O2/Telefonica calls time on ‘O2 Health’ with expensive service give-away & product recall



O2 Health joins Google Health in the graveyard of tech firms who tried to rebrand themselves for Health

A redirection on the entire O2Health.co.uk website confirms the leaked rumours that O2/Telefonica has called time on it’s high stake plans to create a dedicated ‘O2 Health’ brand.

O2 Health Care Comes First until we lose interest in providing it

Although the cost of this branding adventure and the sudden withdrawal of services and giveaway of hardware will be somewhere north of £20 million it’s not going to make much difference to the $66 Billion debt mountain at Telefonica (O2’s parent company). All the same I’m still surprised that there has been no provision made for Patient data and service continuity as it’s easy to see how this could impact on the O2 UK brand at large (a brand that generates £10 Billion/year in revenues) and it’s hard to imagine the business model was so broken that G4S (the partner through which the services were managed) couldn’t just run with the service.

Traction has been difficult for the 40+ member O2 Health sales teams who have been working with a most unusual commission structure (targets were not based on actual sales but on the number of customers you could open dialogue with – which says a lot about the readiness of the product offering) but I imagine the biggest actual impact this will have will be on the conference organisers and publishers who got rich on o2 Health’s massive roadshow and advertising budgets (and of course the Medical Students in Leeds who bagged all those subsidised Apple Smartphones!)

It’s interesting to look back on posts I’ve blogged over the years on O2 Health’s changing focus and false starts:

> Powered by O2, March 2010

> Telefonica Creates Global eHealth Unit, July 2010

> This is not about Mobile Health or eHealth this is about Patients, July 2010

> O2 Reveal More on their mHealth Plans, August 2010

> O2 at the 2nd Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit, September 2010

> Leeds Medical Students get a great deal but thats nothing compared to what the University managed, October 2010

> Telecom TV checks out Telefonicas Spanish mHealth R&D Facility, November 2010

> O2 Mobile Readies First Consumer mHealth Push, June 2011

> O2/Telefonica announces trials of remote Doctor consulting service in Latin America and plans to launch a B2C service by end of 2011 – just dont expect a diagnosis, July 2011

> Will Large Scale Telco Privacy Breaches undermine the efforts of their mHealth units, February 2012

> Could false starts effect market confidence in mobile operator branded mhealth?, March 2012

> Poor analytics gets Telefonica optimistic about mHealth in emerging markets, July 2012

> TelecareAware: o2’s Mobile Care in a shop near you, March 2013

Although it was quite clear to me that the product offering that O2 eventually went to market with was worse than half baked and had a risk profile that was completely off the chart the only way I see this abandon-the-sinking-ship-styled exit strategy working is if their customers haven’t actually found the services to be useful (and as such become reliant on them).

BREAKER

Information for Patients/Carers terms & conditions:

BREAKER

O2 Health – You and your helpers

As a customer of O2 Health’s telecare solution, Help at Hand, we wanted to let you know that we, O2 Health, have taken the difficult decision to stop selling Help at Hand in the UK. O2 Health will also cease to provide the current Help at Hand support service as of 31 December 2013.

If you currently own/use a Help at Hand device, the support service will continue as usual until 31 December 2013, at which point it will be discontinued.

We appreciate that this news may be unwelcome. Our decision to withdraw the service has not been taken lightly.

You will receive a full refund on your purchased devices and our Help at Hand service will be free between 23 July and 31 December 2013. A refund will also be given on unused airtime credit until 31 December. In addition to this, we would like to offer you £100. We hope you find a suitable alternative service. Customers will also have the option to keep the devices or return them to an O2 store for recycling.

Thank you again for your support for O2 Health and Help at Hand up to this point, and please don’t hesitate to contact 0800 111 6009 if you have any further queries.

Why is Help at Hand being withdrawn?

The uptake of mobile telecare (Help at Hand) in the UK marketplace has taken longer and volumes have been lower than anticipated. For these reasons, the decision has been taken to withdraw these two products from the UK marketplace.

What will happen to existing customers like me?

You will receive a full refund on your purchased devices and our Help at Hand service will be free between 23 July and 31 December 2013. A refund will also be given on unused airtime credit until 31 December. In addition to this, we would like to offer you £100. We hope you find a suitable alternative service. Customers will also have the option to keep the devices or return them to an O2 store for recycling.

How do I redeem my device refund and £100?

We will be processing your device refund and payment by the end of August 2013.

What do I do with my Help at Hand device once the service ceases on 31 December 2013?

When you stop using Help at Hand between 23 July and 31 December we recommend returning the device to an O2 store where we will recycle it. Customers will have the option to keep the devices.

The sim card in my Help at Hand device has my personal details on it. What do I do with it?

When you stop using Help at Hand, you can either, remove the sim card and destroy it yourself by cutting through the metallic chip with a pair of sharp scissors, or you can return the sim to your local O2 store where it will be safely destroyed and the device will be recycled.

I entered a lot of personal information onto the Help at Hand web portal. What will happen to all this information when the service from O2 Health ends?

