Ray Jones, Professor of Health Informatics and Co-Director of the Centre for Health Technology, is one of the UK’s leading researchers in empowering more people to use digital health technology. His 40-year career has produced over 300 papers on how technology can be harnessed to benefit patients, particularly in rural and ageing communities.
The ‘nation’s lifesavers’
Ray has championed uniting computer sciences with health services since the 1970’s. His career has included empowering patients with access to their own records, early adoption of streaming in student-patient learning, plus evolving nursing curricula to include digital professionalism that equips health workers with digital technology skills to support their patients. He has maintained a vision of closing health and digital inequality gaps, particularly in rural and elderly communities who could most benefit from eHealth solutions to more effectively self-manage their health.
Ray was recognised in the 2019 ‘nation’s lifesavers’ list compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities. He introduced a project called Digital Health Champions, through which University of Plymouth nursing students support patients in using technology to improve their healthcare, from sending emails to arranging online prescriptions.
The future of digital health technology
Ray stands at the helm of the hugely successful eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC) project, which aims to identify health and social care issues in the region by uniting patients, health services and local businesses. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund since 2017, EPIC has received over £6 million to strengthen the innovation network and develop technological solutions that boost quality of life and wellbeing.
The project takes a multi-strand approach with initiatives to support older populations, such as bespoke companion robots to comfort care home residents. Ray also placed Amazon Echo Spots into 150 Cornwall care homes, to be used for playing reminiscence music, reminding people of events in the care home, or to keep them connected with family and friends.
These health technology practices have seen a drastic increase in need since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, highlighting the benefit of these initiatives for improving remote health management and combatting isolation.
The person behind the pioneer
Making a difference and empowering patients.
To enquire about future collaborations, please contact Professor Ray Jones
A lot of us take technology for granted, but there are more people than we realise who still need help to access it. Nearly 10% of the public have never used the internet. We have an increasingly ageing population and considerable demand and pressure on health and social care resources.
By overcoming the barriers – social, financial or practical – we can start to open up technological doors to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
Professor Ray Jones
Champion for health
Our research tackles the most pressing public health issues to improve the health and care of the populations we serve. We have a vibrant community of interdisciplinary research that is truly cutting-edge, from disease discovery to innovative care practices, novel treatments to clinical trials. We are at the forefront of research into the mechanisms, treatments and best care practices for areas including brain tumours, Parkinson’s disease, ageing communities, digital health, antibiotic resistance, and health inequalities.
Our close partnership with the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, together with the Derriford Research Facility, place us on the frontline of applied research from the laboratory to the patients across medicine, dentistry and healthcare professions.