Thursday, 14 May 2015

Proactive telehealth apps

The use of mobile devices to encourage people to become fitter and healthier is nothing new.  The more recent development is the use of apps which connect to Smartwatches. As a Smartwatch wearer, I have found that there are some apps which have limited or no use to me, but I do like the apps that sit in the background and measure my inactivity. As an Independent research Consultant I spend  considerable hours every day sat in front of computer screens. As a single dad, I am also active as kids keep you active, well so I thought. The truth of my inactivity was brought home to me when I started wearing my Smartwatch and receiving daily updates on my activity.  When I receive the activity update such as the one in the picture above, I know that I need to be more a to bring the numbers up. 

This nudge is perfect for me. It does not imply that by not doing exercise something bad will happen to me, and on days when it is impossible to exercise at all I might feel bad but, over all, I feel in control of my own health.

The key design features I love about this is that it is non judgemental, it is up to me to exercise, it is my body and my life and I can decide I want to be a couch potato if I want to.  The is no one encouraging me to do anything, but at the end of the week I can see how little or how much I have exercised.

A current failure of this app, like many of its ilk, is its inability to actually detect exercise.  For example, I could do 154 sit ups,  squats  or push ups but the app would not see that as exercise as I am stationary and it requires movement to register activity.  This is a small issue and one that can be countered by manually adding any activity that I do which is not detected.

For people with long term health conditions and people who are couch potatoes this app and smartwatch could be a cost effective method of motivating people to take up activity.  If the NHS supplemented the purchase of Smartwatches of activity bands but also obtained the results from them, this would mean that people who do not exercise could be made to pay back the supplemented part.  For those that do use the watch I can see the benefits being  very high for the NHS in the long term.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Many Thanks

Many thanks to Telehealth and Telecare Aware ( for their lovely write up on the DTA: the Dependability Telecare Assessment tool - The Person-centred Telecare Assessment manual which can be found here

DTA: the Dependability Telecare Assessment tool manual is only available from the website. It costs £19.99 which includes free first class UK postage and packaging.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

DTA: The Dependability Telecare Assessment tool

New Book Press Release

“Only install sufficient telecare to enable a person.”

gdewsbury are proud to announce their most recent publication: 

DTA: The Dependability Telecare Assessment tool 

The ‘Person-Centred Telecare Assessment’

A new manual, published on the 15th September 2014, by Guy Dewsbury PhD and Debbie Ballard of gdewsbury.  Written for practitioners and professionals who assess, provide or install telecare including people who work with assistive technology.  DTA is also relevant to the academic sector and can be a learning resource in any telecare course and is core reading on the postgraduate telecare course at Edinburgh University.

The Dependability Telecare Assessment tool (DTA) is a new independent assessment tool, which puts the person at the start, the middle and the finish of any assessment.  It considers the whole person, their needs, their activities and their wishes.  This assessment tool can be used in conjunction with existing care assessments.  As a result, a more transparent and accountable assessment is undertaken which clearly demonstrates the rationale for any equipment proposed.

Adding to the existing knowledge on telecare assessments, the manual provides a unique method to determine appropriate telecare for a person.  The DTA matrix comprises four key properties, each of which incorporates three individual elements. The manual also provides three Outcome and Review forms in the Appendix.  This manual provides best practice advice on how to deploy the DTA in the field.   
This manual represents a new technique for thinking about telecare assessments and demonstrates a qualitative way to consider telecare’s relationship with people in need of additional support. 

DTA is a culmination of many years of academic ethnographic research with older and disabled people in the design of telecare technology to support them. When gdewsbury ( formed in 2012, it proved to be the appropriate time to write and publish DTA as a manual for professionals. A key theme throughout DTA is “only install sufficient telecare to enable a person. Excessive use of telecare could disable a person.”

For people in health, social care, housing, academia or a private professional in a field related to telecare this manual is essential reading.

The spiral bound A4 manual (ISBN 978-0-9930485-0-0) is available through PayPal from gdewsbury at a price of only £19.99 with free p&p in the UK, outside the UK p&p charges apply. 

If you would like to obtain a copy this manual or would like more information, please contact

gdewsbury are Dr Guy Dewsbury and Debbie Ballard

Thursday, 3 July 2014

When technology turns to help people

For those who follow my twitter feed (@dewsbury) I mentioned how the Xbox’s always aware functionality caused Xboxes to switch on when Aaron Paul says in the advert says ‘Xbox on’ people report their Xboxes switching on (see This annoying functionality does have its upside as well as the downside.  

With the recent Google IO ( it was mentioned that the new Android operating system will have a always aware functionality, so even in the closed state it will still listen for the command ‘OK Google’. This for some might be a little worrying, especially in the light of Facebook’s attempt to be constantly aware and record the sounds in your environment whilst you use its app (