There is no doubt that technological advancements have a huge role to play in tackling the challenges of health and healthcare. Technology also offers interventions that could address the challenges of rural health and care. For example, the provision of remote telemetry data from insulin pumps and CPAP machines exists just now. The problem is that there is not an adequate infrastructure to monitor and respond to this data. A recent FOI by the charity SASA (Scottish Association for Sleep Apnoea) discovered that much of the data collected via CPAP machines is simply not monitored due to a lack of capacity. We need to consider the implications of such observations. The benefits of new technology like this will only be realised when there is someone at the end of the data stream. We need to consider whether this person is someone from the NHS (doubtful given capacity constraints) or whether our mindset should shift to recognising the data belongs to the patient and with their consent should be available to whom-ever they wish, such as friends and family, so that they can intervein and check in when the data shows something is amiss. This will necessitate Government really pushing the idea of open data and, within the constraints of confidentiality and consent, getting the sole control of data out of the hands of the NHS and councils.
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