Health technology projects

eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC)

A collaborative, three-year project, EPIC helps grow eHealth businesses and improve health, wellbeing and enhance care quality. 

Initially funded in 2017 by a grant of £2.7 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), and received a further £4m to extend the project until 2023, EPIC has established an eHealth ecosystem that connects key sectors in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with research expertise at the University, led by Dr Arunangsu Chatterjee and Professor Ray Jones

The project enables new technological innovations to be created and adopted and so far has successfully awarded 42 grants to businesses for this purpose.

Working together with key partners, the project is helping to improve the quality of life and boost wellbeing.

Remote-by-Default Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has transformed the way the NHS operates – for the first time people are unable to walk into a GP surgery. 

This £750,000 project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), investigates what will be required to scale-up and deliver better remote care. Richard Byng, Professor in Primary Care Research, PenARC Deputy Director and practicing GP, leads the investigation of the implementation and scale-up of ‘remote-by-default’ working. 

The project, led by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh from the University of Oxford, and including the Nuffield Trust, seeks to develop tools to help clinicians assess people effectively by phone or video, support the change process through action research and strengthen the supporting infrastructure for digital innovation in the NHS.

RadioMe

A £2.7 million project, RadioMe uses artificial intelligence to adapt and personalise live radio, with the aim of transforming lives for people living alone with dementia. Funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), it addresses key causes of hospital admission for people with dementia, such as agitation and not taking medication correctly. Led by Professor Eduardo Miranda from the University and including other university partners, it will develop a way to remix live digital broadcast so that listeners will receive personal reminders, information and music to improve quality of life and allow people to remain living independently at home for longer.

Learn more about RadioMe

Healthy Ageing through Innovation in Rural Europe (HAIRE)

A £4.5 million project, HAIRE will work in eight rural communities – two in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK (Feock in Cornwall and Rother in East Sussex) to improve health and care quality and help to create an economy of wellbeing. 

Including 15 partners and running from 2020–2022, the project will make use of the University's knowledge and experience in health innovation projects across rural communities in the South West. Led by Dr Arunangsu Chatterjee, initiatives will aim to bring together the younger and older generations. 

Volunteers will be trained to identify their underused community assets and networks, conducting guided conversations with approximately 600 people (aged 60 and over who are no longer in employment), finding out how people feel about their lives and the place in which they live.

NoObesity App

Almost a quarter or more than a fifth of children in the United Kingdom (UK) are overweight or obese by the time they start school. To support the prevention and management of childhood obesity, Health Education England, in collaboration with key stakeholders, have designed two apps, NoObesity Professionals and NoObesity Families that provide digital learning and tools to encourage health lifestyles. Dr Edward Meinert, Associate Professor of eHealth at the Universit's Centre for Health Technology, is leading the evaluation of these apps, funded by Health Education England with expected results to be published in 2021.

Learn more about NoObesity


Centre for Health Technology Pop-up

Part of a number of projects funded by the UKRI place-based partnerships for public engagement worth £1.4million, the Centre for Health Technology pop-up has been created in Stonehouse, Plymouth. 

As one of the most deprived areas in the UK, the pop-up centre will aim to address health inequalities and social deprivation using digital technology and eHealth solutions. This includes companion robots as well as apps and internet-based health and welfare resources.

From December 2019 until April 2020, the pop-up centre will also support business start-ups and the thriving regional, digital entrepreneur network through industry pop-up spaces. 

It will bring together an interdisciplinary cohort of University researchers and students from computing, nursing, design, robotics, design, medicine, engineering and architecture.

Learn more about the pop-up

South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN)

SWCTN aims to expand the use of creative technologies in the South West of England by harnessing expertise in creative technology research at the University and other partners into a model of Knowledge Exchange with the health, manufacturing and creative economy industry sectors and new talent. Part of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund and led by the University of the West of England (UWE), the £6.5 million project offers three one-year funded programmes around the themes of Immersion, Automation and Data to develop new products for market. The University has provided four Fellows: Ms Polly Macpherson, Dr Alejandro Veliz Reyes, Dr Edward Braund, Dr Birgitte Aga, Rosie Brave (ResM student).

