Connected Health is a revolutionary approach to health care provision. It will change how most of us will experience health service delivery if not now then certainly in the future and it will be a powerful driver in prolonging the average lifespan in Irish society.
UCD captured the essence of this approach when it said connected health “puts the correct information in the correct hands at the correct time”.
It will provide lots of benefits to health service users: for example enabling high quality personalised care for patients in their own homes and relieve the pressure on clinical resources like beds and medical staff; it allows patients with chronic ailments to get back to back to their regular routine but at the same time enables clinical staff to monitor their vital signs and anticipate their condition becoming acute. It also enables the patient to regain much of their quality of life without any loss of healthcare quality.
And how is all this being achieved? At the core of connected health is a range of radical new technologies in mobile, internet of things (IoT) and Big Data.
Their solution model usually encompasses SaaS applications hosted on a remote cloud (users can be both clinicians and patients); mobile health monitoring devices; mobile devices (possibly wearable technology) that measure patient medication adherence; websites that deliver therapeutic content and data analytics solutions that analyse the vast inflows of vital data from patients in real time, enabling clinical staff to make high quality life or death decisions.
S3 has rolled out these solutions to healthcare clients all over the world. The S3 solutions – given the size of modern healthcare systems and the upward driven demand for these services – are designed for scalability.
They are also configurable because the solution is to be used across multiple jurisdictions with different quality assurance regimes. And also they’re design has an emphasis on usability because the user base could be highly trained clinical staff to elderly users or users with severe physical impairments.
Additionally, S3 has to comply with data protection regimes across multiple jurisdiction and offer high availability because vital sign monitoring can’t be switched off in the evenings or weekends. And also provide a level of robustness allowing devices to be taken out and used in the patient’s daily life.
Again, with their solutions operating in the real world they need to have a very high level of extensibility and future proofing to they can be compatible with tech changes coming down stream. And they must also be able to work on the other end of the timeline with legacy technology in the clinical environment.
Much of the S3 connected health solution will generate vast flows of patient data in real time, allowing medics for the first time potentially lifesaving insight into patient behaviour. This could help them answer questions like: is the current treatment the right fit or design for the patient and if it’s falling down how can it be fixed? And is the patient recovering; should clinical staff intervene at any point?
S3 Group and its partners have been successful in a range of connected health projects in this new industry: in 2012, TF3, a consortium of which S3 Group is a member, and the Centre for Connected Health and Social Care (CCHSC) won 2 Crystal awards at the Telecare Services Association’s (TSA) annual awards ceremony. S3 also as part of the TF3 consortium designed and built the Telehealth Managed service that provides tele-healthcare for 20,000 chronically ill people throughout Northern Ireland.
Regardless of the revolutionary changes Connected Health will create throughout the health industry, for individual patients connected health will improve the quality of their healthcare and the quality of their lives which would go a long way to off-setting the pressure building on the health services.