Professor Peter Bath

BSc (Technical) (University of Wales), MSc (Sheffield), PhD (Sheffield)

Information School

Professor of Health Informatics

Peter Bath
Profile picture of Peter Bath
+44 114 222 2636

Full contact details

Professor Peter Bath
Information School
Room C225
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

I have been interested in information science and health informatics for 23 years.

My interest in these areas developed at the end of my first degree in Applied Biology, when I came to Sheffield to study for my MSc in Information Studies in the then Department of Information Studies.

At the end of the MSc, I studied for my PhD in chemical structure handling under the supervision of Professor Peter Willett and Dr. Frank Allen (Cambridge). I was appointed Research Fellow (1994-1996), then Lecturer (1996-2000), in Information Science in the Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing (SISA) at the University of Sheffield, which had been set up by Professor Ian Philp in 1994.

I re-joined the Department of Information Studies in 2000, when I was appointed Lecturer in Health Informatics to set up the new MSc in Health Informatics programme and became Head of the Health Informatics Research Group.

I was appointed Professor of Health Informatics in the Information School in 2013.

University responsibilities

  • Chair, University Research Ethics Committee (UREC).
  • Head of School (2016-2019).
  • University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) - Faculty of Social Sciences representative (2007-2013).
  • Member of University Research Governance Sub-Committee (2003-2004).
  • Member of University of Sheffield Working Group on monitoring arrangements for health care research projects. (2003-2004).
  • Director, Centre for Health Information Management Research (CHIMR).
  • Deputy Programme Coordinator for the Health Informatics programme.
  • Module Coordinator:
    • Data Analysis;
    • Analysis of Health Information;
    • Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation (Health Informatics);
    • Dissertation (Health Informatics).
Research interests

My research interests are in Health Informatics and include the following areas:

  • The use of e-Health resources by different consumer groups.
  • Health information needs and information behaviours of patients, their families, carers and the general public.
  • Evaluation of information systems within health care organisations.
  • Applications of artificial intelligence and data mining techniques to analysing health information.
  • Analysing health information in relation to the health and well-being of older people.

I am particularly interested in how patients, carers and health professionals seek, obtain and share information and advice in relation to their health and well-being through online digital resources, e.g., the Web, online discussion groups. I am developing an interest in how different groups develop trust and empathy online in life-threatening and traumatic conditions.

I have experience of researching the quality of online information resources that patients, carers and the public use in relation to their health.

I have undertaken collaborative research with a range of organisations, including NHS Direct, the World Health Organisation, Macmillan Cancer Support and have been involved in a wide range of inter-disciplinary funded projects, including with colleagues from computer science, geriatric medicine, nursing, palliative care, biomedical engineering, psychiatry, public health medicine, epidemiology, health economics, statistics.

I also coordinate the ISHIMR conference series. The most recent International Symposium for Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR 2013) took place in Halifax, NS, Canada in June 2013 and the 17th International Symposium for Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR 2013) will take place in York in 2015.

I am interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:

  • Use of social media by patients, carers and family members
  • Health information needs and information behaviours of patients, their families, carers and the general public.
  • Understanding and evaluating the importance of e-Health systems to support patient care.
  • Applications of statistical methods, and artificial intelligence and data mining techniques to analysing health data, particularly in relation to the health and well-being of older people

I am head of the Health Informatics Research Group

Research projects

Monitoring the transition to Open Access in the UK

Universities UK Investigator £10,800 2 January 2015 5 months

Monitoring the transition to open access in the UK is a project sponsored by Universities UK analysing the various strands of evidence of the take-up of open-access publishing and dissemination by UK researchers. The project is investigating the availability of different open-access options, evidence of their take-up, usage of open-access materials, and the financial sustainability of open-access approaches. Partners in the project are the Research Information Network, University of Sheffield, Research Consulting and Elsevier.

A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing: A Transdisciplinary Exploration of Online Trust and Empathy

Economic and Social Research Council Principal Investigator £1,137,516 30 June 2014 30 months

This two and a half year trans-disciplinary project is funded by the ESRC Emoticon (Empathy and Trust in Communicating Online) call. The project involves the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Kings College London and the University of Kent at Canterbury. The aim of the project is to develop a better understanding of how people in extreme circumstances (ranging from dangerous and addictive drug use, life-threatening illness, to suicidal ideation and natural disasters) share information, emotion and resources in online environments.

