Tele-health is gaining popularity in many countries presently. These services have numerous benefits for aged people.There is no question that tele-health has gone mainstream. But some problems have been identified for tele-health services. The main problem of this type of services is the lack of access to the medical history of the patients. Tele-health providers make diagnoses, recommendations and treatments relying on questionnaires. Another vital challenge is the fact that commercially available devices (e.g. cloud-based mobile application used by Tunstall tele-health) are point solutions. It means that the prescribed tele-care packages may not be always suitable for the individual needs, preferences or capabilities of people. This can cause unacceptable or unused solutions which may be ignored. The cloud-based mobile application used by Tunstall tele-health is a really good service. But aged users be intimidated by technologies. Multimodal and multisensory interactions can enhance this services by enabling use and personalization with a wide range of needs and capabilities (McGee-Lennon et al., 2011). Another problem is the use of technologies by older people. According to a study, senior users above 65 years had a accomplishment frequency of only 53 percent in finishing tasks like finding the correct information and also made an average of 3.7 mistakes for each given task (Cresci et al., 2010).
The cloud-based mobile application used by Tunstall tele-health collects the vital signs of patients and provides solutions as per the interview information. The main software (application) used in their services are Integrated Care Platform (ICP) triage manager, myclinic telehealth hubs, ICP video conferencing, mymobile app and ICP mycare. These technologies are used for supporting patients with long-term situations to monitor their specific vital signs from home through myclinic telehealth hub. ICP also offers video conferencing and have face-to-face interaction services with health care staffs regardless of medical conditions and locations. There is no doubt that this service is good but multimodal interactions can make it better and more effective. In the home environment, auditory, olfactory and tactile outputs can provide significant advantages. Simple auditory notifications can be used to provide details on the tasks to be remembered and also the details of when, how and where the tasks have to be carried out. User-cantered designs of technologies must be created to support care at home (McGee-Lennon et al., 2011).
Tele-health solutions are an innovative way of solving health problems to some extent. These services decrease socioeconomic demands by decreasing travelling for face-to-face appointments. It especially helpful for older people of regional, rural and remote areas who cannot travel. Tele-health services like Tunstall are ideal for aged people living with chronic health problems like cardiovascular diseases, congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and in-home dialysis etc. tele-health services also provide solutions for falls managements, dementia, epilepsy, chronic disease management and cognitive & physical disabilities (Callan & O'Shea, 2015). As described by Chou et al. (2013), aged peoples with healthier communal wellbeing and health status who used their tele-health programs regularly had enhanced the quality of life and became proficient in the use of applications and technologies. Their study also showed that aged persons who perceived tele-health as beneficial in resolving health difficulties were keen to use it and had a better insight of their quality of life, particularly with respect to their interpersonal relationships and existing atmosphere.
The undeniable benefit of tele-health is also the association of elders in the course of cure, development and restoration of their health cognizance. Patients who perform well in a tele-health programs may not require going in for their frequently booked in-person visits. Tele-health supports better engagement by allowing patients assist in understanding and selecting which applications they want to use. With reduced movement, simple but quick online interaction between the aged persons and health care experts becomes highly significant, saving time on travelling and speed up the diagnosis process, diminishing repetition of diagnosis testing and medical facilities, and permitting rational triaging of elders (Hirani et al., 2014). Telehealth-based cares form proactive healthy activities. Tele-monitoring can identify pathological signs & symptoms and unusual test outcomes previously than before or during a routine clinical appointment or examination in an emergency condition, therefore delivering prevention methods to be applied timely. Tele-monitoring performs an essential educational role as well. Patients who are alert to their health conditions often initiate to learn further facts about their disorders and how to self-care. They start to know their bodies much better and are more enthusiastic to take actions to modify bad habits and maintain a healthier lifestyle (Bujnowska-Fedak & Grata-Borkowska, (2015).
Bujnowska-Fedak, M. M., & Grata-Borkowska, U. (2015). Use of telemedicine-based care for the aging and elderly: promises and pitfalls. SHTT, 3, 91-105.
Callan, A., & O'Shea, E. (2015). Willingness to pay for telecare programmes to support independent living: Results from a contingent valuation study. Social Science & Medicine, 124, 94-102.
Chou, C. C., Chang, C. P., Lee, T. T., Chou, H. F., & Mills, M. E. (2013). Technology acceptance and quality of life of the elderly in a telecare program. Computers Informatics Nursing, 31(7), 335-342.
Cresci, M. K., Yarandi, H. N., & Morrell, R. W. (2010). The digital divide and urban older adults. Computers Informatics Nursing, 28(2), 88-94.
Hirani, S. P., Beynon, M., Cartwright, M., Rixon, L., Doll, H., Henderson, C., & Bower, P. (2014). The effect of telecare on the quality of life and psychological well-being of elderly recipients of social care over a 12-month period: the Whole Systems Demonstrator cluster randomised trial. Age and ageing, 43(3), 334-341.
McGee-Lennon, M. R., Wolters, M. K., & Brewster, S. (2011, May). User-centred multimodal reminders for assistive living. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2105-2114). ACM.