The public health response to Covid-19 has accelerated many different technological solutions with those in healthcare being among the most exciting.
We are looking here at the basics of telehealth and a new phenomenon called “smart remote care”.
At its most basic level telehealth can mean an interaction taking place between a patient and a healthcare professional over the telephone, or interacting via video call.
Those interactions are unlimited by location. The medic can be on the other side of the planet from the patient.
There are many examples of this kind of interaction taking place in health settings as health leaders moved at lightning speed to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Social distancing measures and the risks to public health from holding traditional clinics, when patients would turn up and sit in a waiting room until they were called into the consulting room, has been one driving force.
The risks of exposure to asymptomatic carriers of the virus in such indoor settings meant those practices had to be re-assessed very quickly. As a result, many consultations went online.
One obvious drawback of holding consultations remotely is that medical professionals must place more reliance on what a patient says, with some of the more invisible symptoms kept hidden from view.
We all know those individuals who insist they are “fine” when they are just keeping what Britons call a “stiff upper lip”. It’s an attitude affecting many older people, and it requires a technological solution.
Smart remote care is one overarching name for an area which holds out many potential solutions.
But what is “smart remote care”?
Being smart can be several things: Smart devices can have some degree of automation and are easily programmed.
Smart connected devices can be remotely controlled or monitored through beacons or any other means of connection.
Smart devices can also be connected to other devices through the internet. Those are ones which can communicate with others.
Taking wearable activity trackers as an example, they have evolved from simple pedometers, which count steps taken in exercise.
Activity trackers that are connected to a platform allow users to, for example, compete.
An activity tracker with a role in smart care might utilise artificial intelligence to alert a user to an unusual pattern of activity.
Briteyellow is at the forefront of moves to take smart remote care to the next levels. With the BriteCare system indoor movement is tracked, with artificial intelligence used to create analysis of movement.
If something goes wrong with a client, a caregiver is alerted to the issue and can respond promptly.