Islanders to benefit from healthcare technology

THE WESTERN Isles has been chosen as one of five pilot areas of Scotland which will take part in a research and development programme that will see up to £10m invested in finding innovative solutions that could improve the lives of millions of people with long term conditions.

The aim is to encourage 10,000 or more older adults living in the pilot areas to take part in the DALLAS (Delivering Assisted Lifestyles At Scale) initiative. The programme will examine the use of new technologies to support people in their own homes and find out which innovative products, systems and services work best.

Cabinet Secretary for Health Nicola Sturgeon said: “Supporting people to live independently at home is a key priority for the Scottish Government. It is what older people have consistently said they want and we know it is generally better for people’s health to remain at home wherever that’s possible.

“Scotland has made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies to help people do just that - providing effective care and reassurance to many older people. This project demonstrates our commitment to build on this progress and to expand even further the role technology plays in supporting twenty-first century healthcare.”

NHS Western Isles Medical Director Dr James Ward commented: “As a result of changing demographics towards an increasingly older population, NHS Boards have to continuously adapt, evolve and improve our approaches to providing care to people as they age, as well as supporting those with long term conditions.

“With one of the most elderly populations in Scotland, and a commitment to develop the application of telehealth in partnership, NHS Western Isles is ideally placed to pilot this innovative project. NHS Western Isles and our local authority together have a positive track record in using technology as part of assisted living and we anticipate that this new initiative will enable us to further improve patient care and enhance the patient experience.”

He added: “As well as working with local authority and voluntary sector partners to develop this work, it is crucial that service users and their carers are involved in the design and implementation of technology solutions to support healthy lifestyles and independent living. The use of technology is becoming more and more part of everyday life and it essential the health and care services build this into our day to day arrangements to support the people we care for.”

DALLAS is considered to be phase one of the wider Scottish Assisted Living Programme, which aims to offer effective technologies to support care for people with disabilities and or health conditions in their own homes. DALLAS is considered to inform a further roll-out of technology supported service redesign across Scotland.