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Digital Solutions: a citizen centric approach

Last Friday (22/1/16) saw an exciting announcement for the Corsham Institute (Ci) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The public unveiling of a new collaborative Test Bed that is a great example of the citizen centric work that Ci is doing in the Research and Innovation arena.

The Davos announcement saw NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, confirming details of the first wave of the NHS Test Bed programme.

In doing so he said:

“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.”

In partnership with Ci and other organisations in the West of England, the Diabetes Digital Coach Programme is a Test Bed led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN). It means that people with diabetes will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care.

Following the announcement, Ci director, Jeffrey Thomas said:

“The potential of digital technologies to transform the provision of healthcare, in particular, patient led care for chronic illness is significant. The Corsham Institute is delighted to be part of a talented consortium in testing and developing the Diabetes Digital Coach programme.

By providing the NHS and our fellow partners with a trusted, secure and agnostic environment to house data and develop consent driven applications, we are delighted to be helping to create solutions and analytics that add significant value to patients, clinicians and researchers alike.”

The Diabetes Digital Coach Test Bed will bring together mobile health self-management tools, such as wearable sensors and supporting software, with the Internet of Things (IoT). It will enable people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’, to partly self-manage their condition and will encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks.

The Test Bed is part of an integrated £40 million, three-year Central Government programme, in collaboration with Innovate UK, that seeks to advance the UK’s global leadership in IoT and increase the adoption of high quality IoT technologies and services throughout the public sector for the benefit of everyone who uses them.

As essential and welcome as these new Test Beds are to the Health Sector, digital innovation reaches into every corner of society and Ci is also enabling Research and Innovation programmes across many other areas including education and learning, public service transformation, smart living and communities.

Ci connects people, academia, government and the not for profit sector in ‘Digital Collaboratories’ that provide an environment where people can research, innovate and implement digital products and services in a secure, non-competitive ‘white-space’ that allows capacities to be built and essential connections made.

In whatever field Ci is working; ethics, privacy and trust are intrinsic to our Programmes and from conception through to market testing we are centered on digital citizens and the future of the digital society. We believe that the next decade is not simply about infrastructure and technology, it is about digital behaviour, engagement and creativity to help people and communities meet the digital challenges we all increasingly face.

As Ci builds further unique collaborations and test beds, of which the Diabetes Digital Coach for the NHS is the latest exciting example, we will continue to seek partners across all sectors to build digital activity, to enable people to lead healthier, better and safer lives through secure and trusted solutions.

To find out more about Research and Innovation at Ci, please get in touch with us at

George Freeman –Minister for Life Sciences - talks about NHS Test Beds on BBC Radio Five Live

Transcript of George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, on BBC Radio Five Live with Peter Allen 22/1/16 at 11:09 @Freeman_George

“There are some very exciting technologies out there that haven’t yet really been used in Health Care – whether it’s digital apps on your phone for monitoring disease, for empowering patients to hook up with other sufferers, hospitals using wireless diagnostics and wireless telemetry to monitor babies, whether it’s tele-care.

There is some wonderful technology out there that will help us improve health care and improve the patient experience – less journeys to the GP and hospital, less queues, more time at home and it improves productivity for the Health Care system…

For example, I went recently to see a pilot we’ve got with the McLaren Formula One team and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where children who have had cardiac operations are now being monitored using McLaren’s Formula One telemetry, so that they don’t have to wear devices or wires – the toddlers can walk around and the nurses have 24/7 Formula One level data streams so that any problem with the child is immediately picked up.

We’re doing a similar pilot on the A&E at John Radcliffe Hospital to help the A&E team to work more like a Formula One pit team and be more efficient – this is about using technology to help our health service and to promote NHS leadership in technology.

We’re announcing today the Test Beds scheme in 7 areas - we said we’re prepared to allow companies and innovators, people with technology, to come into bits of our Health Service – we’re not paying for the technology – we’re helping them to come into the system and they can show us how their technology can help patients, help doctors deliver outcomes and help our health service improve efficiency – we’re getting access to this technology free of charge as part of these test beds.

If as we believe will happen, this technology helps us to improve outcomes and reduce costs, then we’ll be in a position to have a conversation about sharing some of those proceeds with the innovators.

This is a ground breaking announcement, that we’re really prepared to bring front line technology to the NHS.”