The AAL Forum is billed as an annual platform for the growing “ambient assisted living” – telehealth and telecare – community in Europe to meet and discuss AAL. It is also a showcase event for people involved in the Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme which is an initiative involving 20 EU and 3 non-EU countries, with public funding from EU and partner states. This year the Forum meets in Norrköping in Sweden from 24th to 26th of September.
The full programme, a link to the online registration web page, information on the associated exhibition and archived information on the past 4 years’ AAL Forums can be accessed from the AAL Forum website.
European Knowledge Tree Group Workshop
A side event at this year’s AAL Forum, this workshop will be held on the 24th of September. The EKTG is an ad-hoc group concerned with the real impact of R&D in the area of ageing and “brings together users, technologists, financiers and governments”. The workshop aims to review the technology of Apps from development, opportunities, appropriateness to costs and finance. To register for the EKTG workshop visit the registration page here.
Plans to transfer community alarm services, including telecare, to a partnership company between BT and the Council have been scrapped by Lancashire County Council following concerns from tenants and existing providers and the launch of a disciplinary investigation into allegations that BT and OCL (One Connect Limited, the £400 million partnership company 60% owned by BT) were shown favouritism in a separate bid, reports the Lancashire Evening Post. These allegations have led to the suspension of the council chief executive Phil Halsall.
The telecare and call monitoring functions were due to pass to BT under the contract which was signed by the previous Conservative administration which lost control to Labour in the council elections this year. OCL website’s News section is holding its silence on both issues.
The proposal for amending the European Directive 93/42/EEC known as the Medical Devices Directive was initiated nearly a year ago on 26 September 2012. The proposals for change were driven by several major medical device issues that have occured recently such as the PIP breast implants which used agricultural silicone rather than a medical grade one.
Pelle Neroth, writing in the IET News of 7 August identifies two camps in the debate. One believes that tightening the national regulatory regimes and bringing them to follow the same high standards across Europe will suffice. The other believes a fundamental overhaul of the approval process is required, possibly closer to that in the US where medical devices are subject to a similar approval process to medicines.
At a meeting organised by the trade association COCIR in April this year, Erik Hansson of the EC described when this Directive impacts on Telehealth. Here in the UK the issue is expected to come to a head next month when Parliament reconvenes after the summer break.
This is a new conference being origanised by Pavilion Publishing and Media. The conference will be in London on 13th November 2013. Speakers shown on the Pavilion website include those from local government, academia and private sector. Further details are available from the Pavilion web page for the conference here.
As reported by Charles Lowe on our main site on Tuesday, O2 has announced via its website that they are withdrawing from the UK Telecare market just four months after re-launcing the Help at Hand device (see O2 (re-)launches Help at Hand). The service to existing customers will cease on 31 December 2013.
The reason given is that the uptake has been slower than anticipated but considering that O2 also announced three months ago that they have sold their very popular Broadband business to Sky, I am thinking that there is more to this decision than just the market forces in Telecare. The reason forwarded in the withdrawal from the Broadband market was that the company “wants to focus on the 4G rollout”.
Is Telefonica planning any other contraction of its O2-branded business in the UK?
Posted in Telecare
Tagged O2, Telecare
Steve has posted an item on our main site regarding the Wessex HIEC’s Innovation Month and in particular the telehealth and telecare being highlighted this week. See the item at Telehealth and telecare week at Wessex HIEC (UK).
Following the April 2013 decision by Cornwall Council to award the outsourcing contract to BT (including the outsourcing of telehealth and telecare) there is expectation that 300 new telehealth jobs will be created in Bodmin, according to the Cornish Guardian. The council is reported to be planning a new office block at the Beacon Technology Park which it is thought will be the site for the facility.
BT’s contract is for 10 years and was awarded after a stop-start process during which the proposal to outsource was suspended at one point in October last year.
Philips is reported in MTB Europe to be leading a consortium running a programme which is to monitor telehealth in five regions in Europe (Scotland is one of the regions). The programme is expected to explore the organisational and structual processes required to successfully implement telehealth.
Healthcare authorities, hospitals, companies and universities in each region will be brought together to deploy and operate care and telehealth schemes which will be monitored over a 2 year period.
The ACT program (www.act-program.eu) is part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA). The EIP-AHA is an initiative from the European Commission under its Innovation Union strategy, and aims to increase the average healthy lifespan by two years by 2020. http://ec.europa.eu/active-healthy-ageing
This event looks at telehealth, exploring its continuing evolution into mobile health and discussing practical examples of implementation. The speakers will look at the technology needed both in providing communications and in technology requirements for patients’ homes. There are also presentations on app development and how this might be able to help clinicians in the areas of monitoring medication as well as in educating practitioners of the future. This is particularly relevant in the growing number of chronic disease sufferers who are looking for a better quality of life.
The event is hosted by Kingston University and sponsored by STEM UEN and the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network.
To register visit the Eventbrite website here.
Trafford Council’s trial of free telecare for a year for over 80’s, announced last month (Trafford Council pledges free Telecare trial for over 80s) is being promoted throughout the borough with special events according to the press release published in the Messenger. The trial is a result of a partnership between the council, AgeUK, Trafford Housing Trust and LMCP Carelink.
Surrey County Council and the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service have distributed 1200 free smoke alarms over the past year according to Elmbridge Today. “It runs alongside a county council drive aimed at helping old people retain their independence for longer through telecare devices” says the article which notes that last year Surrey County Council announced a £10m investment over five years to help older people stay in their own homes.
The presentations from the SEHTA sector briefing on 20 March which we announced on 11 March is reported to be available on the SEHTA Youtube channel. SEHTA reports that UKTI officers from 18 countries attended the briefing.
The US Food and Drug Administration’s Christy Foreman recently addressed a commitee of the US Congress on the subject of regulating mobile health apps. Following draft guidance issued by the FDA in 2011 FDA is now working on a regulatory framework which they are expecting to have ready in 2014.
An article on the UK Technology Stratgey Board website notes that “With the majority of health apps still produced in the USA, and most smartphones and tablets running on North American OS ( Android, iOS, Microsoft and RIM), the guidance has implications for developers worldwide. The EU is expected to issue an EU mHealth Apps Green Paper on the subject in May 2013 which is likely to force the issue of consistency of definitions as a minimum standard.”
An American law firm Epstein Becker Green has posted an article on their website analysing two key differences between the US and EU regulations affecting telehealth. Firstly they identify the ability of health workers to treat their patients even when the patient moves to another EU state. Second is about getting health insurance companies to cover costs when health services are received abroad – it seems that insurance companies are required to do so under an EU directive whereas in the US cover is mostly state based.
Read more at E.U. Way Ahead of the Game on Telehealth
Our Telehealth and Telecare Aware main site editor Steve Hards has picked up news of the approval of the BT’s partnership contract with Cornwall Council. We reported in October last year that the Council suspened a proposal to outsource services to a company jointly owned by BT and the Council. Councillor Andrew Wallis reported on his blog on 13 March that the deal was approved by all members of the the Cabinet bar one, Independent Bert Biscoe. Of the 282 full time Council employees transferred to BT, 28 are in Telecare. 52 jobs are earmarked to disappear, according to Andrew Wallis, with 197 new jobs being guaranteed to be created by the end of 4 years. More details are in the Council document here. The value of the contract is not explicitly mentioned but a £1M saving in year 1 being given as 10%.
Related item on Telehealth and Telecare Aware: BT gets Cornwall telecare/telehealth service as part of service outsource package (UK)