Research facility set to develop digital healthcare technologies

Warwick University and Bosch Healthcare have launched a research facility for developing digital healthcare technologies for people with life-threatening and chronic illnesses.

The Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) Learning Lab is intended to design and trial ‘telehealth’ systems that could improve the quality of life of the chronically ill.

IDH director Prof Christopher James said: ‘In the UK, we face an unprecedented need for improved understanding of digital healthcare technology and the benefits it can provide to both clinician and end user.

‘The lab will ultimately become a major resource for “road testing” the effectiveness of technology and the systems it exists within to provide the best possible outcomes.

‘Furthermore, the IDH will channel novel research towards real-world solutions to existing problems in healthcare, resulting in the rapid testing of prototypes.’

The lab’s first project will be to conduct two studies assessing the effectiveness of telehealth technologies. The first will examine how telehealth improves quality of life, behaviour, cost effectiveness and mortality rates in cancer patients.

Researchers will use Bosch’s Health Buddy system, a device and computer program that allows patients to send details of vital signs and symptoms to a health professional for review and feedback without having to visit a hospital or GP.

The second trial will study how telehealth can monitor and help more than 1,500 patients with vascular diseases as part of a wider study into chronic diseases.

‘The IDH Learning Lab’s ability to design, deploy and evaluate technology in real time will be second to none in the UK,’ said Lord Bhattacharyya, founder and chairman of the university’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG).

‘We will be utilising state-of-the-art facilities and technologies working with our industry partners to really understand the digital healthcare landscape.’