IBM and Intel help the aged

9 Jun 2008

IBM and Intel Ireland have announced details of their collaboration with the elderly charity Friendly Call Service in pioneering new technologies and methodologies in healthcare.

The two projects the companies are working on are first to market in terms of innovation and in the proactive rollout of services and data collection for elderly people.

The Friendly Call Service is a free, confidential alert and good neighbour service to older people and anyone living alone or isolated. Service delivery involves a daily telephone call to provide a friendly greeting, a check on well-being, a reminder on any appointments and medication and to inform clients on available services within their own area.

IBM Ireland has signalled its intention to upgrade the software it already provides for the Friendly Call Service so that it can monitor health requirements of elderly clients. This new ‘Patient at Home’ monitoring facility will allow for 24/7 day monitoring of blood pressure, heart beat, weight changes, sleep patterns and so on.

IBM has also donated computer equipment to the Friendly Call Service that allowed it to extend its range of support services.

Intel collaborates with the Friendly Call Service in the innovative research programme, known as the TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living) Centre. The company will provide all the technology required to launch a Senior Internet Café for clients of the Friendly Call Service, which will be based at Buzzardstown House, Mulhuddart, Dublin.

“Some 11pc of our population are over the age of 65. Together with Government, IBM, Intel and all organisations serving our ageing community, we can begin a comprehensive and integrated approach to research, design and implementation of proactive policies that enhance quality of life and healthy ageing, while curtailing isolation and exclusion,” said Danny Bell of the Friendly Call Service.

The service is now providing service to more than 600 people from across north Dublin city and county and is also assisting a number of groups throughout Ireland interested in setting up a similar service.

The service is supported by the Health Service Executive and the Department for Health and Children.

By Niall Byrne