NHS adopts smart Internet of Things technology to boost self-care potential

Frontline health and care workers across seven areas will pilot a cutting-edge programme that brings together a network of interconnected modern technologies designed to help older patients with long term conditions monitor themselves remotely.

Launched by NHS England boss Simon Stevens today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the pilot will mark the first wave of NHS Innovation ‘test beds’. It is the result of a partnership between the health service and Verily (formerly Google Life Science), IBM and Philips, designed to address complex health issues through novel technology.

The first wave will include five health and care test beds and two ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) test beds all across England. Each test bed will use a different mixture of innovations from large and small organisations to address local clinical challenges – ranging from long-term conditions management, mental health crises support and endorsing independence.

The test beds innovator is made possible by smart IoT technology. For example, the first IoT test bed, Diabetes Digital Coach, will bring together mobile health self-management tools (wearable sensors and supporting software) with connecting monitoring devices to enable people with type 1 or 2 diabetes to self-manage their condition.

Led by the West of England AHSN with Diabetes UK and Hewlett Packard, the test bed will encourage healthcare professionals, carers and friends to intervene more quickly and appropriately.

The other test bed, Technology Integrated Health Management, is a collaboration between Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS FT and a range of health technology providers devised to help people with dementia live in their own homes for longer.

People and their carers will be provided with sensors, wearables, monitors and other devices to monitor their health remotely, empowering patients to take the reigns over their own wellbeing and enabling health and social care staff to be more responsive and effective.

Addressing the World Economic Forum, Stevens said: “Over the next decade major health gains won’t come from a few ‘miracle cures’, but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications and AI computing.

“Our new NHS test beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

The innovator scheme is a joint effort between NHS England, the Office for Life Science, the Department of Health and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It will bring together all relevant local health bodies including CCGs, trusts and primary and community care providers.

It is part of a wider £40m three-year government ambition to advance the UK’s leadership in IoT and adopt more IoT technologies throughout the public sector and businesses.

The five NHS test beds will be Care City Health and Care Test Bed (promoting healthy ageing in north east London), Long Term Conditions Early Intervention Programme (in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale), Lancashire and Cumbria Innovation Alliance (supporting vulnerable people to stay outside the hospital), Perfect Patient Pathway (for patients in Sheffield with long-term conditions), and RAIDPlus Integrated Mental Health Urgent Care (across Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS FT). More details of each can be found here.

Test beds have been developing their proposals over the last nine months with the support of 15 Academic Health Science Networks. The successful schemes were chosen based on their ability to address specific local clinical challenges through innovation at a large scale.

They have also committed to evaluate and collect evidence of potential improvements to their local health system, which can then be used to spread innovations elsewhere.


Pete   17/10/2016 at 12:29

The IoT has become an key area for the healthcare industry. It’s really important that the NHS and private organisations start to use the digital tools that are available to help identify and cure health issues in the U.K. Cognitive health software from CANTAB ( is a prime example of the sort of technology that we should be embracing. This software is especially relevant for private businesses and their employee wellness policies. The software can help people identify potential mental health issues that cause them problems at work, as well as help identify the early signs of dementia in older members of staff. By being available on devices like tablets these IoT elements can potentially make a big difference to people’s health.

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