The Journal of mHealth Vol 1 Issue 3 (June 2014) - Page 23

The Value of Video in Modern Health and Social Care For Alasdair Morrison of STAY the critical element of using video and other complimentary digital solutions is that it necessitates the re-engineering of services, thus adding not only the value of video interactions, but actually making the underlying services themselves more efficient. save nearly half a million pounds in costs (in the first year of use). By analysing high-cost learning disability care packages, provided by the Council, Morrison and his team were able to identify particular cases where care and assistance could be better provided using telecare and virtual visits as a means of providing targeted, assistive, at-home, care to people with learning disabilities, whilst also supporting those people to become more independent. The use of the system gave the Council the ability to create a dedicated video service that was present in each recipients home. The system was then networked across a range of services that combined to improve the assisted living solution. This meant recipients could network with each other across secure video and audio links, they also had access to a 24-hour alarm service, should emergency care or advice be required. The integrated nature of the solution additionally meant that contact with care stakeholders, family, and other support channels could be provided via the same solution. The potential though is even greater. Sandwell have identified other preventative and social care services that can all be provided via the system at the single point of access, for example housing management, tenancy support and community services. This means that a range of services can be accessed by the user, and multiple agencies can collaborate and use the system to administer services, which in turn reduces the unit cost of having the hardware located in a property. The aim for Sandwell is to develop an inclusive system that deploys across access points located both in residential homes, and at various convenient community locations like libraries, leisure centres, and council offices, etc. They also intend to integrate the system across all community health and social prevention teams, through the establishment of a Multi-Agency Prevention Platform. With video at the heart of the interaction this solution will combine existing services to provide a streamlined point of reference for interactive access to health and social care. Delivering a package of services via a single system not only reduces costs, but also strengthens the effectiveness of each component offering, as well as fostering cross-discipline and multi-agency cooperation. This prevents duplication of resource commitment and better overall strategic management. Other councils in the UK are equally recognising the benefits that can be derived from initiating this type of preventative, in-community and in-home care, and are beginning to explore these across an interesting range of care circumstances. Calderdale Council recently trialed the v-connect system as a means of providing relational care to out-ofarea residents and found the system to be extremely useful in building relationships between their care providers and the care recipients. The Council is now exploring other cases that may benefit from this type of interaction. This sentiment is echoed in primary and secondary healthcare. Dr Richard Pope of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust UK describes the motivation for video and digital solutions as not being led by a desire to negate or necessarily reduce admissions but instead it is about delivering clinical efficiencies by ensuring that care is provided in timely, relevant situations. Airedale have, over the past 9 years, successfully delivered a digital strategy built upon video services. Their initial work involving the provision of clinical video consultations to prison offenders, has significantly grown to encompass a range of remote care and consultation services, across a number of different medical disciplines. All care situations involve multiple stakeholders. One of the critical elements to deploying a successful digital health solution is being able to offer a system that is sufficiently flexible enough to meet the different demands of these stakeholders. This is particularly critical where video is being used to manage patient care and provide remote consultations. It is important that the systems are available at the right time, in the right place, and via a method that fits with the needs of the user. One way to look at these interactions is to break down the relevant connections involved in the care continuum into component relationships: Professional to professional communication; professionals to a person at home or in a care home; and, where people are supported by family or carers. Each of these relationship will require slightly different operating work flows, and it is therefore imperative to establish protocols along with service level agreements to ensure successful operation. As part of Airedale's Right Care strategy they are introducing a raft of services that enable patien