Telecare Soapbox: Regulation of the industry

Following the TA item Scummy website starts to make the case for telecare/telehealth industry regulation, Editor Steve points out in this shortest-ever Soapbox that, while formal regulation may be on the distant horizon (it may need legislation, and then it has to be policed, which is another issue), there is something that the Telecare Services Association (TSA) could do in just a few months that may even make statutory regulation unnecessary…

The TSA could go a long way to solving the problem of rogue companies if it floated off its accreditation function. I’ve no problem with the TSA wanting to set the standards but accreditation against them should be truly independent and open to all companies and not just TSA members. That way, the public could be encouraged to deal only with accredited companies because, by implication, the unaccredited ones would not be good. At the moment people cannot infer that a company is not good because it is not TSA accredited – it could just mean that it does not want to be a TSA member. This could also be a positive development for the 3ML campaign to publicise.

Categories: Soapbox.


  1. Cathy

    May I add a thought to extend this Steve?

    With the increase in different models of businesses such as Social Enterprise organisations, and the emphasis on community capacity building, co-production, partnership and networks – any system(s) of standards, trade membership, accreditation, etc need to take this into account and offer a suitable incentive, fee structure and flexible enough model.

    “Big” and “established” are not always beautiful – there is a place for “small” but “developing(to a high standard}” as well.

  2. As Cathy suggests maybe a flexible model is needed, however it should start with the basic requirement: Not to make misleading claims or statements about products and services.

    Readers of Telecare Aware already know that in many instances the telehealth industry has lost credibility by selling the wrong kit to the wrong teams for the wrong reasons. Plus some of the claims of cost-effectiveness and attributable avoided admissions are unbelievable.

    Industry needs to win back credibility with GP’s and other senior clinicians and some form of appropriate accreditation requiring honesty, openness and addressing sales hype would be a good place to start.

  3. Trevor Drage

    I totally agree with Steve, the TSA needs to open its accreditation to non-members. The current format is geared to large providers and is removing the local services which for so long have delivered good quality provisions with a personal touch. The other concern is the focus providers have on maintaining accreditation and not necessarily the true operational quality of their service. I’m all for a quality standard but don’t want the industry to end up with an OFSTED type regime like we see in schools where it becomes the be all and end all