-Bang Gizmos, with splashes of color from Continuing Crises like in the US, the NHS’ 3million lives plus ‘whither UK telecare’, various Corporate ‘Oops-ses’, IP/Patent Trolls and Assaults on Privacy. While these will continue to spread like storm debris on the beach, providing continuing fodder for your Editors (and The Gimlet Eye) to pick through, speculate and opine on, what in my view rises above–or is under it all–for 2014?

We are whipping past the 2012-13 Peak of Inflated Expectations in health tech…

…diving into the Trough of Disillusionment in 2014. Crystallizing this certainty (more…)

Telecare Soapbox: Predicting the telequake

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]Predicting earthquakes is notoriously unreliable but TTA’s ex-Editor in Chief Steve Hards says that one is on its way for the telecare and telehealth industry.

Earthquakes are hard to predict because, depending on the local geology and where you are in relation to the future epicentre, they vary in speed, intensity and effect. However, there are four generally recognised stages:

  1. a long period of between quakes when straining deep beneath the surface that goes unnoticed
  2. a build up of intense pressure along the fault which may be noticed as slippage
  3. the release of the pressure which causes the well-known effects of tremors, liquefaction and damage as the two sides of the fault realign
  4. the new resting position of the land each side of the fault

O2 and Bosch realising that systems which do not use smartphone-based technology are now dead in the water and therefore exiting from the UK telecare market was not the quake; they are just signs of stage two slippage. We will see more strains and cracks appear (more…)

So 9 out of 10 people haven’t heard of ‘telehealth’…and your point is?

Apparently echoing the comments about health technology awareness made in our post last week about O2 (who are, by the way, to be congratulated for their parent company’s announcement today that they are preferred bidders for two of the three smart meter regions), the HSJ has reported the results of a YouGov poll that nine out of ten adults in the UK have never heard of telehealth.  Of those over 55, the age above which use of telehealth is more likely, 92% hadn’t heard of it. (Note that the HSJ article is behind a paywall, however via a Google search on “National Telehealth Forum”, the commissioner of the survey, you can currently go past it). The National Telehealth Forum press release is .  EHI also covers the story, .

So is this a matter of serious concern?  (more…)

O2 – a retrospective

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”100″ /]With 1734 hits (and counting) the Telecareaware post on O2 Health’s telecare & telehealth withdrawal and associated comments was one of our most popular. It therefore seems appropriate to try to crystallise some important lessons from all those brilliant comments, so here’s my starter – please feel free to add your thoughts. (Almost all the comments are related to the retail telecare offering so unless specifically stated otherwise, all the following relates only to this side.)

Overall there was a huge sense of sadness that came through from many comments – many had seen the move into retail sales a confirmation that telecare had finally arrived as a mainstream technology in the UK, so a withdrawal so soon afterwards caused much grief.  It was touching to see the concern for the staff too, who have worked so hard to get this venture airborne.

Although there were few comments specifically about the retail telecare kit, none were complimentary; it was seen as being single purpose, limited and hard to use. The ability to replicate the hardware functionality on a standard smartphone, (more…)

A question for our readers: what does it take for health tech to cross borders well?

In considering the culture gap surrounding Telefónica’s stumble down the pit with O2–and other projects they had that didn’t cross borders well–this Editor thought it worthwhile to ask our readers, particularly our new ones, to kick off a conversation in Comments about this observation. There seem to be national barriers in health tech. Why?

What are the factors that enable health tech companies to cross borders and be successful?

This is not a comprehensive survey by any means, but in your Editor’s experience, it appears that most health tech innovation by smaller companies stays in the country of design. When it is purchased by a multi-national organization, cautiousness takes hold. Much of the liveliness of PERS market leader Lifeline has dimmed since Philips acquired it about 2008, (more…)

Hampshire hedges its bets on telecare providers (UK)

TTA flagged up last July that Hampshire County Council was tendering for a ‘strategic partner’ to deliver a telecare service on its behalf and that the result would be known in May, so this by way of an update. What we learn from a Tunstall press release is that Hampshire has staked it all on the ‘Argenti Telehealthcare Partnership’ – a consortium of providers led by PA Consulting (Wikipedia) and which comprises Tunstall, O2, CareCalls, Medvivo and Magna Careline. [Just when we thought the UK telecare scene was becoming boring – it will be interesting to hear how these rivals learn to pull together to deliver the comprehensive, efficient service for which the people of Hampshire have been waiting for many years.]

O2: First Help at Hand, now Health at Home (UK)

Two major launches for O2 in two weeks… First Help at Hand and now, at the Healthcare Innovations Expo, Health at Home – no wonder there were no ‘health’ mentions at the earlier launch. According to the press release, Health at Home’s secure platform allows health care professionals to “monitor patients’ readings, set bespoke symptom surveys, provide educational materials and communicate with them directly. Patients are provided with a tablet computer connected to the mobile network and pre-loaded with the Health at Home software as well as relevant smart monitoring devices including pulse oximeters, weight scales and blood pressure monitors.” Data is uploaded to O2’s servers where it is accessible to the professionals and to the patients “to learn more about their condition and how to manage it”. The charge is per patient per month with no upfront cost. Press release (PDF). Health at Home website.

O2 being what it is, we assume that the in-tablet software is CE marked (as it sounds like it would be counted as a medical device) and that O2 has all patent issues covered with the likes of Bosch. It would be nice to have those points confirmed.

O2’s mobile care – in a shop near you (UK)

It is just over five years since Paul Gee, then CEO of the Telecare Services Association (TSA), flagged up to members in a prescient article that the time would come when it would be possible to buy a mobile telecare device in a supermarket [Telecare Soapbox: Tesco Telecare]. The question he posed was ‘How far away?’ Now we know. It took five years, but it arrives today. The telecare suppliers of the time did not respond to the wake-up call and they have now been overtaken by O2, the mobile arm of Telefónica in the UK. At the press conference in London yesterday O2 announced the next stage in the development of its Help at Hand service and several points struck this editor as particularly interesting: (more…)

Doro launches mobile telecare phone (EU)

Doro has revealed its latest handset – the Doro Secure 681.” According to an item in Mobile Magazine, the phone will launch in the second quarter of this year and is “aimed at people who currently rely on the support of a fixed-line telecare services, allowing them greater mobility outside the home.” The 681 is said to be the first mobile phone to feature an embedded ‘class one’ telecare radio receiver that is compatible with Doro’s wearable wrist, neck and fall sensors. Alerts can be sent to monitoring services via the internet or SMS. To this editor, if the photo in the above item is to be believed, the clamshell design and screen/keyboard layout is going to be too complicated for many people in the target market. It also looks like big-boy Doro has been learning a few lessons about the need to check and report battery charge levels automatically from UK small-guy Carephone. However Doro will have the advantage of being part of Bosch’s offering to the public. It will be interesting to see which gets traction with the public first, the Doro/Bosch combination or O2’s Health at Hand.

O2 Health appoints new managing director (UK)

O2 Health has announced the appointment of Nikki Flanders as its managing director. Nikki has previously led O2’s 4G LTE strategy, developing awareness and understanding of 4G LTE, which offers superfast connectivity. She has previously worked for Centrica, WHSmith and Marks & Spencer, and has co-founded two health related charities, having had first-hand experience of how technology can help support healthcare as a mother who has used technology in the management of her son’s care during his early months. Nikki plans to accelerate O2 Health’s growth in the UK as part of Telefónica Digital, a global business unit of O2’s parent company. She replaces Keith Nurcombe, who has left Telefónica. [Press release on O2 Health website.]