Two UK items. What do readers think?

Editor Steve never posts links to items that he has not checked out…but here, for the very first time, are two. The first is an article by Prof. James Barlow. The second is a report by the Digital Policy Alliance. I anticipate that one will be interesting and one will be the ‘Same old, same old’. Am I right? Someone please read them and tell me!

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  1. Cathy

    erm … no – they are both “same old same old!”

    The James Barlow article repeats itself several times to fill the page and, apart from the fact it misses out a crucial aspect of the demand side of the equation, it could have been written in a short timescale simply by reading TA and by talking to people at conferences. The article talks about the demand side being the professionals in health and social care – completely ignoring the people who actually benefit – the patients and service users.

    To think that public money was used to generate that work is insulting to the people that don’t even get a mention.

    I only looked at the summary version of the Digital Policy Alliance report – will read the full version later – but don’t see anything new in there. At least they do include the public, the people who are the demand side!

    My four month old Pup has more teeth than either of these … disappointing!

    An article linked on the same page of the HSJ as the Barlow article is much more what we need to be seeing out there along with testimonials from those benefiting – apart from their grammatical error in the title – [url][/url] – demonstrates preventative joined up care for those with Long Term Conditions, but in a model that could easily be offered to other patient groups. Truly an holistic approach including the use of telehealth.

  2. Anon

    Just finished reading the two articles. One is not only an example of the same old telecare/health story – but is a pathetic attempt to over hype the UK experience and capabilities in the use of technology to support an ageing population. The authors have failed to apply even a small pinch of salt to the poorly evidenced benefits of telecare claimed by the suppliers. Why can they not question the rigour of the project evaluations (and the independence of the “researchers”)? They really should read Telecare Aware! Perhaps they would not then embarrass the service providers with impossible benefit claims while exciting commissioners with the prospect of brilliant outcomes if only they committed more funding.
    As for the other report – sounds like an academic with little or no sharp end experience of care trying to distance himself from what he believes is going to be a failure. Maybe he should have started the article by telling the readers the value of the grants that he and his team have been awarded in this area during the past 15 years or so?


    I took some time out of my life to read these over the weekend. When I mean ‘these’ I mean the report that the first article is taken from as well as the full document of the second.

    The first is aimed at business and therefore the users/consumers/people don’t get a mention for that reason. The first, which is interesting to note the date as November 2012, is a background study for the Whole Systems Demonstrator. 18 months after the WSD ends, midway through the results being released and we get a background study!
    That aside I read it. In this I would like to question the revised figures for expected income generation for companies across Europe from Telehealth (always a capital T for me). We are going through a really bad time. Money is tight and it is difficult to pull together enough resources to cover current services and output so how does the market almost double in 2014 based on predictions made in 2007 and adjusted in 2010?

    Also so-called industry experts that were interviewed quoting things like there are 150 high dependency patients per half million that cost lots and lots of cash (licenced rewording!). Don’t quote those figures at as please – it is not 2006 again. If you want the technology to work and to be appropriately placed then don’t bang on about high dependency patients – they are too far gone (pardon my French). This service and equipment helps as a prevention tool. What are you preventing at the higher end? Super high dependency? Ultra high dependency? The clue is in the name. The same for Telecare and preventing institutional placements. It does not prevent a placement when someone is assessed as needing a placement. By that time, especially with the criteria we work within now, they need care in a place. Catch them early enough and there will be a delay in institutional placement that provides the pay back.

    The second made me laugh, and hopefully it was supposed to. ‘Anyone living with a chronic condition believes learning to manage your condition is the most important and effective means of staying well’. That was part of the foreward by the MP Stephen McPartland. I am agreeing with Anon – doesn’t really have a clue about the sharp end. Sitting with a guy on oxygen, smoking his tenth cigarette since I arrived 30 minutes ago and with petroleum jelly on his nose where the oxygen tubing rubs – not the quote he would necessarily come out with.

    The report could have been written in 2006 with only a few minor adjustments along the way to bring it ‘up to date’. However is that a reflection on lazy authors or on the fact that the situation is exactly the same, with exactly the same reasons to do it, the exact same figures and the exact same technology as predicted back in the day? Are we moving on?

  4. Steve Hards, Editor

    Thanks, Cathy, Anon and UNATTR (and anyone else who still wants to add their review!)

    What an interesting experiment this was! Perhaps I should post more items unread…Perhaps start an ‘Unread Item of the Month Club’!


  5. Cathy

    [quote]The first is aimed at business and therefore the users/consumers/people don’t get a mention for that reason.[/quote]
    Well it is time that changed; the users/patients are the people who benefit – they are the customers – and any business that ignores its customers is not going to progress far!

    If I open a noodle bar and sell blue noodles because that is what an industry report tells me suppliers say is popular I will not only be broke but feel pretty daft when I find out too late that in my town people have never heard of the suppliers quoted and only eat pink noodles. [i]Before anyone rushes off with gold in their eyes I made that example up – okay so no going opening pink noodle bars please![/i]

    By the way we did get pointed to the Barlow report on 10 December here on TA (One Report to rule them all) it is only the article based on that that is newly published … not that it adds anything to the value of the report.

  6. Steve Hards, Editor

    Ah, yes, you were pointed to the ‘Barlow’ report in December. If I’d read the article I’d not have linked to it. Which shows, if anyone were in doubt, that I didn’t read it :-)


  7. Jo

    It does look increasingly as if we are preparing for some sort of crunch as more news emerges of the gap between DH ambition and what the miners at the coal-face are prepared to accept.
    If long-winded reports detailing old outcome claims are the best that the establishment can do, then thtis battle is going to be lost (as Barlow is implying).
    Let’s not wait for this to happen – and let’s not start blaming the councils for throwing their money at Tunstall. We are where we are, but at least we know that the systems are safe, reliable and pretty easy to use. What’s more, they are effective when offered to the right people.
    So the challenge is to turn the problem around and let the people who would benefit the most start to insist that they can have the systems that will help them. These systems are likely to be much simpler, cheaper and flexible – and could need minimal GP involvement.

  8. Greg

    I’m wondering what ‘poorly evidenced benefits of telecare claimed by the suppliers’ were quoted in the DPA report, unless this is referring to the WSD, not my idea of over hype!
    If we are facing a crunch between DH ambition and what’s really deliverable it’s important to iterate towards a common view of what the benefits of the systems really could be, ideally based on fairly evaluated experiences. Otherwise we’ll still be having the same arguments in 2018.