The Cupboard is Bare
Tuesday 13th October saw the second Wireless Healthcare SIG event take place at the Philips Research Laboratory; med-tech hot spot in Cambridge. Around 50 delegates joined for a day of talks and workshops which were delivered by some exceptional key speakers. The event was focused on mental health and the role of technology in what is one of the most complex and heartbreaking of conditions.
We were fortunate enough to have the following guest speakers, all with different insights:
- Tom Dening, a Professor of Dementia Research at the University of Nottingham
- Pauline Meakins, an Information Worker at The Alzheimer’s Society
- Dr Ladan Baghai-Ravary, Aculab Plc
- Anna Jackson, Cambridge Cognition
The 4 x workshops provided an interactive element and it was really interesting seeing people with a variety of skills and expertise in one space. We had a mixture of established companies as well as start-ups, engineers, app developers, clinicians, research professionals – all with a common interest in all things neurological. An interesting question posed in one of the workshops was ”With so many skills and user needs, how do you focus on the issue?” Tom Dening explained that due to the complexity of mental health and whereby there are no fixed parameters, problems are usually anecdotally lead. And this is so true – the stark truth is that we will all experience scenarios where we know or have loved ones with Alzheimers and their behavior will dictate what we tell the doctors, which will then influence research and so on. Pauline chaired a workshop with our SIG champion Collette Johnson of Plextex and it was here that the event title ‘The cupboard is bare’ rang more true than ever. Mental health is an industry where the technology isn’t quite there yet.
The afternoon session hosted by SIG champion Leo Poll of Akendi generated plenty of delegate discussion – the issue of a disconnect was certainly a touching point. One example that came from the floor was the absurdity that you cannot plug into hospital sockets or that not all GPs have wifi. So who is well placed to provide the technology to end users? This was a question that came in via the Twitter feed and was put to the panel at the end of the event. A broad question which is entirely dependent on context as advised by Tom Dening. Some tech is public domain (i.e. NHS), while other tech is mainstream (i.e utility providers) or discretionary. Crucial to all 3 is dialogue and we’re pleased to see that the Wireless Healthcare SIG is a successful vehicle for just that!
To view the resources used on the day, take a look at our resources page.