videoDoc joins the TQG

This is more than a trend. videoDoc is part of the vanguard of services that is giving people easier access to healthcare services online. The company is collaborating with health and care services, notably in the UK and Ireland – but with great ambitions to further develop its services internationally. More details of videoDoc are to be found in the ‘Membership’ section of this website. They join a raft of forward-thinking TQG members, including Self Help, Dignio and Svensk Telepsykiatri – where ‘online’ is at the core of their businesses.

It’s in the Code!

The fact that ‘online’ services are joining the TQG comes as no surprise. The TQG’s well respected International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services (now in its 2018/19 issue) has always been at the cutting edge – with its strong ethical foundation that addresses the needs of mHealth service providers (including a comprehensive clause on video-consultation) and puts the needs of service users (including the security of their personal data) at the forefront.

The Time is Right

videoDoc join just as the TQG has decided to establish a Special Interest Group that will be developing protocols for video communications in health and care services. At the moment there are no agreed codes or standards – in a context where both service providers and the people that use them need safeguards to be in place. News of the SIG will be posted in the next few weeks!




In its current issue, Australian Ageing Agenda features an article by Dr Malcolm Fisk that focuses on the modernisation of social alarms and telecare. His attention is first given to the issue of cybersecurity (important in anyone’s book). But the key message is not so much about how social alarms and telecare technologies are ‘out of date’ and vulnerable to cyber attacks; rather it is about our opportunity to develop new service frameworks, based on digital networks, that enable people to access health and support services in new ways.

Central to the new service frameworks is the way that people can be empowered through access wider opportunities for education and work, entertainment, social networking and public engagement. Linked with this is the extent to which we can all increase our health knowledge and play a greater part in the management of our health.

But as we approach necessary (and inevitable) changes in service frameworks, Malcolm argues (for the UK and Australia) that there is a ‘conspiracy of whispers’ for fear of upsetting that minority of service providers, manufacturers and suppliers that do not see the opportunity.

Key messages focus on the need for the further improvement of our broadband networks – and, of course, to be cyber-aware as we harness the linked potential. For inspiration, he suggests, we should look to Scotland … to which we should add the Scandinavian countries who are several steps further ahead. More than this, he notes, the new service frameworks are supported through the Telehealth Quality Group’s 2018/19 International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services.

The full article is accessible here 



The UTOPIA study was undertaken in late 2016 and early 2017. It engaged with over 150 Adult Social Care authorities in England. The research, led by Dr John Woolham at King’s College London, aimed to examine the role of and momentum behind telecare services after the uncertainties that had arisen from the outcomes of the Whole System Demonstrator programme. The full research team comprised:

Dr John Woolham, King’s College, London

Dr Nicole Steils, King’s College, London

Dr Malcolm Fisk, De Montfort University, Leicester

Professor Kirsty Forsyth, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh

Jeremy Porteus, Housing Learning and Improvement Network

Headline Findings and Crucial Questions

Headline findings from the research include the fact that local authorities continue to invest in telecare despite (and partly because of) public sector austerity. But there was great variation between authorities both regarding the extent of investment and regarding many facets of service design and management. In this context, questions arise about how variation might (or should) be addressed and as to what role telecare might play in the future.

These questions loom especially large as attention is given to the necessity for services to transfer from old analogue to newer digital networks – a matter that could (if services were rethought from a more user oriented perspective) lead to realisation of the promise of those digital networks to empower users in new ways. That empowerment, only touched on lightly in the research, could include the building (for users) of health literacy, greater self management of health conditions and the adoption of healthier lifestyles – matters of great concern, of course, to the Telehealth Quality Group.

It follows that there are crucial questions to be asked about the place of telecare at the social care and health ‘interface’. At the moment telecare is, to a large extent, trapped in social care. That will change – and the outcomes of this research will help us to build the foundations for changes that are necessary.

The research report is to be found here:



New International Code Released!

The 2018/19 version of the Telehealth Quality Group’s well respected International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services has now been released!

