Spring Speakers Series: Getting it Wrong? Technologies and Telehealth for an Ageing Population

Dr Malcolm J. Fisk is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Computing and Responsible Research, De Montfort University, Leicester. He will be speaking at BGS Spring Meeting in Gateshead.

Most of the readers of this blog can look forward to a healthy and long(ish) life. The likely quality of that life is, of course, open to debate and depends on a number of factors. One of these factors is concerned with the accessibility and usability of many of the technologies through which we’ll be able to keep engaged (and, yes, that does include working into our older age). Another factor relates to our use of sometimes specialist technologies that can help us with our ailing bodies or minds.    Continue reading

Inspiring carers – all too often overlooked

Alex Greenwood is a recent graduate who’s been exposed to the realities of domiciliary care through her work with Konnektis, a hub digitizing social care and communication, facilitating better care for those in their own homes. She tweets @konnektis 

alexHaving lost my grandparents at an early age, I had very limited understanding of the realities of care. Through my work with Konnektis, and the inherently person-centred process of co-design, I am gaining privileged access to the outstanding work of carers. A commonly misunderstood and under-appreciated profession, carers have  been absorbing the the pressures of our overstretched care system for years and the sector is now at breaking point. Whilst recent public concern over sustainability of care in the context of an aging population is an important debate, it is these inspiring carers – all too often overlooked – whose stories I wish to share in this space. Continue reading

Innovative digital technology; A truly viable option for our older patients?

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex @EstherClift

Telemedicine_ConsultWe are facing unprecedented times in the NHS. Those of us working from within, we know only too well that the demands and pressures mean we need to do things differently, in a cost efficient way, while safeguarding quality and standards of patient care. Digital technology has been heralded as the panacea for our situation, with telecare, telemedicine and telehealth offering viable alternatives to our reduced staffing, and pressured workloads. Digital is non judgmental and non discriminatory. Continue reading

Which one is a better deal – home visits or phone calls?

Frances Wong is a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. telemed

Our recent research has revealed very interesting findings about the power of a telephone call as compared to home visits for post-discharged patients. Patients are discharged from the hospital as soon as the immediate problems are resolved. Some care issues only emerge when the patients return home. The issues usually involve patients’ confidence and ability for self-care, symptom management, adherence to medication regimen and so on. If these concerns are not addressed properly, the patients will present themselves to the hospitals again. Like a revolving door syndrome, patients returning to the community come back to the hospital within a short time. The mean readmission rate within 28 days after discharge is 15% and the rate can escalate to 35% for the chronically ill patients.  Continue reading

Review of the iPhone app for Delirium and Dementia

Dr Sutha Yoganathan reviews the new iPhone app: Confusion: Delirium and Dementiamzl.zlgfmbab

App type: A mix of E-learning/ Clinical Bedside.

Platform and Costs: Apple, Free

Target Audience: Junior Doctors, GPs, Allied health Professionals, Medical Students, Hospital Doctors

Test Drive: The delirium and dementia app is one of the few clinical apps that have been designed with the UK-NHS inspired approach towards managing the confused patient. Based upon the latest NICE guidelines of their respective subject matter, the app makes a decent stab at tackling what many junior doctors find to be a tricky issue. Continue reading

Award Winning Telehealth

Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust; Bridget Fletcher discusses how this Yorkshire Hospital is delivering unique, new and bespoke video consultation services to support patients in their own home and preventing unnecessary admissions to ED and inpatient beds.telehealth

Overburdened A&E departments and hospital wards full to capacity are almost daily news items currently.  It is likely that the individual human stories behind those news items involve very many people over the age of 65 living with one or more long term conditions.  In fact statisticians tell us around 70% of our NHS resources in general are spent caring for patients living with long term conditions, much of which is re-active care rather than proactive. Continue reading

What role can social media play in healthcare?

Victoria Betton is a social media & mental health PhD researcher, Deputy Director at Leeds & York NHS PFT. She tweets at @VictoriaBetton and blogs at digitalmentalhealth.co.ukbetton

Social media is the term used for online platforms which enable people to consume information as well as produce their own content – from 140 character updates on Twitter through to sharing photos on Instagram, and much more besides. Whether we use social networks or not, they are increasingly incorporated into day to day life, and not just for younger people:  Age UK report that the number of 55-64 year old internet users creating a social network profile rose by almost half last year, and many use social networking to keep in touch with family and friends and to reduce social isolation. Continue reading

Independence through technology – how far have we come?

Mark S. Hawley is Professor of Health Services Research, University of Sheffield.

Stuart G. Parker is Wm Leech Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Newcastle University.blog SP

Telecare and telehealth are being championed as important components in the response to the needs of an ageing population. What happens when you ‘open the black box’ and take a look inside? A review of a large scale piece of research suggests the answer might not be as clear cut as we might like. Continue reading

Cyber-care – The benefits and drawbacks of new technology

A conference report from the BGS Spring Meeting in Belfast, by Liz Gill.telecare

The benefits – and some drawbacks – of new technology was the subject of the BGS Special Interest Group for Telecare and Telehealth where Dr Frank Miskelly, consultant physician at Imperial College London, had this key message for his audience. “The secret is to look at the problem and then ask how you can use technology to solve it.  Too often you get companies who want to sell you some kit saying ‘we’ve got the solution, can you now find the problem?’” Continue reading

The Technological Revolution and its place in teaching Geriatric Medicine

Laura Daunt is an ST5 from the East Midlands North Deanery and is Education and Training representative on the BGS Trainees Council

Much is written about the time pressures on modern medical student curricula. Geriatric medicine, in particular, has the challenge of conveying the complex needs of our elderly patients and the necessity of a problem solving approach. This type of complex decision-making is perhaps best taught face-to-face with real multi-disciplinary teams and the patients they serve. However, there is also a great deal of material to get through if students are going to develop a proper theoretical underpinning to the skills they need to manage older patients.

One way to use face-to-face teaching time more constructively is to use computer aided learning (CAL) in addition to traditional teaching methods. This frees up face-to-face teaching time so that it can be used where it is most needed.  The approach is known as blended learning. Continue reading