Connecting to health

Alyson Scurfield

March 29, 2017 11:41 am

Despite recent advances in technology-enabled care (TEC), there are still areas where solutions need to be developed

TEC is not simply about the technology, it’s about putting people first. To do TEC right, it’s about joining up services around the individual – using data from many sources which provide real-time monitoring and communication, in relation to mental health as well as physical health. When people are living alone with long-term conditions or health challenges, TEC can keep them in contact with practitioners, monitoring services and carers. The best services invest in people support and infrastructure, as well as the kit.

TEC can make a significant contribution to managing and reducing the current financial pressures and workforce shortages, but the focus must move from the technology itself to evidenced outcomes for patients and service users. As more digital technologies become available, it’s also crucial that people are safeguarded by standards covering interoperability, safety and data security. TSA has developed new outcomes-based standards for the delivery of high quality, safe TEC, which government departments are supporting.

In the future, technology will extend to more wearable, voice-controlled and implanted devices – we need to be ready for widespread availability of sensors and how we can make use of them without ethical or security worries. Health and care professionals also need a wide understanding of what is available and how it can be personalised. TSA are working with partners to provide training and educational materials, as well as local information sharing events.

Cross industry collaboration is key around health and care. We hear first-hand how innovative technologies with personalised support can join up health, housing and care, and as an industry organisation we have taken opportunities to partner with digital leaders. I would like people to really focus on awareness, education and standards, to make sure that when we embrace TEC, we’re delivering safe, quality services for our communities.

Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive of TSA, the industry body for technology enabled care organisations.


This article was first published in a Mediaplanet supplement in the Guardian: