New Digital Technology Lab Shows the Future of Healthcare in the Home

Imagine a world where healthcare professionals are able to identify if patients need help at home and can immediately alert the right person - be it A&E, a fire brigade responder or family member - even before the person knows something is wrong. This is the vision of the City University London's new City TECS (Technology Enabled Care Studio) Smart Home Facility.

One of the first universities in the UK to open a hub equipped with the latest digital health and care technologies, also known as telehealth and telecare, the new space is fitted with a multitude of sensors and gadgets including chair and bed occupancy sensors, medication dispensers, movement sensors and also blood pressure monitors and glucometers.

Supported by Tunstall and Philips with the latest connected health and care innovations, the dedicated space is designed for students and health and social care professionals to learn how to use the latest remote care products and services and integrate them into their pathways of care. It will also help them prepare for how technology will change the face of modern medicine and health and social care.

It is estimated that the population in the UK aged over 65 will increase from 17 per cent to 23 per cent between 2010 and 2035. The greater numbers of older people - and the long term conditions associated with living longer - will present major challenges for health and social care systems.

With increasing economic pressure and the need to make efficiency savings, there is significant interest in the potential for technology to improve care along with reducing utilisation of health services in particular with people who have long-term conditions and social care needs. Around the world, healthcare systems are turning to telehealth and telecare to modernise their services and ease the burden on the health system.

While telehealth concerns the monitoring of physiological data, for example blood pressure and blood glucose levels and requires the active participation of patients, telecare uses a combination of remote sensors and alarms which monitor the person’s state automatically. Usually set up in a home environment, such telecare equipment is intended to enable people to live more independent lives whilst having access to health and social services when needed. Any sudden changes such as a fall results in the automatic notification of services which can be activated in a timely fashion.

Based in the heart of London at City's Northampton Square campus, the launch of City Technology Enabled Care Studio (TECS) is a major advancement of the School's education activities.

Complementing the existing Clinical Skills Suite - which includes a fully simulated nursing ward and a virtual 3D environment for radiotherapy training - the new space will position the School as one of the leading health education institutions in the country.

Combining state-of-the-art facilities and industry leading teaching and ground breaking research, the School of Health Sciences at City is a place where students, academics, practitioners and policy makers can come to learn, share and innovate at an institution which has a history spanning back 120 years.

Speaking about the new facilities, Stanton Newman, Professor of Health Psychology and Dean of the School of Health Sciences at City University London, said: "Telehealth and care technologies have the potential to be a game-changer in terms of the delivery of healthcare and could make a significant difference to people’s lives. Through our partnership with Tunstall and Philips, the new City TECS space will enable City University London to train future leaders of health and social care on how to use the latest technology and to deliver more effective healthcare in the future.

"As a result, the launch of these centres heralds our commitment to the highest quality education for our students and environment for our academics. Our students, will get the best possible teaching from the latest technology, enabling them to go on and become leaders in healthcare and policy."

With 5,000 students, the School offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development courses with significant healthcare research taking place within the related specialties of applied vision, health services research, language communication science, maternal and child health, mental health and public health.

Kevin Alderson, Sales and Marketing Director at Tunstall added: "Tunstall has a heritage of innovation spanning almost 60 years and we have been guided by a single, passionately held, principle: to give people the freedom to live their lives as independently, happily, healthily and securely, as they are able. We are delighted to be a partner in this new facility which acts as a modern working demonstration of the art of the possible, coinciding well with our Yorkshire Innovations Centre which aims to look further into the future whilst giving visitors a chance to think differently about how Connected Care can support the challenges they are facing."

City TECS is fitted with the latest technology used to support health and social care showcasing the tele-health and telecare solutions from leading providers in the field, such as Philips and Tunstall. Features of the facility include:

  • Recording facilitates for reflective learning and practice
  • Telecare safety and sensory devices and sensors e.g. DDA pager, chair and bed occupancy sensors, enuresis and Epilepsy sensors, medication dispensers & PIR movement sensors
  • The UK's first IP housing communications system - Communicall ViIP with hi-tech touch screen app based phone
  • Environmental telecare devices and sensors e.g. flood detectors, smoke detectors, temperature extremes sensor and flood detector.
  • Personal telecare devices e.g. iVi intelligent pendant with built in fall detection, MyAmie – personal radio trigger
  • Telehealth peripherals e.g. BP monitor, glucometer, pulse oximeter and scales integrated with tablets and set-top box with TV screen
  • Remote patient monitoring and support app based systems
  • Care Assist and monitoring centre facilities
  • Wearable assistive devices
  • Empathy suits

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