Tony Walker, Commercial Director at Tunstall Healthcare, talks about becoming digital after a recent workshop at the Housing LIN annual conference.

Last week saw the annual Housing LIN conference, ‘a festival of ideas’, where we discussed new approaches in housing to improve care, build strong communities and deliver sustainable solutions. In the afternoon, we ran a workshop during the Knowledge and Innovation session alongside Pegasus Housing, reimagining housing with care with new approaches to technology and design. This was the perfect opportunity to outline our strategy for moving towards digital and a more Connected Healthcare solution. Those attending the workshop were excited by what can already be achieved in the home in terms of assistive technology, particularly the services that are enabled by IP, and of course we discussed when the IP enabled solutions could be available to all.

Despite much of the technology being readily available in 2017, there is a constraint that is imposed by the infrastructure in the UK. According to the CEO of British Telecom, “by 2025 all BT customers will be using IP Voice”, however five years before that – just 3 years from now, businesses will no longer be able to buy any systems that use these networks. What is important to recognise is that the switch to IP is inevitable, and the sooner the switch can be made, the sooner the benefits of IP enabled technology can be utilised.

The digital effect
The benefits of digital, provided by IP technology are plentiful: it’s always on; able to handle voice, video and information as data; it’s fast and data rich – and it’s future ready.

Digital makes new models of service delivery achievable, being able to empower and enable service users whilst safeguarding and supporting them. It can improve quality of life by bringing people closer together and giving increased control over the way people live.

Recently, Housing LIN found in a survey that over 50% of retirement home providers are actively planning to move from analogue to digital systems.

What is Connected Healthcare?
So, what are we at Tunstall doing about the move to digital? This diagram sets out Tunstall’s Connected Healthcare Ecosystem cloud-based services.

Enabling – These services would support greater social and digital inclusion, providing more control over the home environment

Preventative – These solutions create opportunities for early intervention to avoid a crisis. Alerts are typically sent via text or email to informal and formal carers.

Responsive – these solutions minimise the consequences of an important event, creating an alarm when a life critical event has happened and communicates the details to someone else who can provide the appropriate response.

The art of the possible
What is certain to change is the scale of Connected Healthcare use, the systems that underpin it and the way that data and resulting insights are used. Connected Healthcare technology is there to support and augment the services provided by carers and families, allowing a greater use of capabilities and resource across our population.

Technology will become central to service delivery, with providers aligning business structures and strategies around available and future technology, rather than simply including technology in existing approaches. Technology will never substitute a carer or family member, it’s simply here to make our lives easier.