Unhealthy Expectations was broadcast by BBC Analysis on May 30th. The programme discusses the problem faced by the NHS (and presumably all health care providers) as our population ages and the number of patients with long term conditions increases.
Given the current model of healthcare provision, spending on the NHS is forecast to reach 100% of GDP in the foreseeable future, which explains the debate about ways the UK can reorganise its delivery mechanisms. Understandably this topic gives rise to some heated assertions by those required to pay for it, the politicians, and also others required to deliver it, the healthcare professionals.
Sir John Oldham, NHS Clinical Lead on Quality and Productivity explains patients will need to take on more responsibility for their health management, aided by technology and supported by clinicians.
This is precisely the backdrop for our plans for SilverServe – a technology platform designed to make technology accessible, and more valuable to older people.
The change from paternal clinicians and passive patients – our model for the last century – to active patients supported by professionals – the model we need for the future, will require a number of problems to be solved.
- Health records and care plans accessible by patients
- Technology which older people can and will use, with confidence
- Applications which directly address the management of long term conditions
SilverServe addresses two of these challenges, and will intercept solutions to the third as they emerge.
Today’s technology is (relatively) inexpensive. Tablet computers increase the entertainment value of computers. Social Media increases the connectivity and engagement available. Internet based services increase the accessibility of support.
- Problem 1 is older people can’t use it. User interfaces are designed for young people, with fast eyes, brains and fingers.
- Problem 2 is neurodegeneration. Today’s debate is about obesity, and diabetes, but there’s a bigger problem building – Alzheimers and Parkinsons and a host of other neurodegenerative diseases.
SilverServe plans to address both.
Clinicians we’ve worked with agree. Neurodegeneration begins years before presenting symptoms which can guide diagnosis. By the time accurate diagnosis is possible most of the damage is done. Degeneration can be slowed, and possibly reversed by exercise. Cognitive and motor function exercise improves neuroplasticity, and neuroplasticity mitigates the damage caused by disease.
SilverServe provides a technology platform older people will want to use, for entertainment and social engagement, and offers connectivity to support services they need. It provides cognitive and motor function exercise to help them manage their condition, before anybody can recognise its development. It provides monitoring and assessment of physical condition, and connects with clinicians for their support in managing care plans.