The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ. 15:00, 16 May 2012.

Telecare and telemedicine can improve health outcomes and save money, argued the Prime Minister late last year. The Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme was set up by the Department of Health to attempt to, amongst other things, explore the evidence base as to the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these technologies.

The findings were striking. “If delivered properly, telehealth can substantially reduce mortality, reduce the need for admissions to hospital, lower the number of bed days spent in hospital and reduce the time spent in A&E” argued the DH.

The randomised control trial of over 6,000 patients found that if delivered properly, telehealth can deliver:

  • 45% reduction in mortality rates
  • 20% reduction in emergency admissions
  • 15% reduction in A&E visits
  • 14% reduction in elective admissions
  • 14% reduction in bed days
  • 8% reduction in tariff costs

Yet whilst claims about the potential of technology have been made for many years, embedding such technologies into people’s homes and lives has proved difficult.

The usability and accessibility of new technologies, the digital divide, a lack of funding for prevention, and a lack of trust and knowledge among healthcare professionals are among the many reasons why new technologies have sometimes failed to meet their potential.

At this event, Leela Damodaran, discussed how research into new technologies can help us age well and provide an overview of NDA research findings. She also highlighted how we can most effectively deliver new technology.

Speakers presented the current evidence base in relation to the cost effectiveness of healthcare technologies.

ILC-UK presented findings of new work, supported by Nominet Trust, which explore whether we can nudge people online.

As well as the debate, there were a number of Technology Showcases:

  • Mappmal: hospitalfoodie
    The prototype ‘hospitalfoodie’ is a food and nutrition management system which aims to improve the nutrition of older people by providing a bedside touch screen for entering nutritional requirements, selecting food, helping nursing staff monitor how much was eaten and to alert staff if a patient is missing out on vital nutrients.
  • SomnIA – Sleep in Elderly
    This project addresses practice and policy relevant issues arising from the nature, impact and management of the sleep-wake balance in later life. It will extend and 'join up' strategically targeted areas of sleep research relevant to understanding and improving autonomy, active ageing and quality of later life.
  • Design for Ageing Well
    This project aims to develop comfortable clothing that addresses both technical and style requirements for engaging in healthy exercise, by active members of the 60 to 75 year old bracket who do not suffer from restrictive medical conditions.
  • TACT3 – Tackling Ageing Continence through Theory, Tools and Technology
    This project aims to reduce the impact of continence difficulties for older people by investigating continence services and environmental barriers to continence and by developing assistive devices that both provide reassurance to continence pad users and make pad use less demanding.
  • Envision – envision to envision: Using visualisations in physical rehabilitation therapy
    The envision project evaluated an innovative way of communicating the complexity of biomechanical and movement data using visualisations. Their potential for healthcare applications was validated through a series of interviews, focus groups and workshops with older people, stroke survivors and healthcare professionals.
  • Making the Kitchen Easier
    The project involved detailed research with 60 to 91 year old people living in a variety of accommodation in Bristol and Loughborough. Participants discussed how their present kitchen suited their abilities and needs, and the coping strategies they adopted to overcome problems.
  • NANA – Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing
    NANA is a three-year multidisciplinary research project using sensitively-designed technology to improve data collection and integrate information on nutrition, physical function, cognitive function and mental health to identify individuals at risk of under-nourishment and improve targeting of interventions. This research will not only improve measurement of nutrition, physical health, mental health and cognitive function but will also improve our understanding of the interactions between these factors.
  • Keeping Older People Connected
    This project explores and examines the relationship between the dynamics of ageing and the dynamics of digital Information Communication Technologies (ICT), in order to better understand it can support or enrich the quality of life and autonomy of older people as they age.
  • Safety on Stair
    The majority of falls in older people occur during stair descent. Several functional parameters, including muscle strength, joint mobility and people’s sense of balance deteriorate with age. This project aims to understand the role played in stepping performance and their deterioration with ageing, to find ways of improving the ability of older people to descend stairs.

Download a PDF copy of the event booklet at the bottom of this webpage. The booklet includes information and contact details for each of the above Technology Showcases.

Agenda from the event

15.00 – 16.30
Technology Showcases
16.30 – 16.35
Baroness Sally Greengross – Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre – UK
16.35 – 16.40
Alan Walker - Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology, Director of the New Dynamics
16.40 – 17.00
Mark Hawley – Professor of Health Service Research, University of Sheffield
17.00 – 17.10
Dr Nick Goodwin – Senior Fellow, Health Policy, The King’s Fund
17.10 – 17.25
Leela Damodaran – Professor of Participative Design and Change Management, Loughborough University
17.25 – 17.35
David Sinclair – Assistant Director, Research and Strategy, International Longevity Centre – UK
17.35 – 18.25
Discussion and Debate
18.25 – 18.30
Close - Baroness Sally Greengross – Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre – UK

Presentation slides from the event can be viewed below:


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