TQG PLAYS A KEY PART IN MAJOR BRUSSELS WORKSHOP
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 www.progressivestandards.org .
- Co-Production: Involving and Engaging Older People
- Age-Friendly ICT Products and Services
- Smart Homes
- Telehealth, Telecare and Assistive Technologies
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 (www.broomwellhealthwatch.com)
Philips Electronics (www.philips.co.uk)
Safe Patient Systems (www.safepatientsystems.com)
Tunstall Healthcare UK (www.tunstall.co.uk)
Others companies ‘in the mix’ can be found at https://www.sbs.nhs.uk/ica-technology-enabled-care-services. 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 (anec.eu) 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 – http://which.focusvision.com/survey/selfserve/53b/170805# Please respond before the deadline of 10th September 2017.
The work is being led by Julie Hunter (www.juliehunter.co.uk) 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.
REAL PROSPECT OF BRINGING TOGETHER SOCIAL ALARMS, TELECARE & TELEHEALTH IN ‘WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT’ APPROACH
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.
MINISTER SIMON COVENEY TD
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 http://www.standard.no/kurs-og-arrangementer/arrangement-standard-norge-og-nek/standard-morgen1/standards-morning-telecare-and-telehealth/
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 https://bjcardio.co.uk/digitalhealth/
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 https://www.medetel.eu/?rub=educational_program&page=program
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!
In Ashton-under-Lyne (November 2016) the TQG partnered with Contour Homes and UK Telehealthcare for a ‘North-West’ Telecare Forum. Presentations by Dr Kevin Doughty and Dr Malcolm Fisk respectively set out the technological changes that are impacting on telecare services; and the way that the TQG International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services enabled such change to be accommodated.
In Manchester (June 2016) the TQG held its first major conference on ‘New Routes to Integrated Care: The Challenge of Assistive Technologies, Telehealth and Telecare’. Over 100 participants were treated to challenging presentations relating to innovative developments and practice initiatives in different parts of the UK (notably Scotland) and Canada! Details and slides are available on this website. See http://www.telehealth.global/events/431/
In Luxembourg (April 2016) the TQG were key exhibitors and participants at Medetel. Frederic Lievens was key to the event’s organisation. Dr Drago Rudel and Dr Malcolm Fisk respectively explored an intervention for people with chronic heart failure and set out some of the emerging evidence base supporting telehealth. Other presentations, workshops and panel discussions related to a fully international perspective stretching from Brazil to Bratislava! See https://www.medetel.eu/?rub=knowledge_resources&page=evidence
THE 2017 INTERNATIONAL CODE IS RELEASED
The 2017 version of the TQG’s acclaimed International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services has been released. It continues to set the pace for flexible and innovative service standards.
Since its conception as a European Code in 2014, the International Code has set out to help transform digital health and care services – so that they are more and more responsive to service users … whether the user is a 26 year old self-managing her diabetes or an 86 year old being supported with his dementia.
The International Code has rejected any rigid ‘this is how you must do it’ approach. Instead it has recognised from the ‘get go’ that service users must be empowered and even liberated by the technologies that they use. They must not be thought of or treated as the victims of narrow ‘old style’ health and care regimes.
The context is clear. The emergence of telehealth, assisted by the array of technologies that are increasingly accessible to all, is an opportunity to transform the way we think about our health and wellbeing. It is no longer so much about health ‘interventions’ – but it is about how people access services to help them maintain appropriate lifestyles and manage any health conditions. Telehealth services … from telecare to mHealth must see themselves, therefore, within a new landscape. The International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services points the way.
Some Telehealth Service Domains
|Health and motivational coaching and advice
Activity and lifestyle monitoring
Safeguarding and monitoring in care settings
Gait, seizure and falls prediction / management
Vital signs monitoring
|Telecare and social alarms (PRS)
Mobile health technology systems (e.g. apps)
Medication or therapy adherence
Rehabilitation and (re)ablement
Tele-consultation and virtual presence
Key facets of the International Code include:
Incorporation of ISO/TS 13131 Health Informatics – Quality Planning Guidelines for Telehealth Services
Download a copy from this website and consider what it means for you … whether a
Build the International Code into your planning.
- Commissioner or Procurer –
Make the International Code a requirement when procuring services.
The International Code is your benchmark. Become certified to it.
Expect your service to know about and use the International Code.
TQG IS PARTNER IN NEW €900,000 ‘PROGRESSIVE’ PROJECT ON STANDARDS FOR ACTIVE AND HEALTHY AGEING
The Telehealth Quality Group (TQG) is one of the ten partners funded by the European Commission to undertake research into standards and standardisation around ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing. The project lasts until September 2018. It is led by De Montfort University (Leicester). It links the TQG with other high-profile European and international partners. The partner list is set out below.
The PROGRESSIVE project will set in place a ‘dynamic and sustainable framework where the contribution of standards and standardisation for ICT can be maximised for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA).’ The TQG role includes ensuring that the project maintains a strong ethical foundation that will determine how good practice in standards and the standardisation process is recognised. Needless to say the TQG role will also include strong inputs around telehealth (and telecare) as well as contributing to ‘deliverables’ around smart homes, age-friendly designs and interoperability.
The ICT issues for telehealth are, of course, highly visible. We have, for instance, many opportunities and some challenges that arise from new technologies and the increasing capacity of communications media. The ‘Active and Healthy’ ageing agenda is, however, less well considered. It is, nevertheless, highly important to telehealth services because it helps us to turn away from what can be over-clinically driven approaches (focused on one-way service ‘delivery’ for dependent older people) towards approaches concerned with wider well-being and service ‘provision’ (focused on engaging with and empowering older people). The latter approaches, it is considered, can often meet, in more flexible ways, the needs and choices of service users. They can also help build levels of knowledge, skills and capacities so that older people are better able to make choices about their lifestyles (in work or retirement) and to self-manage in relation to any health conditions. The project will, in fact, be considering how older people can be engaged in the standardisation process so that their voice is reflected in the content of standards that are intended to benefit them. Exciting and important developments in standards and the standardisation process are, therefore, envisaged!
The partner list is as follows. More detail will be available in the New Year on the project website.
- De Montfort University (UK, Lead Partner)
- The Open University (UK)
- Telehealth Quality Group (UK)
- Age Platform Europe
- EHTEL (the European Health Telematics Association)
- Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy)
- Stichting Nederlands Normalisatie – Instituut, NEN (Netherlands)
- Deutsches Institut fuer Normung E.V, DIN (Germany)
- Associazione di Normazione Informatica, UNINFO (Italy) and
- Asociacion Española de Normalizacion y Certificacion, AENOR (Spain)
The project carries the support from, amongst others,
- European Committee for Standardisation, CEN
- European Consumer Voice in Standardisation, ANEC
- British Standards Institute, BSI (UK)
- International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth, ISfTeH
- UC Leuven Limburg (BE)
- CRETECS Centre of Expertise in Care Technology (BE) and
- European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities, EASPD