Digital technologies used in health and social care

Ditchburn, Jae-Llane and Marshall, Alison (2015) Digital technologies used in health and social care. (Unpublished)

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White paper by Cumbria Rural Health Forum, UK.

The technologies that we have come to depend on in our everyday lives – for booking holidays, staying in contact with distant friends and family, doing our banking, shopping, sharing our thoughts, photos and ideas – can be of huge benefit in delivery of health and social care services. The concept is not new. Over the last decade many companies (large and small) have developed innovative products and services. A significant number have been as a result of ideas from clinical or other professionals who really understand what is needed. Already many GPs offer online web access for appointment booking and repeat prescriptions, some provide telephone consultations and a few also offer secure messaging or email access. Panic buttons, fall detectors and other monitoring devices that are linked to a call routing service and alert friends and family by telephone if something has happened to an elderly or vulnerable person at home are widely available. Less widely available is the use of video-conferencing for consultations and sometimes even for procedures. Few are currently in widespread use, but an example is the Telestroke service that provides out of hours access to specialist stroke consultants, making it possible to provide cover across Cumbria at all times. Some of the exciting emerging technologies include apps for mobile devices and the use of wearable sensors to monitor physiological signals (such as pulse rate, temperature, blood glucose level). There are a number of terms in use to describe the different technologies and innovations, which are summarised in Figure 1 below. As an umbrella term, many people in healthcare use the term ‘telehealth’ to cover all these areas. Other terms used are ‘digital health’, ‘connected health’ and ‘virtual health’. In social care, the term ‘telecare’ is widely and consistently used. A relatively new term, used by NHS England, is ‘technology enabled care services’, which has the advantage of encapsulating both healthcare and social care.

Item Type: Report
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Rehabilitation
Research Centres > Cumbrian Centre for Health Technologies (CACHET)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 10:36
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 12:32


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