Over 100 researchers, actuaries, technologists and NGOs are coming together this afternoon to explore the potential of new technology to improve health and care, reduce costs and tackle isolation amongst older people.

Early findings from the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme set up by the Department of Health (published in December 2011) found that “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”.

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

The event, being organised by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) in conjunction with the Actuarial Profession, and supported by New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA), will showcase 9 NDA technology research projects: (Mappmal: hospitalfoodie; SomnIA – Sleep in Elderly; Design for Ageing Well; TACT3 – Tackling Ageing Continence through Theory; Tools and Technology; Envision – envision to envisage: Using visualisations in physical rehabilitation therapy; Making the Kitchen Easier; NANA – Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing; Keeping Older People Connected; Safety on Stairs).(1)

Ahead of the event, Professor Alan Walker, Director of NDA said “The role of technology in both improving care and containing costs, so far, has been mostly a case of great promise but poor delivery. Evidence from the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme emphasises the enormous potential but, also, the need to work closely with older users if this is to be realised.”

Jane Curtis, President of the Institute and faculty of Actuaries said “The ageing population presents policy makers with a wide variety of challenging questions that need to be tackled if we are able to offer support that is both effective and affordable.  This event, which we are pleased to host and sponsor, will provide practical, evidence based research that I hope will provide illumination and insight”

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, who is speaking at the event said: “New technology offers great potential for improving care and reducing costs, but it is not a golden bullet. The promise and potential of technology must go alongside adequate funding of care. Policy-makers and technology designers must work together to ensure that new technology is usable, accessible, and acceptable to the older care recipient.”


David Sinclair 02073400440

ILC-UK, New Dynamics of Ageing and the Actuarial Profession debate: Improving care, tackling isolation and reducing costs? Can new technology live up to its promise?
The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ. 15:00, 16 May 2012.


(1) The technology showcases presented at the event were:

  • 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 envisage: 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 Stairs
    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.

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


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