Hanover Housing Association enters Tunstall’s ‘world’ (UK)

Tunstall‘s win of the Hanover Housing Association for their alarm call and door entry framework is highly significant beyond the initial installation of the Communicall Vi warden call system and Lifeline Vi dispersed alarm system (PERS). Hanover’s size makes this a major win for Tunstall. Their rationale is understandable: to rapidly replace current telecare equipment in eventually up to 17,000 properties, to build out for the future across a large portfolio and to work with Tunstall to offer a range of present and future integrated technologies including those represented by Tunstall’s ‘Lifetime of Care’ program. No mention here of Tunstall’s ‘my world’ premiered at last month’s Housing LIN Conference [TTA 21 Feb], but undoubtedly this will eventually be included. But here again is the Tunstall system; there’s no mention of partnership with other technology providers to provide innovation and ‘best in class’ service for Hanover residents. As this Editor asked at the end of the February article, ‘But is a closed system the best quality, most economic and effective arrangement for individual, a community’s or a council’s needs?’ Tunstall release

Editor’s Note: For non-UK readers to grasp the size of Hanover Housing, it has 600 estates with 19,000 properties and 22,000 residents, making it comparable in number of locations to Brookdale Senior Living in the US but far more dispersed. Brookdale concentrates its 52,000 residents in larger, mainly assisted living buildings (AL). Hanover focuses on retirement housing across England and Wales, a focus on what in the US we call IL (independent living), including the interesting notion of ‘downsizer homes’. They also have 2,500 ‘Extra Care’ properties with 24-hour care. It is also a not-for-profit, which perhaps makes it more comparable to Ecumen.

Tunstall welcomes you to ‘my world’

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Tunstall-tab.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Tunstall unveiled its tablet-based integrated system for supported housing at this week’s Housing LIN Extra Care Housing Annual Conference in London. ‘my world’ groups applications for residents in an easy-to-use way for communication (email/messages), scheduling care visits, booking meals, home maintenance, finding out about community events, weather and the like. These features are all somewhat reminiscent of other systems such as GrandCare and the original concept behind Waldo Health. It appears to this Editor that Tunstall has designed my world/my clinic as Tunstall’s World–a fully proprietary ecosystem, as seen in their model installation with Herefordshire Housing. The release notes that it is integrated with Tunstall’s ‘my clinic‘ multi-user telehealth system and the Communicall Vi reporting system, as well as Contour Homes. Certainly when a system is complex, having it ‘closed’ is assurance that everything works together. But is a closed system the best quality, most economic and effective arrangement for individual, a community’s or a council’s needs? Press release, brochure

Changes at the top at Tunstall


A reliable and informed source has told this Editor (1 Nov) that Gil Baldwin, Group CEO of Tunstall Healthcare Group Ltd. will be stepping down, to be replaced by Paul Stobart, the former CEO of CPPGroup plc. Mr. Baldwin joined Tunstall in March 2010 from major insurer Aviva, where he headed Aviva Health. Prior to CPP, Mr. Stobart held various positions over 15 years at global enterprise software giant Sage Group, concluding as their CEO for Northern Europe.

Charterhouse Capital Partners acquired Tunstall in 2008, with former owner Bridgepoint Capital retaining a minority share. However, a sale/VC exit has long been rumored. The company recently received some unflattering attention on its (fully legal) usage of the Quoted Eurobond Exemption in The Independent [TTA 25 Oct].

This Editor notes that Mr. Stobart became CPPGroup’s CEO to manage the fallout after it was revealed in March 2011 that the FSA (Financial Services Authority) was investigating the company for mis-selling their bank card protection and identity theft products. After two years of struggle and a record £10.5 million FSA fine, four major banks dramatically rescued the company in July with an eleventh-hour £38 million refinancing, but the consequence of restructuring was that Mr. Stobart and the CFO both stepped down in August. [Guardian, Sky News via Orange, CreditToday] This was certainly a trial by fire. It should also be noted that to this Editor’s knowledge, Mr. Stobart has no specific healthcare, telecare/telehealth or health insurance experience, which is unusual for a position of this type.

Update 4 November: Tunstall’s release at 2:20 PM UK time, making this official. Our source indicates that Mr. Stobart’s start date is today (Monday) and it transpired quickly with business staff only being notified internally last Wednesday, which makes this an exceedingly quick change.

Is this Tunstall’s ‘taxgate’? Maybe not.

