Vikram Bhakar, Telehealthcare Development Consultant from Tunstall Healthcare, talks about the City TECS lab at City University London and how it helps raise awareness of the available Connected Healthcare Services.

We are proud to have teamed up with City University London to support a purpose-built learning hub, designed to simulate a home environment. The new Technology Enabled Care Studio (TECS) was formally opened on 23 March 2016. City University is one of the first academies in the UK to open a hub equipped with the latest Connected Care and Connected Health technology, also known as telecare and telehealth.

Based in the heart of London at City’s Northampton Square campus, City TECS is fitted with a variety of Connected Care devices such as Lifeline, Bed and Chair Occupancy sensors, Fall Sensors, Movement sensors, Medication dispensers, and also Connected Health devices such as mymedic, myclinic, Blood Pressure monitors and Glucometers as well as latest Assistive Living Technology. City TECS displays how achievable it is to live comfortably, with the assistance of discrete devices that aid day to day living.

City University London is a world leader in healthcare education and research. City TECS’ facility enables University’s students, academics and practitioners across a range of disciplines to learn and develop the skills and knowledge required to use the latest connected services. This facility has also been designed to provide a resource for health & social care as well as private and voluntary organisations.

I have been supporting City TECS since last year, where once a month I invite people from various industries into the facility to provide live demonstrations of the technology. Over the last year we have helped professionals discover what Connected Healthcare technologies are available and how they can support the people receiving their services.

Recently ten practitioners from London Borough of Brent and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust visited the City TECS. They all had some awareness or had already been involved in providing Telecare, but most of them had never seen how Telecare worked in reality. After the live demonstration, Chi Hong-Wong, Care Co-ordinator at NHS Brent Clinical Commissioning Group said;

“it was great to see telecare in action, now you truly understand how this technology works. It is an eye opener for all of us to see how far technology has come already to be able to provide a safe living environment for our most vulnerable users whilst also supporting them to retain their independence at home.”

One of the key points that often comes out after the demonstration is that you don’t have to change the way people live in order to benefit from these technologies. People who have not seen Connected Healthcare services before are often amazed at how useful, but yet simple it is to use. They learn that these technologies not only potentially life-saving, but if used appropriately can also improve someone’s quality of life by promoting independence and self-management.

I believe that a good holistic assessment for the service user, especially within health and social care setting, plays a key role in personalising the technology to the individuals needs and lifestyle rather than other way around! Technology is continually changing the way care and healthcare is delivered.

One of the key challenges for Connected Healthcare services is the lack of public awareness about what technology is readily available, what are its benefits, and how do you get it? It has always been difficult to spread the word and make people aware of how it can support those with care needs and their loved ones.

We understand the importance of engaging with new technologies within the sector and are committed to work closely with colleagues across housing, health, social care and other organisations to join up developments in Connected Healthcare Services to the benefit of our mutual customers. Through the City TECS facility in partnership with College University London we aim to increase the awareness around the possibilities that technology can offer.