The old normal: our future health

A pandemic, an ageing population and a rise in chronic conditions mean that our health and care systems in the UK are facing the biggest challenge of our lifetime.

People in the South West of England are used to be being isolated. The coastal and rural location of this peninsula, combined with a lack of investment in transport and infrastructure, means the overwhelmingly ageing population live in the conditions of a global pandemic lockdown daily.  

These communities have been the focus of research of the Centre for Health Technology and its researchers for over 30 years. Together, they work to enable innovative healthcare solutions that reduce the pressure on services, support healthy ageing in our communities and stimulate an economy of wellbeing that benefits all.

Researchers share their views on the current state of health and care in the UK, and what its future could look like.

Levelling up our digital health strategy

Professor Sheena, Professor of Health Policy and Director of the University's Pymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the launch of technologies that support the vision of a digital-first NHS. From the rolling out of Microsoft Teams for health care workers, the release of an app that allows patients to access their health information, book and manage appointments and order repeat prescriptions to the offer of free video conferencing service to GPs, the pandemic has seen an unprecedented uptake of technology in healthcare. 

The problem with a digital-first NHS is that it only works if everyone is online. However, while virtually all adults (99%) aged 16-44 years in the UK were recent internet users in 2019, that figure drops to 47% among adults aged 75 and over. There is, moreover, a close correlation between digital exclusion and social disadvantage.


Centre for Health Technology

Bringing together digital health and health technology expertise from across the University to drive the development, evaluation and implementation of innovative technologies, products, services and approaches to transform health and social care.

Find out more about the Centre for Health Technology