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Healthcare conference spotlights importance of mobile technologies
Date of article: 23-Mar-10
Speakers at a conference focused on existing and emerging technologies for home-based healthcare said that the growing ageing population in the UK coupled with the rise in the incidence of people living with chronic health conditions is creating an unsustainable burden on health and social care services.
“Mobile technologies deliver convenient personalised healthcare solutions using mainstream technologies and help individuals to self-manage their conditions and take greater ownership of their health,” said keynote speaker Rob Chesters, manager of MedilinkWM’s dedicated assisted living division Alvolution, which organised the ‘Digital technologies for home based healthcare’ conference at The Heritage Motor Centre, Warwickshire.
“The future for the health and social care services lies in the collaboration of healthcare providers, users, academia and industry,” he said, “to provide a range of solutions from vital signs monitoring, prompts and reminders, occupancy monitoring and GPS tracking.”
Forecasters are predicting that in the UK over the next fifty years, the number of people aged over 65 will rise from 9.3 million to 16.8 million. Currently there are approximately 15 million people living with long term, chronic health conditions, whilst the incidence of chronic disease in the over 65s will more than double by 2030, according to recent estimates published by the Department of Health.
“This is creating an unsustainable burden on health and social care services,” said Rob Chesters.
The conference was attended by representatives of all areas of healthcare including manufacturers and providers of assisted living products and services, from electronics, wireless healthcare and mobile data, to digital communications, sensors and instrumentation.
The programme of guest speakers at the conference included Jim Ellam, Assistive Technology Project Leader at Staffordshire County Council, who said: “The aims for the UK’s investing in Tele-Healthcare project must include enabling the widespread, systematic application of tele-healthcare where it can be effective. It must promote innovation of working to enable the secondary and primary care to shift and reduce the unnecessary admissions and utilisation of services, by putting service users and their carers in control and promoting self management of long term conditions.
“Self directed support has the potential to be the most exciting development within public services in this generation. It will give people choice and provide an opportunity for those with assisted living needs to live in their own homes for longer, whilst at the same time helping to reduce the cost burden on health and social care services,” he said.
Michael Rielly, Director of Healthcare at Orange, highlighted the company’s approach to the assistive living market, commenting: “Current models of care delivery are not sustainable, based on the change in life expectancy – with more than half the UK population currently over 47 years -and the incidence of chronic disease. There needs to be a change in the way we care for people, and a move away from the ‘beds and buildings’ module.
“As the largest integrated digital network provider in the UK, Orange currently delivers in the region of a £25million technology service to the NHS, as part of its strategy for the healthcare sector, in the UK and indeed globally. The company intends to replicate the telecoms-based system already in place in France, based on utilising the ‘button, device, tariff/network’ proposition.”
Other experts from industry and health speaking at the Conference included Satnam Bains of Sero Solutions, Bernard Wignall of i-Cue Care and David Morgan of Safe Patient Systems. These companies each has products featured in the Alvolution Demonstrator House, which is one of the leading product demonstration facilities in its field, and showcases Assisted Living products in a practical and realistic environment.
The Conference was funded by HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network. The event was organised by Alvolution who run the Assisted Living Special Interest group on behalf of the HealthTech & Medicines KTN. For copies of the Conference presentations, visit www.Alvolution.co.uk.
Alvolution is a division of MedilinkWM, one of Europe’s leading service providers in the life sciences sector, and is dedicated to the assisted living segment of the UK healthcare market. To find out more about Alvolution and the Alvolution Demonstrator House, visit: www.Alvolution.co.uk For more information about MedilinkWM, visit: www.MedilinkWM.co.uk