Partnership with Global Community Resourcing (Australia)

Headline news associated with the Code is the partnership that is being built between the TQG and Global Community Resourcing (CR). CR is supporting the ‘roll-out’ of the Code in Australia. This follows successive visits to Australia by TQG Directors (Dr Kevin Doughty and Dr Malcolm Fisk, below) and study visits made by CR (led by Anne Livingstone, below) to different countries of the EU. The work in Australia will complement that of the TQG in Europe which has stimulated a steady growth in the organisation’s membership.

What’s new in the 2018/19 Edition?

  • Big Push for Interoperability: A big push is made towards ‘fitness for purpose’ of services taking account of the interoperability of the technologies – not just from hubs to remote centres but also around devices for the person or the home.

“Greater interoperability means greater choice.”

  • Openness for Performance Measures: Performance measures will now be required to be ‘honestly and openly’ displayed on service websites.

“Openness with performance indicators means greater accountability.”

  • More Attention to Cybersecurity: The absolute need for cybersecurity measures to be in place is reaffirmed and strengthened.

“More attention to cybersecurity means the greater trust.”    

Each of these reflects the consumer and service user perspective that has been taken by the TQG itself and the International Code since its inception.



The TQG, as workpackage leaders and partners in the European Commission funded PROGRESSIVE project played a key part in presenting to and leading a major Brussels workshop with over 80 participants. The Workshop took place at the CEN CENELEC Management Centre on October 19th 2017 and addressed the challenge of

Making ICT Standards ‘Fit’ for Active and Healthy Ageing

The event focused on a number of areas including telehealth, telecare and assistive technologies. These featured strongly in two of the presentations – from Diane Whitehouse (Principal eHealth Policy Analyst of EHTEL, the European Health Telematics Association) and Ester Sarquella Casellas (Business Development Director for Digital Health of Tunstall Healthcare, Spain).

Other ‘standout’ presentations included those of Christoph Klein and Inmaculada Placencia (both from the European Commission), Marlou Bijlsma (NEN, the Dutch standards body) and Viviane von Döllen from Stëftung Hëllef Doheem (who manage telecare and home care services in Luxembourg). And Robert Turpin (BSI) reported on the initiative through ISO to start a Technical Committee on ‘Ageing Societies’.

The presentations were supplemented by workshops that help plan the forward view for standards development.









The presentations together with a report of the event, are accessible via the PROGRESSIVE website at .

  • Co-Production: Involving and Engaging Older People
  • Age-Friendly ICT Products and Services
  • Smart Homes
  • Telehealth, Telecare and Assistive Technologies
  • Interoperability

The event marked the launching of the project’s interactive database that gives access to information on standards from robotics to retirement; and from telecare to transport. It has helped in very important ways to set the project ‘on course’ for its final year of work – throughout which it will continue to change mindsets about ageing in the world of ICT.


The Telehealth Quality Group (TQG) has been very pleased to support NHS Shared Business Services in developing its Framework Agreement for TECS (Technology Enabled Care Services). The TQG was a key proponent of the division of ‘lots’ as follows:

Lot 1: Electronic Assistive Technologies

Lot 2: Alarm Technologies and Services

Lot 3: Continuous Monitoring Services

Lot 4: Scheduled Remote and On Demand Services

We congratulate all the successful manufacturers or service providers. These include the following that were successful in two or more of the ‘lots’:

Broomwell Healthwatch (

Philips Electronics (

Safe Patient Systems (

Tunstall Healthcare UK (

Welbeing (

Others companies ‘in the mix’ can be found at All have had to navigate their way through a tough qualifying process and deserve their place on the Framework. Providers of telecare and telehealth services are encouraged to use it!

Of note is the fact that the new Framework meets outcome requirements for both the NHS and Adult Social Care. It embraces a wide range of telehealth domains (including telecare and social alarms) and it supports personalised approaches to care. Significantly, the Framework cites the TQG’s International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services as representing an important quality benchmark for that range of services. The International code can be downloaded from this website.

Note: The TQG has also been very pleased to work with Pobal (Republic of Ireland) on matters that relate to the procurement of telehealth (including telecare) technologies and services. Information regarding this work is provided in an earlier ‘News Item’ – this also giving access to the full report.


