As part of a strategy to put the region at the forefront of a potentially lucrative emerging sector, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to host a high level summit on the future of telehealthcare.
The challenges of managing the world’s ageing populations and of moving towards a low carbon economy are driving interest in the means of delivering healthcare from a distance through advances in information and communication technology. Governments around the world are expected to accelerate their use of remote clinical monitoring, supported self treatment and telemedicine in order to deliver an effective service.
To discuss how the region might take a lead in meeting this demand, around 50 delegates have been invited to Aldourie Castle, Loch Ness, on May 5 to contribute ideas on the delivery of telehealthcare in Scotland over the next decade and on building a telehealthcare cluster of international repute.
Dr Steven Dodsworth of HIE’s head of life sciences explained: “This region offers great potential to be a centre of excellence in this sector. We already have an encouraging number of companies developing expertise in this field who are working alongside healthcare professionals and communities to overcome the challenges of healthcare at a distance.
“The Centre for Rural Healthcare in Inverness’ Centre for Health Science is highly regarded and with the Inverness Campus in prospect, we look forward to sharing views with the sector’s leading public and private operators on a future full of opportunity.”
The following day there will be presentations and workshops at the Centre for Health Science on topics such as our changing attitudes to maintaining health and wellbeing and the use of technology to deal with clinical emergencies in remote places.
Telehealthcare covers a range of services such as supporting elderly patients who wish to remain in their own homes; helping people to take control of long-term health conditions and enabling people in remote locations to consult health professionals with minimum inconvenience.
Harriet Dempster, Highland Council’s director of social work said: “This event will enable representatives from government, health and social care providers and patient groups to discuss ideas with Scottish companies and multinationals and to develop a shared vision. It represents a confident step in putting this region at the forefront of modern health and care delivery promising real benefits for the wellbeing of its residents.”