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/taxman_logo.jpg” thumb_width=”170″ /]On Monday, The Independent, one of the UK’s major national papers, turned its attention in a ‘Tax Special Investigation’ to nine healthcare companies which are using a corporation tax reducing scheme, the ‘Quoted Eurobond Exemption’, where they pay loan interest at high rates to their parent companies through a mechanism via the Channel Islands Stock Exchange, rather than their owners further investing by taking additional equity. (How it works–infographic from The Independent)

One of the companies the article focused on was Tunstall and its owners Charterhouse and Bridgepoint. Tunstall’s profits–like the other healthcare companies profiled, Partnerships In Care, Independent Clinical Services, Priory Group, Acorn Care, Lifeways, Healthcare At Home, Spire Healthcare and Care UK–come largely from the public sector and, by using this means to pay less tax, less money is recycled back to the Treasury. The article estimates the amount for each company which would have been paid had this tax exemption not been in place. This Editor notes that a number of the companies profiled have had significant inspection problems and numerous complaints–Tunstall is not one of them, but it is the second largest ‘tax avoider’ (after Spire) listed.

There seem to be three ways to regard this:
1) it’s a commendably clever contrivance
2) it’s a suspiciously shady stratagem
3) it’s a non-story because it is something imposed on Tunstall by its owners

Whatever it may be, we are left wondering if Tunstall’s customers benefit in any way from this tax saving. We will be interested in our readers’ views.

Independent article: Tax Special Investigation: Firms running NHS care services avoiding millions in tax It is equally popular with well known high street (US=Main Street) retailers and restaurant chains: Eurobonds scandal: The high street giants avoiding millions in tax    (more…)

Delays in ‘game-changing’ PERS

Both Philips GoSafe and Lifecomm have apparently blown past at least two in-market dates.

Philips Lifeline GoSafe: Announced at CES in January [TTA 11 Jan], it is a mobile, souped-up PERS chunky neck-worn pendant with the fall detection features of Lifeline Auto-Alert plus GPS detection through multiple systems such as Skyhook, Wi-Fi and ‘intelligent bread crumbing’. The CES-announced debut was March, reconfirmed in February to Leading Age [TTA 14 Feb]. Then a small blog, The Senior List, confirmed with Philips in June that in-market would be delayed till fall. Now that fall is here, an industry insider tipped us to the further delay till December, confirmed by a later article in the The Senior List blog. Notably Philips is beefing up its website and video demo presence, apparently building up to an announcement near the end of the year. In the PERS category, one of the peak selling seasons is post-New Year’s, after holiday get-togethers bring the realization that a loved one is getting frailer and in need of some protection.

On the polar opposite, the Lifecomm PERS (from the Qualcomm/Hughes Telematics-now-Verizon/AMAC-now-Tunstall JV) seems to be hanging in limbo–again. (more…)

Poll shows why we need to promote assistive technology

A survey of 2069 adults in the UK by YouGov, commissioned by charity Carers UK and supported by Tunstall Healthcare (UK), makes a strong case for the better promotion of telehealth & telecare, as we argued for in our recent post on the future of 3millionlives.

The Carers UK report, Potential for Change: Transforming public awareness and demand for health and care technologydraws an intriguing contrast between (more…)

What has happened to the 3ML Pathfinder Worcestershire tender?

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.

Tunstall: Growth continues

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.

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.]

The Eye has it (UK)

It is not TTA’s own Gimlet Eye that features in this item, but Private Eye “a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine” (Wikipedia) which, in the current issue (1341), picks up again [TTA Nov. 2010] the matter of the North Yorkshire and York (NYY) procurement of Tunstall telehealth equipment and the subsequent writing off of its capital value. The page 31 item does not make it into the highly cut-down online version of the magazine and there is nothing in it with which readers of the Yorkshire Post newspaper or of TTA’s own coverage [March 2013] will be unfamiliar.

Rather surprisingly, Private Eye does not pick up on what should be the matter of most concern for taxpayers – the status of the funds paid to Tunstall under the terms of the contract but for which no goods or services have been called off by the health services. We have not had any indication that these funds have been or will be returned to the public purse and, indeed, we speculate that there may not be a contractual requirement or mechanism to do so any more. However, Tunstall’s directors, being ethical people, surely cannot be comfortable with this situation and it will be interesting to see how they resolve it.

Gloucestershire telehealth: PCT oversold; GPs undersold (UK)

A news item from the BBC (link below) takes the shine off the story of the Gloucestershire ‘big roll out’ of telehealth as it is generally presented (3ML PDF).

