You have seen the publicity, now read the behind-the-scenes detail of what is expected from participating organisations.
In a letter sent from the 3ML Working Group we can see that leading and governing the initiative will be “an Industry Leadership Group…comprised of [sic] 11 candidates on the following basis: 1 x DH representative, 4 x industry association representatives and 6 x industry organisation representatives.”
The invitation to the party (PDF) comes with a £10,000 price tag, which is what the four industry associations have already put into the pot and what is being asked from participating companies. The industry associations (more info) are:
- The Telecare Services Association (TSA)
- The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)
- Intellect (representing the IT industry)
- Medilink UK (a national health technology business support organisation)
As far as is known, the Department of Health’s contribution has been advice (invaluable, no doubt), the use of meeting rooms, tea and coffee, but even those are switching to Intellect’s offices for the inaugural ’round table’ event on 29 February to which companies will be invited if they are willing to pay the £10,000 and to sign up to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)(PDF).
There is also guidance to participating companies on the minimum standards (PDF) expected of them.
Public-facing outputs so far have been the 3ML website, leaflet and case studies, the concordat, and the logo, which participating companies will be able to use.
Companies need to understand the commitments set out in the MOU and consider the implications of being held on a very tight rein concerning confidentiality and communications for five years.
Condition 7.4 of the MOU commits to public access to the names of the contributing companies but we should know that anyway. It is a pity it does not include a commitment to show how much they contribute.
In the standards document it is interesting to note that there is no mention of the Continua Alliance standards in the interoperability section, which has the usual ‘where appropriate’ weasel words.
There are also some general questions that should be raised by companies at the forthcoming meeting, such as:
- After the £10,000 initial contribution, what happens if a company does not agree to pay the later funding demands of the Leadership Group? Is that grounds for dissolution of the MOU under condition 16.1.2… ‘one or more Party is in breach of their obligations under this MOU’?
- If the Telecare/Telehealth/Telecoaching Framework Agreement is not renewed this year, can participating companies expect an easier ride in tenders from council and NHS commissioners? (If not, why not? )
- The communications around the 3ML initiative have been high on aspirations but what else is ‘in it for us’ apart from the use of the 3ML logo?
Editor Steve confesses to mixed views on this initiative, having been an advocate for many years that telehealth and telecare companies should increase co-operation to fight the real competition, which is the old, face-to-face-intensive way of monitoring people’s safety and health.
However, is creating a ‘superclub’ of companies that are willing to commit £10,000, plus unknown future amounts, to support a no-cost, no-lose initiative for the Government the best way to go about it? Readers’ views are welcome, especially from those who can convince us that it is indeed worthwhile.
Update 17 February: Follow-up item 3millionlives. A cartel in the making? (UK)