NHS England to launch IoT innovation test beds
NHS England is to announce two IoT Test Beds

NHS England to launch IoT innovation test beds

NHS England will announce the first of its innovation ‘Test Beds’ later today, with these set to investigate how IoT and other emerging technologies can aid patient care across the country.

NHS England CEO Simon Stevens is due to announce the news at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, where he will also detail the aims of each Test Bed and the roles of the numerous technology partners, which include Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), IBM and Philips.

These test beds are heavily focused on the use of interconnected devices (like wearable monitors) and data analytics, and appear to be heavily geared-up to improving patient self-care and remote monitoring by healthcare professionals.

For example, some of the early plans will see diabetic patients in the West of England being equipped with remote monitoring and coaching technology so that they can self-manage their condition, while older patients in Rochdale will be identified through data analytics and supported via telecare and remote devices. In Birmingham meanwhile, patients at risk of serious mental illness with have access to technology and apps to monitor their condition. These will connect to a central tech hub, so the right staff can be dispatched to the home in the event of an emergency.

In his conference address, which is themed ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, Stevens is expected to say:

“Over the next decade major health gains won’t just 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 first wave of Test Beds include five health and care Test Beds and two focused specifically on the Internet of Things (IoT). The five health Test Beds will evaluate the use of a number of technologies, including social media for communicating with dementia patients and predictive analytics for identifying the onset of new diseases.

The first of the IoT Test Beds, ‘Diabetes Digital Coach’, is being led by the West of England AHSN in partnership with Diabetes UK and technology companies including Hewlett Packard.

Bringing together mobile health self-management tools (wearable sensors and supporting software) with the latest developments in connecting monitoring devices (Internet of Things), the Test Bed will enable people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’ to self-manage their condition.

It will also encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks.

The second IoT project, ‘Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM)’, is a collaboration between Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and an array of health technology providers and it will attempt to help people with dementia to live in their own homes for longer.

Individuals and their carers will be provided with sensors, wearables, monitors and other devices to monitor their health at home. This will empower people to take more control over their own health and wellbeing, as well as enabling health and social care staff to deliver more responsive and effective services.

Both of these projects are part of IoTUK, the Government’s £40 million three-year programme which is looking to drive IoT innovation in the country.

Neil Mesher, managing director of Philips UK and Ireland, said: “Philips is proud to be involved in this pioneering new project. We believe this type of collaborative approach between industry and health & care providers is an excellent opportunity to improve patient outcomes whilst at the same time reducing the total cost of care. Supporting patients to meet their own individual goals is an objective Philips are delighted to be involved with.”

Andy Conrad, Chief Executive Officer of Verily, said: “This partnership between the NHS, MSD and Verily will determine if data analysis technology can help the NHS better prevent, detect and manage disease. Our hope is to help create a more preventative model for managing long term conditions like heart failure and lung disease.”