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Business creation company, Opta today announces that it has been awarded a major contract to be Launch Partner for Living Health, the Telewest company that has received £3.8 million worth of funding from the Department of Health to bring healthcare into homes via interactive television. The service will push the boundaries of interactive TV by allowing people the opportunity to access a comprehensive information service, have a one-way video conference with a nurse in an NHS Direct call centre and, with participating surgeries, book an appointment with their GP on screen.

As Living Health’s Launch Partner, Opta will help to develop the Living Health business proposition for an interactive TV portal, design and develop product specifications and business processes as well as create and manage the overall launch plan. Other main responsibilities include supporting the key commercial negotiations with technology and content providers and organisational design for the programme. The company is also acting as operational manager for the pilot scheme.

“Opta was chosen for its leading-edge skills and experience in helping companies to create and launch new businesses,” says Living Health’s General Manager Ronnette Lucraft. “This is a ground breaking project that demonstrates how interactive TV can deliver real benefits for government and reach people who don’t necessarily have pc internet access”.

Adds Opta Director Patrick Elliott, “We are delighted to be bringing to Living Health Opta’s unique understanding of how to develop a compelling customer proposition and then launch it successfully into the marketplace. Our partnership approach is built upon our people’s relentless focus on the long term success of the businesses which we help to design and launch.”

The Living Health project is a joint partnership between Telewest and Eden Communications, and brings together around 20 key players. The service will run as a pilot from 31st May to approximately 50,000 Telewest active digital homes in Birmingham for a six-month period. This is the first major step towards nationwide development.

About Opta
Opta was founded 12 years ago and is now one of Britain’s leading new business creation companies. It provides its ‘business design’ and ‘launch’ services to both established bricks and mortar companies and start-ups in support of their development and launch of new businesses and service propositions based on digital channels to market (internet, DiTV, mobile and multi-channel). The organisation has worked with such companies as OnDigital and Egg in helping them to develop their business propositions and take them to market.

About Living Health

Living Health, an interactive health service, is a joint venture between Telewest Communications Plc and Eden Communications. Living Health is the first of a number of pilots that the NHS is funding to explore possible health applications on digital interactive services.

From 31 May 2001, the service will run as a pilot for six months in Birmingham and will provide health advice and information about local health services to around 50,000 homes. From the summer 2001, it will include access to an NHS Direct nurse who will be visible through the television set of subscribers.

Note to Editors
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has said that he believes the switch-over to Digital TV could start to happen as early as 2006 and possibly be completed by 2010.

Media & analyst enquiries
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