- People living with a long term chronic (LTC) health condition or a disability
- Those caring for people with an LTC or disability
- Health and social care professionals and allied third sector / charity health providers
- Public health analysts and those examining ways to improve the health and well-being of the population
- National and local government
In the UK alone there are an estimated 15 million citizens living with long term chronic (LTC) health conditions and 11 million disabled people, representing a substantial proportion of the population that should benefit from digital health and assisted living technological advances.
Digital health (also sometimes referred to as mHealth) was described by cardiologist Eric Topol as digital technologies, social networking, mobile connectivity and bandwidth, increasing computing power and the data universe converging with wireless sensors, genomics, imaging, and health information systems to creatively destroy medicine as we know it (source – Wikipedia – Digital Health).
Assisted living as it exists today emerged in the 1990’s as an alternative on the continuum of care for people, for whom independent living is not appropriate but who do not need the 24-hour medical care. Assisted living is a philosophy of care and services promoting independence and dignity (source – Wikipedia – Assisted Living).
Technological Advances in Digital Health and Assisted Living
Today technological advances addressing digital health and assisted living themes are creating potential for the complete transformation of traditional health and social care service delivery model, examples include:
- Tele-health and tele-care solutions supporting the delivery of care “closer to home”,
- assisted living solutions enabling citizens with disabilities and / or long-term chronic conditions to live more independently,
- well-being solutions that deliver health and wellness monitoring with potential to educate and encourage the adoption of healthier lifestyles.
All of the above offering great potential for transformation to an alternative pro-active service model driven by the real-time monitoring and status information, communicated and shared reliably between patients, their carers and health professionals.
Digital Health Leading on Health and Social Care Transformation
The benefits of which to all concerned could be very significant, for example here in the UK:
- There are almost 7 million carers in the UK – that can be better supported, engaged and empowered to make early interventions on potentially escalating conditions
- A small 10% improvement in carer abilities could deliver a further £10+bn in economic value to the UK per year
- Further economic value would be derived from reductions in calls on the NHS and local authority social care i.e. GP visits and call out’s, hospital admissions and consequential engagement of community and social care resources.
There is little doubt that investment in digital health and assisted living technologies and solutions is the key to implementing the much needed reform of the current health and social care service delivery model, and critically the means to achieve delivery of more, with less in the current difficult economic climate.