One in Four Lives: the Australian 3ML

Australia was delivering personal healthcare at a distance (by radio and plane) long before ‘telehealth’ and, indeed ‘telecare’ were coined. One therefore wonders in what way a consortium of Australian companies were inspired by England’s 3millionlives (3ML) in developing their own version: One in Four Lives. Perhaps they thought they could do better.

10 months after the One in Four Lives launch in May 2013, they have produced a white paper (PDF download) which is, in effect, a manifesto calling for government support. It has some well-respected authors who accurately opine that the real challenge is not technological but is in “…creating sustainable, profitable business models that can meet the needs of governments, services operators, clinical practice and patients.”

The telehealth-world politics of this consortium might make an interesting study. We can only scratch the surface and wonder… According to the UK’s Telecare Services Association, its chief executive Trevor Single attended the original kick-off meeting in Australia. Who is not ‘in’ is quite interesting. Tunstall, the instigator of 3ML in England and which has a strong presence in Australia, is notable by its absence. Also missing are significant providers such as Silver Cross and OzCare, and the leading Australian universities and institutions in telehealth research. The dominant partner appears to be BT which, as our UK readers will  be aware, led by its Clinical Director, Global Market Development at BT Global Services, Angela Single, has ambitions to dominate the telehealth world.

Related media items:
The Australian, May 2013: BT leads big push to roll out national telehealth services
 ARN, March 2014: Telehealth could save “unsustainable” federal health budget, according to a white paper

New industry group promoting telehealth in Australia

A new group of industry stakeholders is asking the Australian Federal Government to adopt telehealth as a means to cut the growing national health budget. A whitepaper from the group was presented in Canberra on Wednesday to MP Steve Irons, chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health by George Margelis (who has previously contributed here at TTA) representing MPT Innnovation Group.

Members of the One in Four Lives group include the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIC), BT Australasia, Anywhere Healthcare, Philips, MPT Innovation Group and the University of Western Sydney (according to Pulse IT) and is chaired by Lisa Altman, Health Practice Director at BT Australasia (part of BT Global Services). The name One in Four Lives reflects that 25% of Australians have chronic health conditions.

Australia has widespread use of telehealth as the many news items we have reported bear out. However majority of these are video link type schemes and the new group is advocating greater use of more sophisticated telehealth schemes using home-based connected sensors and dedicated monitoring clinicians.

If, like me, you thought One in Four Lives sounded familiar, that is probably because the words “Three Million Lives” may have flashed through your mind. Three Million Lives, or 3ML, is a programme that was launched by the UK Goverment in 2011 to get that many people using telehealth. Just to complete the comparison, BT also happens to be the lead company in 3ML.

See also Australian Aging Agenda