The annual Health+ Care 2013 show took place last week at Excel, London, where delegates were able to look out for the latest technological offerings to the healthcare industry, as well as listen to informative talks from professional’s right across the healthcare field.
One of the reoccurring themes during the two day event was the rise in people suffering from dementia, with one in six people estimated to develop this debilitating disease. Professor Alistair Burns highlighted that technological innovations could be used to give the best quality of care to people suffering from dementia, their carers and families. Keeping people living independently for as long as possible is the key challenge.
With that thought in mind one of the exhibitors – Yecco; provides an interesting, modern approach to caring for people. I met the people behind the service and I can see that a tremendous amount of thought has gone into its development, especially as the husband and wife team behind it have a real life experience of caring for elderly parents.
Yecco is a private social network platform that’s aimed at assisting both the individual and those involved in their care, such as family members and carers. Its role is to connect people and services together – think of it as Facebook for people with long term care needs. Family and friends involved in caring for a person can access Instant Messaging, shared calendars and a directory of useful services to make caring for the individual a much more coordinated and simpler experience. And its free! We are sure to hear quite a bit from Yecco in the future I’m sure.
Telehealth or Telecare?
Telehealth services were also heavily featured in the exhibitor hall, with companies showcasing their Telehealth products and services – all aimed at achieving the main theme – keeping people independent at home.
Most of the Telehealth services showcased at Health+Care such as those from GreyMatters, revolved around online portals whereby healthcare professionals, carers and those being treated can access medical information, have direct access to a clinician and upload their results for tests that can be carried out by the patient at home such as blood sugar levels etc.
We will discuss Telehealth in future articles as it’s a very different beast to telecare services such as those currently offered by TeleCare24. This is the future of how people with long term health conditions will be cared for by the NHS, but Telehealth is an emerging technology and the industry faces many hurdles for it to experience mass adoption in the NHS.
Until Telehealth technologies can be proven to reliably improve care, reduce costs and be adopted across the NHS, other proven technologies such as telecare will continue to be the way people are helped to stay independent at home. Telecare products and services like those from TeleCare24 were also showcased at Health + Care this year.
Telecare services or careline alarms help literally hundreds of thousands of people in the UK stay in their own homes. This easy to use technology such as used by TeleCare24, helps people live with peace of mind in their own homes. It works via a lightweight pendant worn on the wrist or round the neck. If you get into any difficulty, one press the red button gets you straight to an operator. The Careline operator will then get you the help that you need, whether that is a paramedic or just to notify a friend or relative of your situation. Yes, careline services such as those from TeleCare24 are simple, but that’s the beauty of them. Users aren’t scared of the technology, aren’t therefore afraid to use it and it saves lives. As the cliché goes – “It does what it says on the tin”.
As we know – technology moves fast, my laptop which was once the best thing since sliced bread, is probably now worth not a lot more than a slice of bread! But I still rely on it and its my trusted friend! Telehealth is the new kid on the block and I’m sure in time will be rolled out for those people suffering with long term conditions. But traditional technologies such as Telecare will be around for many years to come!
So a very interesting day at Health + Care, I’m already looking forward to next year to see how the landscape will evolve.