Innovation and Developments in Telehealth and Telecare

Date: Wednesday  17th January 2018
Time: 18:30 – Refereshments from 6:30pm for a 7pm start
Speaker: Malcolm Fisk
Location: WMG, University of Warwick
BCS Meetings are free to attend.

Telecare and telehealth services are becoming an increasingly visible and accepted part of the landscape of care and support, especially for older people. Telehealth services (within which we can embrace telecare) are developing in different ways – embracing mHealth, medication compliance, vital signs and activity monitoring. But these services are often framed within top-down approaches that fail to adequately respond to needs relating to inclusion and empowerment or to recognise the changing views and aspirations of many (potential) users. Both the latter are, of course, facilitated through access to a widening range of (often portable) technologies – accessible being meant in the usability and affordability senses.

Our telecare and telehealth services must, therefore, acknowledge a new kind of future. The telecare boxes that hark back to social alarms and the idea of responding to ‘emergencies’, must be set aside in favour of digital technologies that give access to menus that include education, work and leisure opportunities, social networks and more – as well as the means of supporting better lifestyles or managing health conditions.

And with regard to technologies, what is often missing is an appreciation that, with the advent of broadband and smart (often mobile) devices, we have the tools to enable older people to escape from the narrow cul-de-sac of social alarms and telecare. A more all-embracing ‘telehealth’ provides the better option … not based on assumptions of what technologies or services can ‘deliver’. Rather we must look at what the changing technologies can offer.

Designers of products and services should take note – whether in the pursuit of good health and social care or a wider range of services. The reference points must include the pursuit of ‘design for all’ approaches – associated with recognition of older people as equals and as major contributors to the social and economic lives of our communities.

This presentation points to the developments in and challenges for telecare and telehealth – drawing on experience in the UK and the wider world.

Biographical Note:

In his De Montfort University capacity Dr Malcolm Fisk leads the European Commission funded PROGRESSIVE project – see www.progressivestandards.org that is addressing ‘standards around ICT for active and healthy ageing’. This project focuses on key issues that relate to smart homes, telehealth, co-creation and interoperability. It involves 10 partners including EHTEL (the European Health Telematics Association) and AGE Platform Europe.

As Director of the Telehealth Quality Group (TQG) Malcolm is actively engaged in supporting the development of telehealth services according to appropriate service paradigms (see www.telehealth.global). At the heart of this work are quality benchmarks for telehealth (relating to a wide range of domains and very much from a service user / consumer perspective). This includes the development and promotion of a well-respected International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services.

Malcolm’s other roles include being an expert advisor for ANEC: The European Consumer Voice on Standardisation. Representing the consumer interest he is a participant in three European CEN Committees – relating to standards for (a) health; (b) quality of care for older people; and (c) social alarms. Malcolm is a member of a Quality Standards Advisory Committee for NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. He is expert Advisor to the European Commission Coordination Hub for Open Robotics. Previously Malcolm was appointed by Welsh Government to Chair the National Partnership Forum for Older People and subsequently to provide expert advice on for a relating to addressing poverty and inequality; and the housing and related support needs for older people.

 

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