NHS Innovation Expo – June 2009

Mike Clark

The Innovation House

On 18 and 19 June 2009, more than 5,000 people attended the ExCeL Centre in east London for a two-day series of presentations and seminars accompanied by an exhibition, which included the Innovation House. 

The Innovation House was supported by 40 organisations with a variety of assistive technologies, including telecare and telehealth. It provided an opportunity for people to experience, learn and discuss how innovation in products and services is improving the quality of care for people at home, now and in the future.

A wide range of innovations were available, including vital signs monitoring through a plaster applied to the skin and sensors embedded in clothing, as well as telecare and telehealth devices currently in use around the country to support independent living and management of long-term conditions.

The Innovation House provided the opportunity to talk to experts and service innovators about current and future technologies that could make a real difference to the lives of users, patients and carers.

Walk-through rooms – a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, lounge and GP practice – provided an interactive environment that encouraged people to discuss the benefits of the technology in home settings.    

The Innovation House allowed visitors to see how costly long-term conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart failure and dementia can be monitored remotely on a preventive basis, reducing the need for frequent hospital trips and giving people greater freedom by enabling them to spend more time at home and in the community. There are potential benefits for carers and families in terms of peace of mind, reassurance, and achieving a better balance between their working life and care responsibilities.

Experts on hand to explain telecare and telehealth programmes

All three Whole System Demonstrator sites – Cornwall, Kent and Newham – had representatives on hand to explain how their programmes were progressing as part of one of the largest trials of telecare and telehealth in the world.

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell, was particularly interested in the Innovation House and requested that it be used at Civil Service Live, an exhibition visited by thousands of civil servants from all government departments. The house was also featured briefly on the BBC’s Politics Show as it followed Sir Gus in his day-to-day work.

You can see a short guide to the house, filmed by Tim Ellis, and you can watch Lord Darzi’s speech at the EXPO.