Friday Brain Food

Inspiring speakers this week and more ahead. There’s nothing more nourishing for the brain than the thrill of some big ideas Here are some personal reflections from editor, Keryn Curtis.

By Keryn Curtis

In this item:
  • Meet visiting world telecare expert, Dr Kevin Doughty
  • Building bridges between acute care and aged care
  • Centenarian documentary gets second screening on ABC 1
Meet the inventor
One of the real highlights of ITAC 2013 this week was a presentation on Thursday from Dr Kevin Doughty (pictured above), Co Director of the Centre for Usable Home Technology (CUHTec), a joint project of the University of York & Newcastle University in the UK.
Dr Doughty has been involved in the design, evaluation and market assessment of electronic assistive technologies, telecare, telehealth and medical informatics systems for over 20 years, initially at Bangor University but subsequently through a spin-out company, Technology in Healthcare.
In his presentation, he set out  the most cogent and compelling argument you are likely to see for the use of telecare and telehealth within the health and social care systems to better achieve what he says has always been and remains the goal of healthcare, which is to keep people well.
The evidence is clear and has already been well demonstrated across a large body of research, he said.  For this reason, the UK and Europe were well beyond the phase of conducting pilots and were already a long way down the track in implementing telecare systems as part of the broad picture of technology applications for health and care services.
In an interview with Dr Doughty later in the day, an interesting background story emerged. As a young bio-engineer designing health and medical equipment, he began to see big potential value for the health and care services sector, as well as for the quality of life for individuals, from helping elderly people to remain at home – rather than moving to a care home – and from keeping them well clear of hospitals.  
Tackling this challenge, he began to develop a range of devices including special types of sensors and alarms and monitors capable of supporting and monitoring the health and safety of people living at home. To commercialise the products (which later won a Millennium Award in 2000), he left academia to set up the company, Technology in Healthcare. He eventually sold the licenses to another company -called Tunstall!
These days his role with the CUHTec is to provide a commercial focus for the three key stakeholders in digital healthcare and technology design: the designers, the funders and users of digital healthcare services.  We will be reporting plenty more on this story in the magazine.
As a guest of OzCare, Feros Care and Community Resourcing Worldwide, Dr Doughty is presenting a series of workshops in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.  While the Melbourne event is over, there are two events being held in Brisbane next week on the 6th and 7th of May; and an event in Sydney on Thursday 8 May.
Click on this link to find out the details about the workshops or send an email enquiry to
Bridging the acute care/aged care divide
Few conferences and professional development events in aged care actively address the nexus between aged care and acute care. The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Aged Care Conference does – and does it well. As governments and health advocates campaign for better connections between different parts of the health system, here is an event that successfully combines emergency physicians, intensive care specialists, nurses, geriatricians, palliation and dementia specialists, technology experts; academics; educators; policy makers; aged care service providers and others in a genuine shoulder to shoulder forum.  
This is the 8th year for the conference which is jointly hosted by RBWH’s Hospital in the Nursing Home unit and the Department of Emergency Medicine. The event covers a wide range of topics including big picture issues around health reform and disease prevention to health system issues, technology and clinical topics. This year’s special guest is editor, author, Alzheimer’s Australia president and 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose. At less than $500 for the three days, it’s probably the best value event of the year!   8-10 May 2013 at the Education Centre at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.  Tel: 07 3646 1525  E:  W:
Encore screening for award winning documentary
The 100+ Club is having an encore screening on ABC1 TV on Saturday, 18 May at 12:30pm (billed by the film’s producers as lunch with a centenarian!). 
In case you missed it last year, the 30-minute film follows three sprightly Aussie centenarians still in hot pursuit of some big dreams. There’s Ruth (101) – the planet’s oldest competing athlete out to break her own records, entertainer Olive (103) – who is determined to stage one last performance, and Dexter (a spring chicken at 100) who hopes to finish his fifth and quite possibly last book!  The characters have already proven to be a great source of inspiration to many.  Last year, the doco picked up a United Nations Media Peace Award for the Promotion of Positive Images of the Older Person, as well as an OPSO Media Award in the category of Television – Best Current Affairs.   If you don’t catch it on TV but you’d like to see it, it’s available on DVD via:
Tags: hospital-in-the-nursing-home, itac-2013, kevin-doughty, rbwh, the-100-plus-club,

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