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‘Smart homes’ could be the future of health

Smart Home Device - Home Control

While bringing together the best of digital technology disruptors and stakeholders, the recent Financial Times Digital Health Summit Europe looked to address some of the burning issues surrounding healthcare and technology.

One of the panelists was Mark Duman, Director of IoT (Internet of Things) company Intelesant. Intelesant develop a range of digital health solutions. Their lead project supports older people to live independently for longer.

HOWZ harnesses electricity usage and the outputs of household sensors, combined with their predictive analytic capabilities, to baseline and then monitor users’ daily routines. Where exceptions occur, these can be reported directly to an App on relatives and carers smartphones.

“Intelesant was started by CEO Jonathan Burr, who previously worked in the satellite car navigation industry. His aim was to apply engineering principles from his past successes to develop a real-time practical healthcare solution.”

(Centre) Mark Duman speaking at the FT Digital Health Summit Europe

(Centre) Mark Duman speaking at the FT Digital Health Summit Europe

Mark Duman foresees the platform helping ‘sandwich carers’ – people in their 40s or 50s bringing up children AND caring for older parents. A recent state of the nation survey conducted by AXA PPP Health Tech & You showed that the older generation is very open to integrating health technology into their everyday lives if it can help them live more independently.

HOWZ is an unobtrusive way of helping older people to live independently while helping to reduce their isolation and loneliness. However, it’s not limited to older people wanting to live independently.

For example, a symptom of decline in someone with a mental health condition such as depression is early morning wakening which can be tracked using sensors. If doors have not been opened or even if the kettle hasn’t been boiled that day, the app can alert the relative or carer that the patient is not moving around..

Mark explains that the company will initially be appealing directly to consumers through direct and pharmacy channels. ” We’re not immediately focusing on the NHS and social care, instead looking first to the social housing and energy markets.”

One of the challenges and opportunities for HOWZ is how to move from being a social caring intervention to become a sensor/ device-agnostic platform that helps to reduce admissions and re-admissions for patients.

“Simply put, the data runs through our secure data centre in Manchester and will be able to tell relatives and carers if your loved one is safe, warm & well.
“Looking forward, we hope to launch towards the end of the year, following a successful technical trial being conducted in July.”

Mark Duman is a blend of clinician, management consultant and patient advocate, living in Manchester and trying to manage a long-term health condition. You can follow him on Twitter @MarkDuman.

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