Technology to Assist Better Living – Time to Create Awareness for Both Professionals and Citizens Alike

Technology to Assist Better Living – Time to Create Awareness for Both Professionals and Citizens Alike

  • Maggie Ellis
  • 08 March 2017
  • Posted in: Healthcare, Science & Technology

These are the strong views of the Digital Minister for Estonia, where everybody in the population has open access records and use them regularly when they are at home or on holiday in Spain. At such times when taken ill they can share their records with the Spanish Medic, ensure that everybody is clear about their medication and the treatments they have had. As The Minister says the Estonian population not only deserves the service of eHealth, they expect it.



For some reason NHS England has adopted a set of terminology for assistive technology, which is different to Europe and the USA. Our aim is to innovate change in these areas. To that end we have been collecting data about cost effectiveness and information about wider use of Open Access Records to encourage greater personal responsibility for health, etc.

The Caldecott Report should hinted that use of open access records held some dangers. This must be balanced by a practical but realistic approach. ‘Open Access’ does not mean open to the world, but accessible to the person and their medical service providers.

Because of growing financial stringency the statutory bodies in many European Countries will probably have to reduce the level of financial support and resource they can dedicate to the health and care of their ageing citizens. The increased percentage of older people in our populations is acknowledged. Now we must prepare to match the service to that need.

There is now an accelerating need to create sharper awareness and educate citizens in Active and Assisted Living Technology, Digital Services, Open Access to records, and Technology usage.

Scare stories about abound, appear regularly in the press but must be addressed carefully with some real facts. This is nowhere more important than in England.

Repeated Barriers to adoption of assistive technology exist:

• Lack of knowledge of applications, time and cost to implement and exact benefit
• Poorly researched publications on eHealth
• Overburdened healthcare systems mean investing in new ways of working is not the center of attention
• Interoperability involves the integration of multiple complex IT systems and infrastructure
• Lack of legal and ethical and industry standards
• Lack of a robust funding or reimbursement model
• Culture shifts are required from both patients and Health Care Professions before efficient adoption of assistive technologies – better education and understanding
• Legal challenges surrounding information governance and privacy are considered a primary deterrent.

People still question the economic case for eHealth Service delivery.
Epidemiology changes –
Correlation between age and disability
Cost effectiveness of local services
Avoidance of Hospital admission
Increased responsibility for personal health
More Data exists
NOW we have to use it!

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About Maggie Ellis

Maggie has been at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), involved with EU and UK Research Projects since 1999. MonAMI, and SOCIONICAL projects lead to developing a Vulnerable People in the Community Group. Other project work links with a Review of Scottish Government Services. As an Occupational Therapist, she managed physical…