ANEC: the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation ( is researching how people use healthcare services when they are abroad in European (and other) countries. You are invited to complete a short on-line survey that asks about your views and experience – whether the healthcare services you used were planned or unplanned. The link takes you to the first question – Please respond before the deadline of 10th September 2017.


The work is being led by Julie Hunter ( and supervised, on behalf of ANEC, by Dr Malcolm Fisk (Telehealth Quality Group). It will fill a gap in our knowledge about such services and the health sectors that they operate in. Outcomes (published by ANEC) will include an appraisal of existing regulations around ‘medical tourism’ and ‘emergency medical care’ and will offer pointers to inform the development of future standards for the EU.



Minister Simon Coveney TD of the Irish Government has welcomed and has published The Telehealth Quality Group (TQG) Review of the Seniors Alert (SAS) scheme. Crucially he has made clear his intent to follow our recommendation to develop a ‘whole of government’ approach that would bring together social alarms, telecare and telehealth in Ireland to address the needs of older people more holistically. The Irish Government recognises these needs as not just relating to older people’s health and security, but also to wider well-being issues around isolation and loneliness.


The Review has taken place in a context of opportunity. That opportunity, our Review points out, relates to the increasing use of new (often portable) technologies; and to more enlightened ways of thinking that brings older people into focus as equal and important contributors to the economic and social life of our communities. Consideration by the Irish Government of our Review is timely. It builds on the 2012 Older People’s Strategy for Ireland and will support the Government’s evolving framework for ‘Delivering Social Change’.

In the meantime adjustments are planned in the SAS that are due to be ‘rolled out’ in September. These will help ensure that the value of and the community context of such services is maintained. The full TQG Review can be accessed online at



Chubb Community Care is the first of a new tranche of members that will help the TQG towards its target of 40 members by the end of the year. Their membership is important because of the international significance of Chubb and their role as service providers as well as manufacturers and suppliers of telehealth (including telecare) technologies.

By becoming members, Chubb Community Care gives the TQG a further stimulus to pursue its manifesto commitments that include ‘influencing the way that governments, strategic and regulatory bodies configure frameworks for telehealth services and technologies’. Thae TQG influence has, of course, been increasing – in, for instance, its support work for NHS Shared Business Services (with regard to their TECS Procurement Framework); its work with Pobal, the Irish Government agency that focuses on disadvantaged populations; and its work as full partners within the €960,000 European Commission funded PROGRESSIVE project – concerned with ‘Standards around ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing’.

The TQG, in other words, is very much ‘in the mix’. And we’ll shortly be announcing other new members and reporting on further activities and actions! Join us if you dare!


The Telehealth Quality Group, as well as being active in work for Pobal, the Irish Government agency and the European Commission funded PROGRESSIVE project, is working on plans for different events during 2017. At this early stage we can’t be specific about the events for later in the year – but note the events in Oslo, London and Luxembourg!



In Oslo, the TQG (with Standards Norway) the ‘Standards Morning’ on March 14th examines the challenges that must be faced because of ongoing changes in technologies and the ways that people access telecare and telehealth services. Presentations include Lars Dahle, CEO of Dignio, a leading Norwegian service provider and TQG member. See



In London, the TQG is partnered with the British Journal of Cardiology for their Digital Healthcare Forum on April 28th. The event carries the crucial question in its title ‘Can Digital Technology Rescue the NHS?’ and the presentations are ‘kicked-off’ by Dr Malcolm Fisk who appraises digital technologies in the context of the 5 Year Forward View. See



In Luxembourg, the TQG is a key partner within Medetel 2017 between 5th and 7th April. As well as having a stand, the TQG is running a session on ‘User Perspectives and Awareness’. Presentations include Robert and Donna Floyd of the Crag Business Group on the ‘coalescing perspectives of health professionals’. There is also, of course, much in the mix that is concerned with quality standards and a rich wider programme to enjoy! See
Other events are planned later in the year on the topics of

• The Telehealth Challenge for Mental Health
• Telehealth and Telecare Market Changes
• Procuring and Commissioning Telehealth Services and Products

Watch this space!