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Re-engineering the healthcare system

Re-engineering the healthcare system

A new roadmap has been unveiled for engineering and physical science researchers to optimise opportunities for using digital health in remote monitoring and self-management of disease.

The user-focused roadmap relies on engineering and physical sciences research, leading to improvements in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment pathways for care at home, particularly across multiple clinical conditions.

Professor Flewitt

The roadmap, which was developed through workshops organised by the EPSRC-funded FAST Healthcare NetworksPlus, identifies four areas where such research can play a central part:

  • Generic continuous monitoring from a diversity of information sources. This includes sensor technologies and data management and extraction which makes use of engineering in the form of data-sharing platforms, analytic tools and machine learning
  • Recovery monitoring. Optimising the patient’s recovery process based on real data acquired by using decision assistance systems to measure a small number of specific indicators continuously
  • Early diagnosis. Making an early diagnosis of a condition from multiple data sources, making use of machine learning, data sharing and multi-data analytics, as well as decision assistance systems
  • New patient access routes. Identifying new ways for patients to access the NHS by making use of virtual reality systems, the internet and mobile apps.

It has been developed in response to rapid changes in healthcare delivery as the NHS strives to meet the needs of an ageing population; witnesses an increase in the number of people with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease; and recognises the benefits of patients being able to self-manage their own care.

It is anticipated that digital technologies will lead to a radical transformation of the NHS, with changes in care pathways, as well as the transfer of care from hospital settings to the community and even to patients’ own homes, meaning more care will be provided outside the traditional healthcare settings.

Professor Andrew Flewitt is the Principal Investigator of the EPSRC FAST Healthcare NetworkPlus and Professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

“Digitally enabled changes in patient pathways will require considerable re-engineering as well as re-training of healthcare staff. It will also increasingly blur the boundaries between wellness, prevention and care management,” he said.

“In response to this, the FAST Healthcare NetworksPlus held its second Roadmapping Workshop on the subject of 'Digital Health for Remote Monitoring and Self-Management' resulting in a user-focused roadmap which aligns closely with the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). It also relies on engineering and physical sciences research, leading to improvements in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment pathways for care at home, particularly across multiple clinical conditions.”

The roadmap is available to download here.

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