O2 launches mobile health service ‘Help at Hand’
Telefonica’s mobile brand O2 has introduced a wireless patient monitoring service to Britain
by: Abbie Smith
Help at Hand, a new mobile healthcare service which has been developed by the health arm of mobile network O2, has been launched in Britain today.
The service is thought to be the first mobile telecare solution in the UK and is also one of the first of such launches by a commercial company.
Help at Hand has been designed to expand telecare support beyond the boundaries of the home, giving people with long-term conditions the confidence to leave the confines of their primary care environment.
O2 Health will make the Help at Hand service available to patients next month, which will offered through UK health and social care organisations.
Patients will be given a small mobile device to carry with them – either a pendant or wristwatch – which is linked to an alarm receiving centre which is operated by trained staff 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Help at Hand devices also features GPS tracking capabilities to monitor the patient’s location, as well as a sensor which detects when someone has fallen down.
O2 Health worked with Telefonica’s Health Research & Development team in Granada to develop the Help at Hand technology.
“The health and social care landscape in the UK is changing rapidly – more people require long term care, resources are under pressure, patients are demanding more choice – providers are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less,” comments Keith Nurcombe, O2 Health’s Managing Director.
“We believe there is huge potential for technology to help – in terms of giving patients more independence as well as reducing the cost and resources required for building-based care.”
“For many groups of patients now being considered for telecare services, being confined to their homes is no longer acceptable,” Nurcombe continued.
“They want to be able to go about their daily lives with the reassurance that help is quickly available should they need it.
“Mobile technology is a natural fit – this is where we have identified a need and developed Help at Hand to meet it.”
Mobile healthcare is an area in which huge growth is expected in the coming years, with some studies suggesting the market will be worth $23 billion by the year 2017.
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