Cambridge UK 11th February 2003 A report published by Wireless Healthcare states that 'always on' technology, such as 3G, would enhance ehealth applications.
The government recently allocated £100 million for schemes that eliminate bed blocking in NHS Trust hospitals. Some of these schemes use ehealth technology that enables patients to recover from operations in their own home rather than a hospital ward.
However, Wireless Healthcare suggests that ehealth providers must move away from fixed line based services - which require monitoring devices to be docked before data is dialled in. Instead devices should be 'always on' - this, the report explains, would ensure equipment is easier to use and therefore cost effective.
The report identified one vendor that is already producing a GPRS enabled device. With a market that could be worth up to £1.5 billion a year to the IT industry, network operators cannot afford to overlook the potential revenue from long-term healthcare services. Today £11 billion a year is spent on long-term healthcare for the elderly alone. This figure is set to rise over the next 20 years as the number of people aged over 65 increases by 40%. Keeping a patient in a hospital bed costs over £800 a week whereas caring for them at home costs £120 a week. This represents a substantial margin for anyone providing an ehealth service.
Faced with a bill that could rise by up to £5 billion a year, and continue to increase until 2050, the government is keen to use IT to reduce the cost of long-term care. Mobile operators should, therefore, ensure they target the elderly, as well as the younger generation, when planning 3G services.
About Wireless Healthcare
Specialising in the ehealth and healthcare sectors Wireless Healthcare produce independent research and analysis for investors, healthcare providers and IT vendors.
The report "Caring for the Aged - Long Term Problem or Long Term Opportunity" is available in printed format for £19 + vat or electronically for £16 + vat
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Last updated on: 27/08/2010