Following cessation of the service we will securely dispose of all customer data on the portal in line with our security policies.

Are there similar products to Help at Hand available in the shops that I could purchase?

There are products/solutions that may meet the needs of individuals currently using Help at Hand or Health at Home on a case by case basis.

Information on mobile telecare products can be sourced via your GP or local health authority.

Who do I contact at O2 Health if I have any further queries about withdrawal of Help at Hand?

Please don’t hesitate to contact 0800 111 6009 if you have any further queries.

BREAKER

Information for Healthcare Organisations who had subscribed to the services terms & conditions:

BREAKER

We would like to let you know that O2 Health has taken the difficult decision to stop selling our telecare (Help at Hand) and telehealth (Health at Home) in the UK. We will cease providing the Help at Hand and Health at Home services to existing customers.

We appreciate that this news may be unwelcome. Our decision to withdraw the service has not been taken lightly.

You will receive a full refund on your purchased Help at Hand devices and our Help at Hand service will be free between 23 July and 31 December 2013. A refund will also be given on unused airtime credit until 31 December. In addition to this, we would like to offer you £100 per connected customer. We hope you find a suitable alternative service. Customers will also have the option to keep the devices or return them to an O2 store for recycling.

For those healthcare and social care providers who have purchased Help at Hand or Health at Home for multiple users, service will continue until 31 December 2013, at which point service from O2 Health will be discontinued.

We fully appreciate and thank all our customers and partners for the time and investment made in working with us to deliver these products to end users. We recognise that we will need to support you with the discontinuation of the service over the coming months and to that a member of the O2 Health team will be in touch with you shortly to talk through next steps.

If you have any immediate concerns regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact 0800 111 6001.

HELP AT HAND

Why are Help at Hand and Health at Home being withdrawn?

e-health is a sector with significant potential and, as such, remains an important priority for Telefonica (O2 Health’s parent company). However, the uptake of mobile telecare and telehealth in the UK marketplace has been slower than anticipated. For these reasons, the difficult decision has been taken to withdraw these two products from the UK marketplace. In the UK we will continue to serve the health sector via our Public sector team who provide core mobile and ICT solutions.

What will happen to existing customers?

For business-to-business health and social care providers who have purchased Help at Hand on multi-user licences, service will continue until 31 December 2013 at which point service will cease.

We will work closely with our customers on a case-by-case basis to support a discontinuation plan between now and December.

How will O2 Health support councils and health/social care providers who are providing Help at Hand to customers?

We will work closely with our customers on a case-by-case basis to support a discontinuation plan between now and December. You will receive a full refund on your purchased devices and our Help at Hand service will be free between 23 July and 31 December 2013. A refund will also be given on airtime if you’ve used the service for more than six consecutive months. In addition to this, we would like to offer you £100. We hope you find a suitable alternative service.

Will we need to return the devices to O2 Health?

Business customers will also have the option to keep the devices. Alternatively you can return the devices to us and we will recycle them. Returns can be made to any O2 store.

What will happen to our user data on the Help at Hand management portal?

Following cessation of the service we will securely dispose of all customer data on the portal in accordance with our security policies.

Health at Home

What will happen to existing customers?

For business-to-business healthcare providers who are using Health at Home on multi-user licences, service will continue until 31 December 2013 at which point service will cease.

We will work closely with our customers on a case-by-case basis to support a discontinuation plan between now and December.

How will O2 Health supporthealthcare providers who are providing Health at Home to customers, and who have invested considerable time, resource and money into helping to develop the platform?

We will work closely with our customers and a case-by-case basis to assess how we can support them with their transition planning, prior to the service ceasing on 31 December 2013.

What will happen to patient data on the Health at Home platform when the service discontinues? Will we still have access to the historical health data gathered during our usage of Health at Home?

Following cessation of the service we will securely dispose of all customer data on the portal in accordance with our security policies.

General Queries

Who should I contact at O2 Health if I have any queries about discontinuation of these products?

Please contact the O2 Health service desk on 0800 111 6001.

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3 Responses to O2/Telefonica calls time on ‘O2 Health’ with expensive service give-away & product recall

  1. Pingback: Japanese Mobile Operator hire a dedicated “Senior Crew” to sell Fujitsu’s Stylistic Smartphone | mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  2. This plus your post on Softbank’s hiring of ‘Senior Crew’ is useful to position things today. As a techie I love tech of any type but it became very clear when we reviewed the market that the ‘need’, education and value has to be ahead of the tech.

    Your point in the Softbank post on seniors seeing (and understanding) the value is spot on and is the real barrier to the adoption curve for all the new tech desperately trying to find a market.

    It will come but only when the time is right and maybe we have to step back from technology and bring it back in at the right time.

    Steve

  3. Tom says:

    We at HealthComms are developing solutions focused on the care of individuals in their home. Understanding that this may be a cause of concern for many people we would like to extend and offer of MyHomeReach free of charge for 1 year to those affected.
    Please contact us directly to avail of this offer. see our website at http://www.healthcomms.com

    Rgds
    Tom Byrne CEO

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