1)What was the TQG set up to do?
The TQG was set up to create a community and network for people and organisations with a shared interest in both telehealth and the way that services meet the needs of their users. These ‘people and organisations’ extend from government agencies, service providers and users to manufacturers and suppliers. At the core of the TQG is the International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services.
The TQG is concerned to ensure that telehealth services develop and operate in accordance with the best ethical practices. It does this through the active exchange of information and knowledge – this, in turn, helping to foster innovation in the manner in which technologies are both designed and their potential harnessed by service users.
And the TQG offers a voice to governments and international authorities on telehealth matters.
2)Does ‘telehealth’ include telecare, social alarms and PERS?
Yes it does. Telecare, social alarms and PERS (personal emergency response services) are fully included in telehealth. The TQG recognises telehealth as inclusive concept that is not narrowly driven by technologists or clinicians. Telehealth is for all of us and telehealth services are as much shaped by the needs and choices of service users as by other stakeholders.
Following from this the TQG has adopted a very inclusive definition of telehealth as the means by which technologies and related services concerned with health and well-being are accessed by people or provided for them irrespective of their location. This definition both challenges ‘top-down’ service approaches and firmly places telehealth in the public health as well as the clinical health arena.
3)Can I become a member of the TQG even though I’m not a telehealth (or telecare) service provider?
Of course! Any organisation with an interest in telehealth is welcome to join the TQG as an Associate Member. There are two types of ‘associate’ – ‘Non-profit’ and ‘For Profit’. The relevant annual membership fee levels for Associate and Full TQG members for 2015/16 can be found here.
4)What organisations have become members so far?
At the time of the full launch of the International Code and website (November 2015), we have six telehealth services (based in three countries) that are members. One of these has been assessed independently as having met the requirements of the Code.
We anticipate many more. Come and join us, share your knowledge and help to influence the way telehealth services develop in the future!