Bristol (UK) based Ocean Blue Software has a set top box (STB) system called Nexus TV that it has been trying to offer as a telehealth/telecare medium since 2010 at least [TA item]. At that time one needed to register with them to download information but they are now making their (updated?) whitepaper available for download to Telecare Aware readers. To this editor, Steve, the whitepaper is going in the right direction although the company does not seem to have quite decided what terminology to use. It still also feels rather like a technologist-led rather than a market-led development. Assisted Living Through Technology: Can it help care communities? (PDF 1.4MB) Ocean Blue Software website.
As you suggest Steve – the direction of travel is good but there is still some flakiness to smooth out.
Firstly the white paper describes the things that older people may become afraid of and which might isolate them. I don’t doubt that this happens for some older people, but not all and yes telecare alerts (eg bogus caller) and technology such as CCTV can help to offer confidence and a feeling of security – but the real solution to this situation is not technology but Community Capacity building which we regularly hear about in the context of personalisation.
[quote]Home Telemonitoring is gradually extending its margins towards systems that are safety critical in terms of monitoring vital life signs of acute illness and potentially saving lives.[/quote]
It could be argued that telecare is more safety critical than telemonitoring as the authors define it. Telehealth is monitoring for anticipated events and there will be an escalation plan in place. Telecare is often monitoring for less predictable events where there is less clear escalation routes eg falls.
However, the weak link in either of these ‘safety critical’ chains is the telephone line. It does not matter to what standard of reliability the call centre works if the phone provider companies are not on board and ensuring the same levels of reliability in services. All too often we see reports here of people whose phone line has failed for one of several reasons (incl. mistakenly not paying the bill, and engineering breakdowns). Perhaps the direction of travel therefore needs a small detour to address this potential risk factor and avoid getting stuck in a cul de sac?