Gavin Bashar, UK & I Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses the digital transition, and what the next generation of  digital care solutions will look like.

The move from Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to a digital communications network is happening  at a time when connectivity has become even more intrinsic to the way we work and live.  The transition, which is set to complete in 2025, will see market change driven by the required move from analogue  to a digital (IP) fibre network.

The switchover to digital will present significant benefits over and above traditional service provision, and will enable a more predictive environment that can highlight behaviour changes and forecast the need for extra support. This in turn will contribute to the growth of real time data gathering and reporting in service provision,  joining up stakeholders and providing a better opportunity for planning and the implementation of effective services to citizens in the community.

Enabling the right systems and solutions

Projecting Older People Population Information (POPPI) has projected that there will be 7.1 million people in the UK aged 75 and above by 2035. This will equate to 15% of the total population, doubling the number of over-75s in the UK in the next decade.  This will see a growing requirement for technology to play an increasingly important role in helping to expand the capacity of our systems in order to meet these challenges, and support independence and wellbeing.

It’s important that technology providers work closely with health and care services  to co-produce technology enabled systems and processes, and ensure the right solutions are directed where they’re most needed.

Through listening and understanding the needs of individuals and the care landscape as a whole, new solutions can. support a robust, digital-first approach. Whilst the digital transition is ongoing, deploying end-to-end processes which includes meticulous research, development, manufacturing and testing can ensure that all solutions reliable, person-centred and designed with the future in mind.

As demands continue to rise due to the increasing number of people with long term conditions and ongoing care needs, new ways of working must be found in order to deliver care that is safe and efficient, while reducing reliance on hospital and residential care. We must build on the collaborations that have already been generated to shape a system that is person-centred, not place-based, using technology to better serve people in such a fast-changing world.

The next generation of digital care solutions

The latest generation of digital technology enabled care solutions (TECS)  opens up a whole new world of possibilities for caring for people at home. This includes broadening the circle of care to engage families, friends and communities, and using data-driven insights to refine care delivery.

Digital solutions such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) can be used to support early intervention which can avoid the need for more complex care for people living with chronic conditions. RPM solutions can be tailored to the needs of every user by harnessing the power of technology to design services around individual needs, rather than location. This can support patients in taking an active role in managing their own health. RPM can also be scaled and adapted responsively according to clinical need, seasonal and environmental risks, and technological innovation. Technologies like this can support service providers in offering more dignified and independent care.

Many TECS users may be unaware of upcoming upgrades, and telecare providers need to ensure they are not only prepared for the digital future in terms of equipment and services, but also ensure citizens, and their families, are educated about the changes and the possible impact of the switch on them in order to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

The next generation of solutions, such as Tunstall’s PNC IP and Lifeline Digital™ IP dispersed telecare alarm unit, will support a range of organisations in the ongoing delivery of successful telecare services to vulnerable people across the UK, helping social care and housing providers to ensure their monitoring services maximise the digital opportunity.

It is crucial that technology partners work together with health, housing and social care providers to deliver root and branch change. Strategic investment in technology to underpin new models of care is key in reconfiguring and integrating services as the digital transition continues.

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