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Future of rural healthcare comes under the microscope at Highland conference

01 September 2010

The innovative use of modern technology to promote health and prevent illness is the subject of a national conference being held in Inverness next month.

Doctors, researchers, technical experts and business people will share their expertise at the P4 Digital Healthcare Convention, organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), on Friday, October 1, at the city's Eden Court Theatre.

HIE believes the Highlands and Islands has a unique potential to create a new cluster of healthcare businesses specialising in developing and using technology to deliver both prevention and treatment over large distances.

As a largely mountainous region with a widely-scattered mainland population and almost 100 inhabited islands, it is also a location which stands to benefit most from healthcare innovation.

Dr Steven Dodsworth, Head of Life Sciences with HIE, explained: "P4 is a term used by health professionals to describe an approach which combines prevention, prediction, personalisation and participation.

"We're particularly interested in the role technology can play in helping people take charge of their own healthcare in a rural region like the Highlands and Islands.

"Health professionals, technologists and business people all see telehealthcare, as it's called, as a growth area for the coming years and we believe the Highlands and Islands is ideally placed to reap both the health benefits and economic growth.

"Life sciences is a growing sector across the world which is already worth over £130m and supports around 1,800 jobs in the Highlands and Islands alone.

"We see telehealthcare as an important niche in that sector which can develop significantly over the coming years."

October's convention is a follow-up to a highly successful Telehealthcare summit which the development organisation held in the summer.

That event helped define a vision for developing a new telehealthcare industry in Scotland, with HIE playing a central role in helping forge collaborative links between the worlds of healthcare, science and business.

It also highlighted new equipment to monitor road accident casualties, life saving diagnostic devices for mountain rescue teams, and software to enable more care at home for people with long-term conditions.

The upcoming convention is aimed at healthcare professionals, industry and patient groups and has been planned to be highly participative.

In addition to hearing expert speakers, those attending will be able to raise questions and share their own knowledge in small workshops throughout the day.

Anyone interested in attending or finding out more can visit the event website at http://www.digitalhealthcareevent.com/
 


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