Learn more about SWCTN

Innovation in Healthy Ageing Devon

In a county with an ever-increasing ageing population, ensuring healthy ageing – helping people to develop and maintain their ‘functional ability’, be mobile, independent and maintain relationships – is increasingly important. Innovation in Healthy Ageing, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), brings academic expertise together with small enterprises in Devon to develop new technology, applications for existing technology, services, models or processes to address key challenges affecting how people age in Devon. Led by Professor Ray Jones and Dr John Tredinnick-Rowe from the University, it offers student placements within the local industry as well as the opportunity for businesses to bid for funding and gain practical and specialist health innovation support.

Learn more about Innovation in Healthy Ageing Devon

Movecare: Multiple-actors Virtual Empathic Caregivers for the Elderly

Focussed on supporting independent living through the use of robotic companions, this Horizon 2020 funded project studies how people interact with the University’s ‘Pepper’ – the most advanced humanoid robot currently available on the market. With its voice recognition system and exceptional artificial intelligence, Pepper is capable of maintaining a conversation, identifying emotions and adjusting his behaviour accordingly. Movecare allows researchers at the University, led by Professor Ray Jones, to study Pepper in a more realistic, home-like environment rather than in a lab, to identify the impact on the elderly.

Learn more about Movecare

eCoacher

eCoacher is a multi-centred randomised controlled trial that investigates the effects of adding web-based coaching to an exercise referral scheme (ERS) – where doctors prescribe exercise to patients who have chronic physical or mental health conditions – as a way to increase uptake and sustained health-enhancing physical activity. 

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and led by Professor Adrian Taylor from the University, this partnership project aims to increase the average number of minutes spent on physical activity for those who have the support of eCoacher compared with the usual exercise referral alone.

Learn more about eCoacher

AGE’IN

Led by Dr Marco Palomino, Lecturer in Information Systems and Big Data, AGE’IN is directly addressing the problem of an overly ageing population in the UK and Europe. 

With the South West seen as one of the areas in the UK with a high ageing populous, the project supports businesses to evaluate their health innovation products and services, and supports with an understanding of user needs via extensive research. The University of Plymouth’s Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems (CRNS) also provides access to selected technology.

Learn more about AGE’IN

eConsult

The £75,000 project, co-funded by NHS Kernow Clinical and NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups and the South West Academic Health Science Network, explores enablers, barriers and effectiveness of the online evaluation tool, eConsult used in Cornwall and Devon. 

This project critically responds to the need for independent evaluation on online consultation tools and addresses identified limitations of existing research by exploring the perspectives of both healthcare providers and patients and its cost implications. With the implementation of eConsult at an early stage and an increasing drive towards its expansion, an accurate understanding of its effectiveness is imperative. Led by Dr Arunangsu Chatterjee, this timely research seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of eConsult using a mixed methods design informed by Normalisation Process Theory.

Find out more about eConsult

Digital Health Testbed

Led by Kernow Health in partnership with the University's EPIC project, this project provides digital health providers and companies with an exclusive network of over 50 GP practices in Cornwall as well as access to the University's digital health researchers, led by Dr John Tredinnick-Rowe. This offers digital health providers access to primary care services and real-world, independently conducted evaluation of new products and services against the most up-to-date framework from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Researchers from the Centre for Health Technology have been working with senior commissioning figures to provide these evaluations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with partners to identify additional, established international companies in the Nordics, Israel, Spain and Italy that might provide digital health products to support the NHS during this critical time.

Remote Assessment and Management of People with Movement Impairment and Disability

Led by Professor Jenny Freeman, Professor of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this project is seeking to address the issues created by the necessary remote rehabilitation or telerehabilitation of people with disabilities and Covid-19 patients during the pandemic. Professor Freeman and her team from the University's Faculty of Health, the University of Warwick, and partners in NHS trusts and the social care sector across the region will create a toolkit and training package for current and future clinicians to enhance confidence and competence in delivering telerehabilitation for people with movement impairments/physical disability, including those recovering from Covid-19.