Category Archives: News



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.


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!


The TQG has been active in numerous events, a sample of which is given below. These are in addition to the organisation’s ongoing work for the European Commission through the PROGRESSIVE Project on ‘Standards for ICT and Active and Healthy Ageing’ (see and for the Pobal, Irish Government agency (see Notable also is the work that TQG has undertaken and continues to undertake in promoting new visions and approaches for telehealth – including those embedded within the International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services (downloadable from this website). A feature on this website points to the consumer perspective taken by the International Code, key elements of which are ‘captured’ in the pointers to strengthened content in three areas (for the 2018/19 Edition) viz.

The Push for Interoperability:

“Greater interoperability means greater choice.”

Openness for Performance Measures:

“Openness with performance measures means greater accountability.”

More Attention to Cybersecurity:

“More attention to cybersecurity means the greater trust.”    

The TQG has worked (and continues to work) with or present to organisations such as NHS Shared Business Services; the Scottish Local Government Digital Office; and CEN, the European standards body. There is an ongoing dialogue with Standards Australia and TQG Directors have presented, with a focus on standards, at key events from Sydney and Brisbane to Bristol and Brussels.


The TQG partnered with Standards Norway in Oslo for a 2017 workshop to examine the challenges to standards arising from 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


TQG was a key partner and had a stand at Medetel 2017 in Luxembourg. Frederic Lievens was focal to the event’s organisation. The TQG ran a session on ‘User Perspectives and Awareness’. Dr Malcolm Fisk explored standards for telehealth and featured the TQG International Code. Other presentations included Robert and Donna Floyd (Crag Business Group) addressing the perspectives of health professionals. See


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


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




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

  • Strategist or Planner

Build the International Code into your planning.

  • Commissioner or Procurer

Make the International Code a requirement when procuring services.

  • Service Provider

The International Code is your benchmark. Become certified to it.

  • User

Expect your service to know about and use the International Code.






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





The Telehealth Quality Group has been commissioned to undertake a review of the ‘Operation and Delivery Model’ of the Seniors Alert Scheme that operates throughout the Republic of Ireland utilising community support as a model for identification of those in need.

Pobal (, the commissioning agency, acts as an intermediary for Irish Government and the European Commission programmes. It works closely with different stakeholders – with a focus on improving outcomes, especially for people who experience disadvantage or social exclusion.

The Seniors Alert Scheme has operated in the Republic of Ireland for 20 years. Social alarm services in the country date back to the early 1980s. The scheme has an interesting genesis concerned not just with the way that older people obtain help but also with fostering neighbourliness and community support. This is achieved through the involvement of neighbourhood watch groups and other local organisations.

With the wider range of technologies now available, the review is well-timed. Consultations are taking place with key stakeholders during September and October 2016. Those interested in expressing their views or making suggestions about the scheme are invited to get in touch.

The TQG work on this important review is being undertaken by Dr Malcolm Fisk ( and Dr Kevin Doughty ( ) . The review’s recommendations will be provided to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government later in 2016.