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O2 Health hangs up on UK telehealth plans

Recognises eHealth potential but says uptake was slower than expected

mHealth telehealthO2 Health has pulled out of the UK mobile telehealth market, citing slower than expected uptake.

The telecoms company will continue to offer its core mobile and ICT services to the health sector, via its public sector team, but has withdrawn its telehealth and telecare products.

Nevertheless, in a statement the company said “eHelath is a sector with significant potential and, as such, remains an important priority for [O2 Health's parent company] Telefonica”.

Its Help At Hand (telecare) and Health At Home (telehealth) services will be available until December, 31, at which point they will be switched off and all customer data will be securely disposed on.

In a statement posted to the company's website O2 Health said the “difficult decision” to withdraw the services “has not been taken lightly”.

Launched last year, Help At Hand offered a personalised contact service through a specially designed handset with built-in GPS technology and features that included a fall detector.

Meanwhile Health At Hand, which only debuted in March this year, offered connected devices to monitor patients and enable healthcare professionals to track symptoms of conditions like heart failure and pulmonary disease.

Such a focus on long-term conditions should have chimed perfectly with the UK government's focus on both long term conditions and the potential of telehealth.

But instead O2 Health has decided it can't wait for the promise of eHealth to be realised, guided perhaps by the impacts of the huge reorganisation of the NHS and healthcare budgetary constraints.

21st August 2013

From: Healthcare

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