O2 launches UK healthcare business


O2 Health has officially launched with a promise to implement simple technologies in new ways to allow patients and healthcare organisations to streamline care

O2 Health is a new business unit within O2 targeting bespoke and tailored healthcare systems and solutions at NHS bodies and other healthcare organisations. O2 Health is headed up by former GlaxoSmithKline employee and Advantage Healthcare chief executive Keith Nurcombe, supported by a staff of 24 health industry experts.

O2 Health has been developing and testing products and services over the last 12 months, including a digital pen application for midwives at Portsmouth NHS and three or four solutions to improve mobile working at Rotherham NHS.

Nurcombe said these trials have proved successful, allowing the services to be offered to other NHS bodies and healthcare organisations as cost-saving and efficiency tools.

O2 Health is now working with East Berkshire NHS and Western Isles NHS in Scotland to trial other products, including a home physiotherapy monitoring proposition and a collaborative working tool.

The physiotherapy tool allows specialists at East Berkshire NHS to monitor patients remotely, and assign resources according to the demands of specific patients. In the Western Isles, the collaboration tool permits video conferencing and the sharing of scans, test results and other important patient records remotely, reducing the need for patients to undertake unnecessary journeys to see specialists.

Nurcombe said O2 Health is not breaking any ground with the technologies used in these systems, but is using technology in different ways.

Nurcombe said: “This is very much not tomorrow’s world; it’s about taking technology that exists now and deploying it differently or combining it differently to suit end user needs.

“This is not about mobile health or e-health, this is about patients. Our belief is that we can interact in an understanding and flexible way to say to patients perhaps you can do certain things in a different way to live that part of your life differently.”

O2 business sales director Ben Dowd said: “We are using technology as an enabler to deliver solutions for both NHS and patients to make their lives easier.”

The official launch of O2 Health follows last week’s (July 13) announcement by O2 parent Telefónica of its global e-health unit. The global e-health unit is intended to aid the decentralisation of clinical processes, implement integrated service networks, and provide ubiquitous and remote access to these services, which will increase efficiency and modernise healthcare according to Telefónica.

Dowd said the UK is a key part of this strategy as it one of Telefónica’s main markets, and O2 Health will be able to leverage systems and solutions trialled elsewhere under the Telefónica brand to the benefit of the UK healthcare sector.