Frequently asked questions

What is the aim of WSDAN?
WSDAN aims to combine research, help with write my economics essay, educational and experiential learning opportunities to examine the progress and impact of telecare and telehealth in enabling long-term conditions management. In addition to the website, a key element will be to provide networking events and research and development activities.

What does WSDAN do?
WSDAN comprises an action research programme involving 10-12 member sites. In addition it provides an integrated point of access for published materials on the evidence base in the development of telecare, telehealth and community based telemedicine. WSDAN will share learning from the three White Paper Whole System Demonstrator sites (Cornwall, Kent and Newham).

Why was WSDAN established?
WSDAN was commissioned by the Whole System Demonstrator Programme at the Department of Health and through the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme. It was established following the recognition of the large number of high quality bids that were received from sites wishing to become one of the Whole System Demonstrator Pilots. Its primary purpose will be to facilitate an action research network across 10-12 of these unsuccessful sites and to generate data to support the lessons being learned in the evaluation of the Department of Health’s Whole System Demonstrators pilots.

Who operates WSDAN?
The King’s Fund and DH Care Networks have been funded by the Department of Health to host the Network. Together, these organisations are providing expert support and input into how evidence and learning can best be collected, developed and disseminated.

How is the network governed?
The Network is governed by a Department of Health-led Steering Group as part of the White Paper Whole System Demonstrator Programme.

Can anyone apply to join WSDAN?
Anyone can register to receive our regular e-newsletter. Applications to join the more extensive action programme have been by special invitation to a small group of selected organisations (PCTs, local authorities and other partners). Register for updates

Which organisations have been selected to form the action research programme and why?
The membership of the action research programme is under development. However, it will comprise a total of 10-12 sites (mainly from PCTs and local authorities) with three to four representatives from each. Since WSDAN is part of the Department of Health's Whole System Demonstrator Programme, applications for membership of the action research programme have to-date been limited to those sites shortlisted by the assessment team as part of the WSD bids in Spring 2007. The Department of Health has not identified any of the sites that put in bids for the demonstrators apart from Cornwall, Kent and Newham who were successful. After the shortlisted group, the plan is to systematically work through the organisations from the original list of bidders. We expect that membership will be finalised by the end of July and that a first meeting for the members of the programme will take place in September.

How long will the Network run for? 
The Network has been funded to run until June 2010.

Why is WSDAN different to other networks in this area?
WSDAN will concentrate on the evidence associated with the use of technologies that support integrated care for long term conditions in its broadest sense. It will be the formal route for dissemination of learning from the three main demonstrator sites; will bring together progress from other key case sites; showcase the findings of a major ongoing review of the available literature; and provide structured access to research from a broad implementation base.

How will WSDAN link to other networks in this area?
There are many well established and emerging networks on telecare and telehealth and WSDAN will seek to make links with other strategic networks and forums to ensure continuity, consistency and reduce duplication.

What role will industry play in the Network?
The industry (suppliers, vendors) will have general access to the website and the overall learning from the demonstrator sites and other organisations. They will not be invited to be members of the action research network who will be sharing progress and barriers to implementation.

What technologies will be covered by the Network?
A range of electronic and assistive technologies generally known as telehealth, telemedicince and telecare used to support people at home and maintain independence. It will include telephone-based disease management approaches and newer developments (e.g. pervasive sensors, wearable devices). There are over 2000 devices in the Telecare National Framework catalogue and new products are coming onto the market daily. The technology is very important, but the assessment, monitoring and response arrangements are vital to cost-effective services.

What are long term conditions?
WSDAN defines long term conditions as chronic conditions that require ongoing management over a period of years or decades. This includes a range of health conditions such as non-communicable diseases (such as cancer and heart disease); some communicable diseases (such as HIV/Aids) and mental health disorders (from depression through to more acute conditions such as schizophrenia) as well as ongoing physiological impairments (such as blindness, joint disorders and acute back pain).

Will the evidence for telecare and telehealth be limited to long term conditions only?
No. Owing to the importance of these technologies in supporting long term care WSDAN will also seek to include evidence on the impact of telecare and telehealth to two ‘client groups’ - older people and children and adolescents. Those with learning disabilities and obesity are also included as special categories. Whilst neither of these can be strictly regarded as long term conditions they are included to ensure the relevance of WSDAN to both health and social care users.