Technology Enabled Care (TEC) – What is it?
Connected health, also known as technology enabled care (TEC), involves the convergence of health technology digital media and mobile devices. What does it do, you ask? It enables patients, carers and healthcare professionals (HCP’s) to access data and information more easily and improves the quality and outcomes of both health and social care.
TEC is not simply about the technology, it’s about putting people first. To do TEC right, it’s about joining up services around the individual – using data from various sources which provide real-time monitoring and communication, in relation to mental health as well as physical health. When people are living alone with long-term conditions or health challenges, TEC can keep them in contact with practitioners, monitoring services and carers in the form of digital media and mobile devices.
As you know, opportunities for using mobile technology have improved vastly over the last few years with the growing population of smartphone and tablet users in the UK, even among older age groups. Other notable developments are the availability of healthcare ‘bio sensing’ wearables, such as digital blood pressure monitors and glucose sensors and patient and provider access to real time healthcare data and information. Mobile technology can empower patients and carers by giving them more control over their health and making them less dependent on HCP’s for health information.
Challenges - What are they?
Just as you guessed, there are always going to be challenges arising. Overcoming staff reluctance to engage with technology is a tough one – HCP’s are often reluctant to engage with technology, partly due to the scale and pace of development and the proliferation and speed of development. As you can imagine, staff find it difficult with keeping up with the constant development and changes of technology. There are also concerns about quality, reliability; data, privacy and security- which will be discussed further in future blog posts!
What does the future hold?
Technology has the power to improve access to healthcare services, especially those with mobility problems. Moving forward, technology will extend to more wearable, voice-controlled and implanted devices – we need to be ready for widespread availability of sensors and how we can make use of them without ethical or security worries. Health and care professionals also need a wide understanding of what is available and how it can be personalised.
We can come to the conclusion that;
- The digital shift is inevitable, a plan of action is needed to minimise disruption.
- The great opportunities of digital health care cannot be missed.
- Care services must keep up with consumer expectations and emerging technologies.
- Collaboration and alignment are vital
- Costs will be significant, but the investment is worth making.