Dr Tim Macmorland, a GP in Churchdown, said the systems were ineffective. “I think it’s been handled poorly. It was rolled out to GPs without discussing anything about the system before it was implemented…We already knew it was working in the heart failure service, [see item here, paragraph 5. Ed.] but then we were asked to find patients who had these other chronic diseases for whom the system might work as well, and I don’t think it has to be honest, it’s been an absolute waste of money.”

For many years suppliers – and we – have been calling for an end to small scale pilots and for going straight for mainstream adoption. However, we may be seeing that in reality this is not possible, at least not with the approaches tried so far. Perhaps the ‘not invented here’ effect is stronger than we all supposed and telehealth adoption will only be achieved one doctor at a time.

BBC item: Gloucestershire health monitors investment a ‘waste of money’.

Friday telehealth ‘snaps’

It appears that Bayer HealthCare is exiting the telehealth business with the sale of Viterion TeleHealthCare to the newly formed Viterion Corporation. According to the press release, Japan’s NSD Co., Ltd. through its US subsidiary is providing the investment and strategic support, and taking on all products and personnel. Viterion’s offerings in recent years have remained fairly static, but the Viterion release promises a change to “advancing our technology offerings, and in particular the migration to wireless and mobile applications.” Viterion also had speakers and a booth at ATA 2013.

Mobile connectivity is now reaching everywhere. Canadian companies PatientOrderSets.com, a developer of web-based evidence-based clinical checklists to specify appropriate patient treatments, acquired fliiSolutions (pronounced Fly). Its fliiTherapy connects providers and patients through a rehabilitation/exercise prescribing/tracking app. Announcement on the PatientOrderSets.com website.

For mothers in the hospital temporarily separated by necessity from their babies in Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit, the new Baby Time iPad app enables them to check on and interact with their newborns. This will aid the estimated 20 to 30 percent of mothers who undergo C-sections and cannot be ambulatory for 24 to 48 hours. Cedars-Sinai release. (Hat tip to TANN Ireland’s Toni Bunting)

Tunstall Americas announced at ATA the introduction of its Vi telehealth/two-way PERS unit, iVi fall detection pendant and the CEL450 home-based cellular PERS, although the blog placement is rather low-key. Release.

Tunstall, world leader in telehealthcare, starts to evangelize the USA

We are interested to note that Tunstall is starting to claim the term ‘telehealthcare’ in the USA just as we notice it starting to downplay its use in its recent UK marketing materials in favour of ‘telecare and telehealth’. (In the UK the term ‘telehealthcare’ gained ground in general usage in some parts of the country after Tunstall started to use it and, as no other major suppliers used it, they succeeded in owning it in the way that a team which has the ball in its possession ‘owns’ the ball.)

How do we know that Tunstall is about to do its telehealthcare thing in the US? Read this press release: Telehealthcare Leaders Forum Welcomes Assoc. Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Memorial to Speak About Healthcare Innovation. American and Canadian readers will be highly amused to learn that “The Telehealthcare Leaders Forum is North America’s only educational and professional event dedicated to stimulating innovation and leadership in the emerging era of technology and healthcare delivery.”

North Yorkshire: Cash-crisis NHS chiefs write off telehealth devices

The Yorkshire Post (YP) picks up on the writing-down of the capital cost of the North Yorkshire and York (NYY) telehealth devices, first publicly reported in Telehealth and Telecare Aware [The ongoing cost of the NYY telehealth project exposed] and links the matter to today’s WSD QALY announcement: YP item: Cash-crisis NHS chiefs write off telehealth devices.

It was interesting to note that in its recent press release Tunstall showcases latest innovations in telehealthcare that will shape the future of service delivery Tunstall omitted to cite NYY as an example of ‘successful telehealth programmes…with NHS Gloucestershire, Birmingham City Council, and as part of the TF3 Consortium in Northern Ireland”.

The ongoing cost of the NYY telehealth project exposed (UK)

At the end of this month NHS North Yorkshire and York (NYY) – a Primary Care Trust (PCT) – and the Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority (YHSHA) that oversees it, will be no more. They will be replaced by four Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

NYY and YHSHA together spent £3.2million capital money on Tunstall telehealth equipment in 2010, with the PCT paying ongoing support fees and depreciation costs. The procurement was intended to provide 2,000 devices for a project to deliver telehealth to people in the area. It was a pre-cursor of the 3millionlives (3ML) campaign but the local GPs had to be persuaded to participate without the benefit of knowing the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) results.

The NYY project has had the aspect of a slow motion car crash for everyone apart from (more…)