Recently I was asked to attend the Analogue to Digital Telecare Launch event in Glasgow, Scotland. The event was organised by Local Government Digital Office in collaboration with the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme, COSLA and the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT) and sought to explore the scope of the benefits and challenges facing Scotland with the inevitable move from analogue telecare to digital.

I travelled up on a glorious sunny Sunday, ready for a full day on Monday with a series of presentations in the morning setting the scene and introducing the project, followed by an afternoon of discussion around the challenges – where I presented around Tunstall’s vision of the pros and cons to moving to an IP solution for technology enabled care.

Setting the scene – the first trial

During the morning of the event, we heard from Moira McKenzie, the Head of Development at SCTT who outlined the current digital position in Scotland, the benefits of moving to digital and how to implement digital telecare. Sue Scotland, Telecare Lead at SCTT then spoke about the waves of working that are now being undertaken by SCTT. Wave 1 which is now complete, focused on procurement alongside the specification, standards and process review. During Wave one, they transitioned 200 service users over to digital on a like for like service so they could compare the standard of service that they received. They had a requirement to have a fully operational and robust alarm receiving centre solution capable of connecting digitally to user equipment.

They used the information that they gathered from transitioning these 200 service users and their existing telecare experience to support the development of Digital Telecare standards and operational standards, which will be made available on the SCTT website for all suppliers to adhere to going forward.

The next wave of the transition

Wave two, which will begin in December 2017 is focusing on the innovation – the art of the possible of moving into digital, the doors that are being opened by using the IP network. They will explore the service and technology integration options, looking to support the development and deployment of more innovative and integrated services to provide a fuller offering for service users.

What Tunstall are doing

Our UK Managing Director has blogged previously about our vision for our digital journey and the Connected Healthcare ecosystem.

With Tunstall’s current analogue Connected Healthcare service we have a very regulated system and we have standards to follow. We need to ensure that we continue following these same standards when moving across to IP, and when we are integrating with third party solutions we need to look for what complements our offering rather than what conflicts with it.

We do currently have an IP based system in the Nordics, where we are working on an IP structure which connects to an analogue control centre. In Australia, we currently testing Tunstalls first end to end IP offering – the IP smart hub, with a native IP monitoring centre which uses both digital and analogue networks to connect. Into this system we have integrated a 3rd party falls detector (Vibby) using the regulated 915mhz Radio Protocol.  Testing is still ongoing, but it goes to show how we can delivery our traditional service and provide a platform to add 3rd party devices in this instance with the same regulatory standards. What else we connect into this ecosystem is really the next challenge adding additional services.

There are still lots to do before flicking the switch to digital. It’s an exciting challenge and one that Scotland seems to be grabbing with both hands. We will be supporting the SCTT how we can throughout the process and will be watching the Scottish Centre for Telehealth & Telecare website for more information on the transition as it continues.