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Given the choice, most of us want to live independently in our own homes for as long as possible, but as we get older we may need assistance to support our health and well-being  

Sybo Dijkstra
Thousands of devices – both third party and Philips, for instance the Philips Health Watch or blood pressure monitor – can link to HealthSuite, a secure cloud-based store that collects and combines data from many sources, analyses this data and sends the results to a tablet or smartphone to present it in an easy to interpret format. And users can share this information with their doctors – apps allow for more personalized care and advice for patients with specific conditions, and reduce the burden on doctors.

What's next for wearable tech?

There are already a range of connected devices in use in the UK. One unobtrusive monitoring application – EncoreAnywhere – remotely connects sleep therapy patients to their doctor. “By collecting therapy data wirelessly from the patient’s home, the clinician can intervene early if needed,” says Sybo Dijkstra. Even small innovations, such as automated pill dispensers, can help patients stick to their medication; a new Medido dispenser will release the right medication at the right time and alerts caregivers when a patient misses a dose. This has shown medication adherence go up from 50% to 96%.

Given the choice, most of us want to live independently in our own homes for as long as possible, but as we get older we may need assistance to support our health and well-being

So what does your GP actually need right now?

But it will take more than individual technologies to help reform general practice. “GPs… are at the heart of our communities, the foundation of the NHS and internationally renowned,” says NHS England in its document General Practice Forward View, published last April. But practices are experiencing unprecedented pressure, it acknowledges. The Government has committed to an extra £2.4 billion a year to support general practice services by 2020-21, a 14 per cent rise in real terms. Investment will be supplemented by a £500 million “turnaround” package to support GP practices.

 

While money is welcomed, think tanks have criticized the investment as not going far enough to help integrate healthcare. As well as pledging to find 5,000 more full-time GPs in the next five years, the plan backs greater use of technology, including apps connecting patients to their practice and systems to manage appointments online. It also aims to share records more successfully across teams.

 

Could technology and telehealth, which delivers virtual healthcare – help hard-pressed family doctors work in more integrated teams, with better communications, information and efficiency?

 

This blog was originally published on The Telegraph. 

Sybo Dijkstra

Sybo Dijkstra

Sr. Director Philips Research UK & Ireland

 

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