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.


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

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<p>Centre for Health Technology Pop-Up</p>

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

Autonomous Telemedicine

Dr Edward Meinert, Associate Professor of eHealth, leads the evaluation of the Autonomous Telemedicine project that will see AI technology developed by Ufonia – a natural language AI assistant and call system called DORA – implemented for patients who have undergone cataract surgery. The system will conduct a real-time two-way conversation with patients that will substitute a face-to-face outpatient appointment. Dr Meinert will evaluate the effectiveness, usability and acceptability of DORA in comparison to an expert human clinician.
The project is funded by an Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award, part of the NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
Phone call
<p>Pepper entertaining residents at a care home</p>

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

Identifying Determinants of Health Inequality

Health inequalities are underpinned by the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. The gap in expected lifespan between the boys in the richest areas of the UK and those in the poorest has increased to 8.4 years.

The 2016 Academy of Medical Sciences Report identified challenges facing population health and opportunities to develop a new paradigm for “Health of the Public” research, particularly better understanding of “the complex array of interlinking factors that influence the health of the public”, the long-term drivers that cut across local, national and global environments and the influence of demographic, political, economic, and technical developments. This requires interventions on health inequalities to take cross-sectoral actions across all the socioeconomic, cultural & environmental determinants of health.

Funded by National Foundation of Social Science in China and supported by Health Data Science UK, Professor Shang-Ming Zhou and his team and partners are developing data-driven solutions to identify the complex interactions between the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to individual- and population-level health outcomes. In particular, the team advances Local Modelling technology to explore interactions of these factors at a micro-level across different sub-regions of data space, so that we can effectively identify those sub-populations, providing important insights into targeted policy development and intervention.

Find out more about identifying determinants of health inequality

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<p>DNA - image courtesy of Getty&nbsp;</p>

Automated Cancer Deep Phenotyping

Phenotype and disease subclassification are one of fundamental challenges in precision medicines. The task of disease phenotyping is to observe and define a set of clinical features representing the clinical expression of the disease from the sources describing patient events/activities, medical histories, assessments/measurements etc. If a heterogeneous cohort of patients can be successfully classified into appropriate subtypes, more individualised effective treatment and preventative measure become possible. Accurate phenotypic information, together with the genetic data, constitutes the core evidence at several stages of the diagnostic pathway by different members of the clinical workforce.

Disease phenotyping is also a powerful tool to advance translational cancer research. Classifying cancer patients based on differences in deep phenotypes can lead to better patient selection for clinical trials and inclusion in other research studies, such as survival analysis or outcome prediction, revenue, patient care performance evaluation etc. However, many key phenotypic variables in cancer, such as specific tumour behaviours (e.g. metastasis), laboratory findings (e.g. gene amplification status), tumour morphology (e.g. histopathologic features), and response to treatment (e.g. effect of a chemotherapeutic agent on tumour volume) are fragmented across multiple data sources or are only available in clinical notes (Hochheiser et al).

Funded by European Convergence Programme, Professor Shang-Ming Zhou and his team and partners are using deep learning and natural language processing technologies to mine clinically meaningful factors from clinical notes/terms and electronic health records, identify the patients with colorectal cancer and predict the development of cancer stages, resurrection, and associated multi-morbidities. Such deep phenotyping uses advanced AI algorithms to integrate the wealth of health data and reveal connections and interactions between phenotypic factors. Details about cancer manifestations will be unravelled in a finer-grained and more individualised way.

Learn more about automated identification of cancer patients via deep phenotyping

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.

<p>Cropped shot of a businesswoman using a digital tablet with graphs on it in a modern office<br></p>
<p>Shot of happy senior women using virtual reality headsets together at a retirement home<br></p>