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Medical wearables to help UK’s ageing population

jessica twentyman | the times | 3 september 2015

PA’s Frazer Bennett, a technology expert, is quoted in a special report on wearable technology in The Times.

The article explains that medical wearable devices can help the NHS with an ageing population and improve the patient experience. Frazer talks about the challenges of some of these wearable technologies.

Frazer explains: “Healthcare innovations must first gain the acceptance of providers in carefully regulated markets and undergo extensive clinical trials before they can be launched on any scale”

He goes on to say that many fall victim along the way to a condition he refers to as “pilotitis” - a failure to make it through lengthy pilots and into wide-scale implementation.

Frazer explains two reason why this can often be the case: “One of them is a commercial reason – devices simply lack the backing of a robust business case for moving them out of the lab and into the clinic. The second is a lack of understanding of patient need from the outset.”

The healthcare patch

PA's healthcare patch supports innovative telehealth solutions


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The article talks about PA’s own invention, a wearable, internet-connected patch the size of a 10p piece, which Frazer believes can side-step the piloting problem. 

Frazer explains that the patch has been kept as simple as possible and as cheap as possible to manufacture - around 50 US cents per patch. He goes on to say that it is carefully targeting a handful of specific use cases, the measurement of particular symptoms, for example, or monitoring whether a patient takes a specific drug.

PA’s patch has been designed with patient convenience in mind: “It’s small, no bigger than a plaster, so it can be worn unobtrusively. It doesn’t require the patient to change their behaviour. And it allows them to get on with their lives, confident that their health is being monitored,” says Frazer.

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