Ways technology can help:
- Reducing the demand for health and care services, either through universal measures that reduce lifestyle risks and their causes or by targeting high-risk groups
- Providing patients, particularly those with long-term conditions, with tools and techniques to help them choose healthy behaviours and engage with care-givers to improve their health.
Examples of practice
Technology offers a lifeline for older people at risk of social isolation and loneliness, according to new research from Appello, a leading provider of technology enabled care services, in collaboration with Good Things Foundation. In addition, insights from the study suggest a huge opportunity for housing providers to improve the lives of their residents by upgrading existing technology and, or, embracing mature and readily available communications technologies to connect older people with neighbours, friends, family and carers.
In particular, the survey found that over half (56%) of older people welcome new technology, finding that it can be used to help communication which reduces the risks of loneliness and isolation. The findings also showed that 7% of people aged 75 or over don't speak to anyone in an average week, and that 93% of people aged 75 or over still use a landline as their most commonly used method of communication.
Dundee’s Health & Strategic Care Partnership has come up with a 2017-2020 Strategic Plan that sets out their ambition to build upon the progress already made and their commitments to becoming a leader in the use of technology to improve lives and outcomes of citizens of Dundee.
‘A strategic plan for using technology to support people to live independently and manage their own health and care’ brings together telecare and telehealth, equipment and adaptations, and smart accommodation. In turn, these care platforms co-produce developments with people who use services, carers and our workforce and improve outcomes for citizens and communities of Dundee.
Tunstall Televida supports more than 250,000 people across Spain with telecare and associated services, including delivering Barcelona’s municipal teleassistance service, which serves 75,000 users, and Barcelona’s Local Teleassistance Service (SLT) which provides 67,000 people who are older and/or have long-term care needs with a range of support.
The Tunstall Televida teleassistance service combines telecare monitoring and response, coordinates social care and third party services and delivers proactive outbound contact from monitoring centres. Teleassistance aims to provide continued contact and support to older and vulnerable people in the community, helping them to remain independent for as long as possible and delay or avoid the need for more complex interventions.
- Preventative approach - 60% of calls are outbound, with operators proactively calling service users on a regular basis to check on their wellbeing, remind them of appointments, prompt them to take medication, confirm medication has been delivered or wish them a happy birthday.
- Reactive calls - operators will also make outbound calls in the event of major disasters or in the event of service users experiencing a crisis, such as a bereavement.
- Public Health - operators make calls to discuss issues such as fire safety in the home, advice on how to prevent the spread of flu, ways of dealing with periods of warmer or colder weather.
- Integrated response services - the Barcelona SLT includes 11 mobile response units providing a 30 minute response anywhere in the city 24 hours a day. Each vehicle is equipped with medical equipment and manned by specialist trained social care technicians.
- Telecare - the teleassistance service can provide more advanced telecare such as falls, smoke, gas and carbon monoxide detectors and sensors which monitor activity/inactivity.
For every Euro spent on telecare, €2.60 was saved by the public administration as a result of the teleassistance service.
Case study – using telehealth to enable self-care
Len is 62, has cardiomyopathy and has had a small stroke. He has a pacemaker and an internal defibrillator, and his condition means he retains excess fluid in his body. He was frequently in hospital. Len began using telehealth in 2010 to monitor his symptoms at home, in particular his blood pressure, which is often low, and his weight, an increase in which is an indicator that he is retaining fluid.
Telehealth has enabled Len to become much more knowledgeable about his condition, and better able to manage it. If his weight increases he can take additional diuretics in accordance with his self-management plan, and he knows the signs when his renal function is good or bad. Use of the system has also helped Len to reduce his weight to the point where he has recently been deemed clinically fit to undergo a heart transplant. Telehealth has also helped the Community Matron to stabilise Len’s condition, resulting in no unplanned hospital admissions being required. Previously he had been admitted to hospital 143 times in nine years, at an approximate overall cost of £357,500.
Following his transplant Len has recovered well and is enjoying better health. Len says; “Telehealth is tremendous. It helped me feel in control of my condition, and make changes to meds and things to make sure I kept well. Using telehealth I wasn’t admitted to hospital as an emergency, and it helped me to manage my weight to the point where I finally got my transplant.”