BEAVERTON, Ore., March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Worcestershire County Council along with three National Health Services (NHS) Clinical Commissioning Groups have issued the first 3millionlives tender in England, which includes two key Continua Health Alliance standards in the 'Mandatory Requirements' section of its call for tenders. The program is part of the UK's 3millionlives program established by the Department of Health UK to support the adoption of telehealth and telecare services. Advising the Department of Health UK, a Working Group of representatives from NHS and industry organizations concluded that telehealth would not successfully reach scale if national standards were not adopted. Continua is the international industry organization dedicated to advancing personal connected health by promoting end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity of personal health devices and establishing industry standards for interoperability.
"The 3millionlives Industry Working Group has defined the type of national standards we will hold ourselves to. It is inconceivable that a mainstream telehealth service would be commissioned without the sort of rigor outlined in this document. Adopting the best international and national standards ensures we meet our three criteria for safe, quality and scalable, long-term chronic disease management tools," said Dr. Malachy Rice, Pathfinder Support Group, 3millionlives. "We have carefully chosen best-in-class standards from international bodies such as IEEE and Continua Health Alliance, and national standards from Telecare Services Association and the Department of Health Informatics Directorate."
When launching the 3millionlives initiative in December 2011, The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP, Prime Minister, UK, stated, "Just look at our approach to telehealth -- we've trialed it, it's been a huge success, and now we're on a drive to roll this out nationwide. The aim -- to improve three million lives over the next five years. This is going to make an extraordinary difference to people."
The goal of the Worcestershire County Council and NHS program is to make assistive technologies -- including telehealth and telecare -- widely available to enable people to age independently in their own homes, prevent unnecessary hospital admissions, reduce home care and enable early hospital discharge, while reducing health care costs.
"More and more public health agencies worldwide are implementing personal connected health strategies utilizing the Continua Design Guidelines to expand access to quality care, improve clinical outcomes and better utilize limited health resources. In doing so, they recognize the value of interoperability and the need for convenient and secure technologies for consumers and providers," said Clint McClellan, Continua board president and chairman, and senior director of strategic marketing, Qualcomm Life, Inc. "Working closely with standards organizations, Continua-certified personal health devices ensure the seamless and efficient use of technology to deliver care at the population level. We are pleased to continue to help advance the use of personal health technologies around the world."
According to the recommendations outlined in the Assistive Technology Program, personal health devices must meet the specifications under CEN ISO/IEEE 11073, and implement current and future interoperability specifications based on guidelines published by Continua Health Alliance.
Worcestershire county is located in the West Midlands region of the UK, with a population of approximately 570,000. According to the Worcestershire County Council's Aging Well Strategy, 111,000 residents are age 65 and older, representing nearly 20% of the total population of the county. The county's aging population is expected to increase to nearly 156,000 by 2026, with nearly 28,000 aged 85 and older.
Continua's standards-based Design Guidelines ensure Continua certified products and services connect to other products or systems without restrictions or specific implementation. Continua Health Alliance also provides free test tools and access to Certified Continua Experts (CCEs) to help members certify their products, and offers a testing and certification program that actively supports technology teams seeking certification. Certified products display a recognizable logo that signifies interoperability according to industry standards. Continua certification enables more efficient, standardized development and new market opportunities for interoperable products such as smartphones, dedicated wireless hubs, the Internet and personal health devices that can be used to collect and relay vital health information and education.
The 3millionlives initiative is a partnership consisting of the Department of Health UK, NHS, social care, housing, industry and patient representative stakeholders. 3millionlives aims to improve quality of care for millions of people in the UK and deliver significant cost savings for health and social care service providers. To achieve this, the 3millionlives partnership is formulating the most efficient and cost effective ways to implement telehealth and telecare services at scale and put these services at the heart of care pathways. Together they aim to fulfill this challenge over the next five years, by simplifying procurement and commissioning processes. For more information: www.3millionlives.co.uk.
About Continua Health Alliance
Continua Health Alliance (Continua) is an international not-for-profit industry organization enabling end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity of personal health devices and services. These services will empower information-driven health self-management and facilitate the incorporation of health and wellness into the day-to-day lives of consumers. Continua is a pioneer in establishing standards-based guidelines and security for connected health technologies such as smartphones, gateways and remote monitoring devices through its Guideline releases. The Alliance's activities include a certification and brand support program, events and collaborations to support technology and clinical innovation, and outreach to employers, payers, governments and care providers. With over 200 member companies reaching across the globe, Continua is comprised of technology, medical device and health care industry leaders and service providers dedicated to making personal connected health a reality. For more information visit: www.continuaalliance.org.
SOURCE Continua Health Alliance