Gary Steen COO Turnstall Healthcare
Gary Steen, COO,            Turnstall Healthcare

As we look to the digital revolution of our health and social care services, we not only need to consider the importance of big data and the digital transition, but the crucial role that the next generation of talent will play in successfully achieving this transformation.

As a health technology provider, we have a responsibility not just to innovate as an organisation, but to drive change across the sector as a whole. Not only does this encompass the products and services that we design, develop and manufacture, but the pools of talent that we tap into.

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If we are to successfully revolutionise our services and innovate effectively, we need to harvest and harness the talent of the future who are well versed in the benefits of digital across the board. This in turn will enable us to reap the benefits of big data, connect systems and products through the IoT, and provide cutting edge solutions for vulnerable people across the globe.

By working closely with talent we can explore key areas to innovate, and drive the health, housing and care sectors forward, whilst ensuring tech literacy is kept in sharp focus. This will also enable us to build on the collaborations that have already been generated to shape a system that is better able to serve people in such a fast-changing world, and ensure the future of technology within the digital health and care space.

Expansion in the UK
Over the next five years we’re going to see both the technology industry, but also health and social care, experience continued disruption, and solutions will be revolutionised, largely thanks to the incredible talent that we’re constantly seeing in the health technology space.

As a global business based in the UK, it’s important that we and other technology providers harness the UK’s significant expertise in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, logistics, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. By harnessing ongoing investment in research and development we will drive change across the board and become a global reference for the provision of health and care services.

It’s important that stakeholders continue to invest in skills and innovation to tap into the unique pools of talent that are renowned for tech expertise. At Tunstall, we are expanding our UK-base into Manchester to attract some of the brightest talent in the sector to drive an exciting technology roadmap forward. The base is launching on 27th October and we are recruiting for a range of positions including quality and testing, software development and business analysis that will complement the existing tech teams based in Yorkshire, Sweden, Germany and Spain.

As well as mid-senior tech roles, there will be opportunities for graduates and apprentices to join the firm as part of Tunstall’s drive to mentor and train the very best talent in tech, in addition to positions that will offer support to those who wish to retrain or who have been out of work.

This new office space forms part of our strategy for growth, driving development of the pioneering Tunstall business as we expand. We are committed to our goals to help our customers meet the needs of their local populations, and this new office will help us achieve just that as we build upon our UK team.

Development and investment in talent will boost our international reputation as a health and care hub. To achieve this, technology providers should consider focusing on investment to support the UK in becoming a globally recognised centre for applied health innovation, and nurturing local talent in research, clinical practice, entrepreneurship and business management, and attract and retain talent from around the world.

Defining strategies
Strategies that revolutionise the health and social care landscape must focus on an end-to-end process that includes product, innovation, development and IT service functions. With demand transforming the current market and technology innovation expanding dramatically, we need to make sure we’re both supporting citizens with existing products and services, but equally driving innovation and development through investment in talent to achieve our vision of a world where people have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest in a place of their choice.

By looking ahead to the future and shifting our capabilities and technology stack so that we’re providing cutting-edge solutions, we can deliver disruptive technology in the health and care space. Health, social care and technology providers can also work together to explore how to deliver changes and innovation from both a people and process perspective to drive collaboration and create the connected world that we’re always looking to achieve.

Investing time in exploring emerging technology is key to the digital transformation of our services that are able to invest in digital products and services that are constantly evolving. If service providers are fully committed, we’ll be able to harness the power of digital technology and remain at the forefront of product and software development on a global scale.

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Harnessing data in health and social care
The potential of big data within our health and social care services cannot be underestimated, however cyber security and other concerns are limiting the gains that we are currently able to make.

These sectors may have been slower to innovate and take full advantage of the benefits that big data can bring, but we have seen a quiet revolution with digital solutions such as wearable devices, and fall detectors that are connected through the IoT are being used on a daily basis to support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people.

There are a variety of ways that we can more effectively harness the power of big data, including reducing the costs of procuring data analytic services, increasing the types of data analysis available to us, and increasing access so that everyone can engage with the right data without requiring advanced technical or analytical skills.

Using technology effectively will enable us to minimise these risks and concerns, engage with citizens and key stakeholders, and harness data to improve health outcomes. By understanding the crucial role of learning from patient data, we’ll be able to make life-altering changes in patient education, treatment and more.

What about the digital transition?
As UK market leader in technology enabled care (TEC) services, Tunstall is fully engaged in preparing for the switchover from analogue to IP (digital) voice calling. This will see the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) that currently powers landline telephones and provides millions of vulnerable users with assistive technology, cease by 2025. UK phone lines will subsequently switch to voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

The switchover will create a predictive environment that highlights behaviour changes and forecasts the need for extra support. It will join up stakeholders and provide a better opportunity for planning, giving a clearer picture of those with vulnerable needs. The latest generation of digital technologies, which will be harnessed by the transition, open up a new world of possibilities for the provision of health and care, changing lives and transforming services.

However, the current crucial consideration has to be the continuity and reliability of telecare services over a digital infrastructure to ensure that vulnerable people are kept safe through and after the switchover. Many end users are unaware of the upgrade, and providers need to ensure they are not only prepared for the digital future in terms of equipment and services, but also in making sure their service users understand the impact of the switch in order to avoid any anxiety or distress, and maintain service efficiency.

While the move from PSTN to digital must not be underestimated, it brings a once in a generation opportunity to modernise, improve and shift the health and social care sectors from a reactive, to a proactive delivery model. Citizen outcomes and efficiencies will be enhanced, and our services will be redesigned around the user.

What does the future hold?
As the digital opportunity accelerates the speed of change, it’s important that all stakeholders are willing to continue investing in talented individuals who can deliver pioneering software, hardware and services that enable providers to deliver integrated, efficient and person-centred care in the community.

The next generation of platforms will have data at the centre of their architecture, and will use technologies such as machine learning and AI to enable quicker and data driven decision making to determine whether someone’s health could be about to deteriorate and action accordingly. Data will be processed from multiple sources and provide a clear picture of the risks someone faces. This will enable us to develop a model of health and care which is proactive and predictive, rather than reactive.

Tunstall Healthcare Lady wearing MyAmie with LifeLine in the background
Tunstall Healthcare Lady wearing MyAmie with LifeLine in the background

Whether it’s the use of virtual care platforms, remote monitoring solutions, communication tools, digital apps or sophisticated data platforms, services are entering a new phase of digital maturity that are powered by artificial intelligence, big data, robotics and the Internet of Things.

The latest evolution of connected care, designed by the next generation, will be underpinned by digital technology, providing data and insight to enable more personalised services and predictive solutions, and will open up a new world of possibilities for changing lives and transforming services.

AboutTunstall Healthcare (UK) Ltd
Tunstall has been at the forefront of technology innovation for the health, housing and social care markets for 65 years, growing to become a UK manufacturer with a global presence. Its pioneering software, hardware and services enable providers to deliver integrated, efficient and person-centred care in the community, and empower people to live more independently and with an improved quality of life.
Tunstall works with social care providers, healthcare services, housing and retirement living providers and charities in 18 countries, improving the lives of more than five million people, including those living with dementia, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and long-term health conditions.
As technology advances and solutions become increasingly digital and cloud-based, we will work closely with our customers and partners to enable them not just react to events, but to predict and even prevent them, using data-driven insights. Our focus is on creating a more connected world that fulfills the potential of technology to offer intelligent care and support, and give people greater choice and control about how they live their lives.