Living it Up

A ground breaking online service will help improve health and wellbeing in Scotland, Health Secretary Alex Neil said today.

Unveiling Living it Up (LiU) – a £10 million digital health, care and wellbeing project – Mr Neil said the project would help people link up with health and wellbeing services in their local area.

LiU provides personalised advice on improving and managing health and wellbeing. The unique technology matches an individual’s needs and interests with professional information, local services, and beneficial activities and events in their community.

Real users guide the service and future innovations. LiU is accessed via familiar technology such as televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets and games consoles, The project is also trialling video conferencing between patients and health care professionals.

Health Secretary Alex Neil launched the project during a visit to The Peak sports complex in Stirling, where he met users Bernard McGuckin, 61, who is on the lung transplant waiting list, and Betty McFarlane, 57, who has received a lung transplant.Mr Neil said:

 I am determined that Scotland’s health service should lead the way in delivering care in new and innovative ways that really benefits patients.

“Technology like this will help us do exactly that. Importantly it looks at care in a rounded way – not just treating people as patients but linking them into their local community and helping them to pursue interests that keep them healthy. That includes supporting people to live independently at home – one of our key priorities,. That it is generally better for people’s health and will also help our health service cope with our ageing population.

Over the last four years, Scotland has made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies to help provide effective care and reassurance to many older people who want to stay at home. This project demonstrates our commitment to build on this progress and to expand even further the role technology plays in supporting twenty-first century healthcare.”

A pilot group of 5,000 people shaped the service in partnership with health providers and technologists. Following today’s launch, LiU users will be encouraged to help in the development of local services they would like to have delivered digitally. The innovative approach has been taken to improve telehealth and telecare adoption in older people and the less technologically aware.

Following today’s launch, LiU will be available to people living in the Forth Valley, Lothian, Moray, Highlands, Argyle and Bute and the Western Islands. The project aims to have 55,000 users across Scotland by May 2015. Bernard McGuckin, said:

 “Since I was diagnosed with COPD I have been offered tremendous support that has helped my condition. Living it Up will give me the chance to share the things that have helped me manage my condition and hopefully this will in turn help other people.”

NHS 24 has been appointed by the Scottish Government to lead the project. Professor George Crooks, Medical Director, NHS 24, said:

 Scotland is recognised worldwide as a leader in innovative telehealth and telecare services and products.  Living it Up is an ambitious and unique programme which will assist in the integration and effective delivery of health and care services, while empowering users and carers to actively manage their own health, care and wellbeing and maintain their independence.”

NHS Forth Valley’s Chairman Alex Linkston said:

 We’re delighted to be the first area in Scotland to launch this exciting new online project which will help people improve their health and overall quality of life.

“It’s also an excellent example of how technology can be used to help connect people with local activities and sources of support and advice in their own communities.”

Living it Up is the Scottish element of the Technology Strategy Board’s UK-wide dallas programme and is funded by a consortium including the Technology Strategy Board, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in partnership with other key stakeholders including the local health boards and local authorities. Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said:

 The dallas programme is about redesigning and delivering a new approach, thinking beyond traditional health and social care to consider how new ideas and technology can be used to improve the way people live.  Using new ideas, and thinking creatively, dallas will allow the wider community, including professionals, to work together so that all of us can live longer and more rewarding lives.

“dallas is our way of helping the UK to re-think the future, and support older adults living healthy, active and independent lives for longer – how they want and where they want. The programme that the winning consortia will embed into local communities over the next three years is the next step in making this vision a reality.”

For more information visit www.livingitup.org.uk .