Earlier this week, I spend two days at Leeds University Business School, videoing the AKTIVE project conference “Technology, Care and Ageing: Enhancing Independence”. Although my role was to observe proceedings through the screen on the back of the camera, I found the whole event fascinating.
The conference theme was about the use of Telehealth and Telecare with older people. I got to see a lot of the conference, as I was asked to capture snippets of all the parallel workshops. As I went around the event, I heard a common theme emerging, which was repeated in a keynote presentation by Professor Heinz Wolff (pictured above). This was that it is essential to get people acquainted with unfamiliar new technologies before there comes a crisis in their lives which means they are forced to use them. There were many examples cited of people rejecting telecare equipment, or failing to use it as intended, because they were frightened of it, or at least extremely unfamiliar with it.
Esther Rantzen at AKTIVE 2014 Conference
This is a similar theme to one of my recurring mantras for Digital Inclusion, which is that people have to be introduced to new technologies in enjoyable ways and in familiar settings, before they have to use them for formal, or in this case, life-saving purposes.
There is an audioboo below, in which I captured my immediate thoughts. I think it is imperative for the Digital Inclusion and Telecare / Telehealth communities to unite around a common agenda to build familiarity with new technologies among older people for whom they can be life-enhancing, and life-saving, tools.
Just when I was feeling the Campaign for Free Wifi for Hospital Patients had stalled, there comes news of a major breakthrough. Prompted by Consultant Paediatrician, Sebastian Yuen, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton has introduced free wifi. This came about after Sebastian consulted with the family of one of his patients who made a specific request, and it was introduced as an NHS Change Day pledge.
Here is a great video about it. Please spread the word and tweet about this using the hashtags #NHSwifi and #NHSChangeDay. Thank you also to Teresa Chinn for the prompt
This post is for the myriad of people who come to my blog looking for information on how to get online while they are in hospital. I am really sorry, that I probably won’t be able to help you.
I’ve been running the Campaign for Free Wifi in Hospitals for a number of years now. We have a Facebook Group here, and I did get a small amount of funding for the cause about three years ago. Oh, and there is a self-populating list of hospitals with wifi here. My unscientific estimate is that slightly more than a third of NHS hospitals in the UK now how wifi which is accessible to patients, sometimes free, but not always, whereas, as far as I know, 100% of private hospitals have free patient wifi.
But, I really feel for the people who come to my blog looking for information on how to connect to the outside world while they are in hospital. It is incredibly frustrating, I know, not being able to keep in touch with family, friends, and work while in a hospital ward. I wish there was more I can do. We need a co-ordinated approach to this, but no one with resources seems interested.
9th March 2014: I’m updating this post with news of a major positive breakthrough http://johnpopham.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/wifi-for-hospital-patients-a-major-breakthrough/