Telecare, Telehealth, mobile health, apps, digital health, eHealth & Telemedicine
Telecare services have been established in the UK over the last 20 or more years, with an increasing range of sensors becoming available as part of home-based community alarm systems which support independent living by managing risk. Outside of the UK, terminology may differ, for instance, in the U.S., systems are often referred to as PERS. Terminology is also evolving in the UK, reflecting the increased sophistication of systems, and newer terms such as Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) are now in use.
A range of home and mobile-based telehealth services have been developed in the UK over the last 10-15 years. These have been joined by video consultations, wearable and smartphone devices and apps in recent years. New terms have been used including digital health, mhealth and ehealth.
The focus of this page is on health, care and wellbeing for people living at their chosen home rather than hospital-based systems.
In England, overall NHS policy is led by the NHS Mandate (opens new window). NHS England is implementing a Five Year Forward View (opens new window). For digital technology, NHS England has published Personalised Health and Care 2020 (opens new window) and Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) Resource for Commissioners (opens new window). Much of the work is organised through the National Information Board (opens new window) (33 Programmes, 10 domains), 15 AHSNs (opens new window), 50 vanguard sites (opens new window) and 7 testbeds (opens new window). There is an NHS England website (opens new window) for digital technology. By June 2016, 83 regions across the country had developed Local Digital Roadmaps (opens new window).
In Scotland, there is an eHealth Strategy (opens new window), National Telehealth and Telecare Delivery Plan for Scotland to 2016 (opens new window) and Technology Enabled Care Programme (opens new window). Much of the activity is led by the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (opens new window). There is a Digital health and social care strategy for Wales (opens new window) and an eHealth and Care Strategy (opens new window) in Northern Ireland.
There are a range of standards relating to social alarms (opens new window), internet and device protocols (eg HTML (opens new window), Bluetooth (opens new window)). Some equipment (eg blood pressure monitors) will need to meet the requirements for medical devices (opens new window). There is an established Code of Practice (opens new window) for Technology Enabled Care in the UK. Nice guidance (opens new window) is available on home care (including telecare) in the UK.