Systematic Review of the effects of telephone assessment on OOH care

NHS Direct Principal Investigator £4,111 1 September 2012 13 months

A feasibility study of a holistic needs assessment questionnaire in a supportive and palliative care

MacMillan Cancer Support Investigator £141,265 1 January 2010 30 months

Predictive models of Suicide, Self-Harm and Violence in Psychosis

Sheffield Health and Social Research Consortium Investigator £10,000 26 February 2007 12 months

An intervention to help patients understand their symptoms of acute chest pain

The Health Foundation Investigator £60,627 1 November 2005 24 months

Medical Records Review Methods

Department of Health Investigator £472,176 1 May 2004 33 months

Use of graph-theoretical methods in computation chemistry for pattern identification

Medical Research Council Principal Investigator £49,392 1 May 2001 36 months

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


  • Jubb M, Goldstein S, Amin M, Plume A, Aisati M, Oeben S, Pinfield S, Bath P, Salter J, Johnson R & Fosci M (2015) Monitoring the transition to open access: A report for Universities UK View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

  • Bath PA & Ellis JC (2015) Save your outrage: online cancer fakers may be suffering a different kind of illness. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Ebenezer CM, Bath PA & Pinfield S (2015) “Access denied”? Managing access to the World Wide Web within the National Health Service (NHS) in England: technology, risk, culture, policy and practice. ISHIMR, York, UK. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download



Research group

Current PhD Students

Abdulaziz Almanea: The Role of Online Support Groups in Empowering People with Type 2 Diabetes in the United Kingdom

Adelina Basholli: Wireless monitoring systems for enhancing health services in developing regions.

Daisy Da Moura Semedo: Mining health information on the Social Web: towards an understanding of the influence of social media on public healthcare

Suzanne Duffin: A study of information needs and information sharing amongst people on the autism spectrum, using online support and discussion groups

Yuyang Liu: Machine learning and health informatics

Muntaha Nafisa: Evaluating health information systems Research Title : Evaluating the quality of the existing EHR Systems of Govt. Healthcare facilities of Bangladesh: Journey Towards National Shared Health Record

Emily Nunn: Open access and the non-academic reader: Investigating the potential impact outside the academic community of open access to medical and education research.

Sally Sanger: Alcohol online support groups: the role of discussion forums in constructing users' understanding of their condition/disease.

Liliana Sepulveda Garcia: Nonintrusive monitoring of the aging population in rural Mexico through mobile technologies.

Yuhua Wang: Developing a better understanding of the factors that influence digital inclusion for active and healthy ageing among older people.

Visiting PhD Students

Noora Hirvonen: Information Behavior in Stages of Exercise Behavior Change

Kalpana Chandrasekar: Comparison of Notifiable Disease Surveillance Systems in Sri Lanka and the UK. Completion date: November 2013

Paolo Melillo: Use of data mining methods to analyse data on health in older people Completion date: February 2012

Leandro Pecchia: Economy and Management of Healthcare Services and Organizations. Completion date: January 2009

Completed PhD Students

Jennifer Salter: Understanding health changes through the analysis of electricity consumption data.

Jean Stevenson-Agren: Documentation of vital signs in electronic health records: a patient safety issue.

Simon Read: Methods for the improved implementation of the spatial scan statistic when applied to binary labelled point data.

Rabiah Ahmad: Cox Proportional Hazard Regression and Genetic Algorithms (CoRGA) for Analysing Risk Factors for All-Cause Mortality in Community-Dwelling Older People.

Haleh Ayatollahi: Factors influencing attitudes towards the use of information technology in the emergency department.

Catherine Beverley: The Health and Social Care Information Needs and Behaviour of People with a Visual Impairment.

Louise Guillaume: The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine scare: the information needs and information sources of parents.

Juliet Harland: Making Sense of Dementia.

Wen-Chin Hsu: Older people's use of the NHS Direct telephone advice and information service.

Chih-Ping Li: Quality of Life Among Older People in the UK and Taiwan.

Jacqueline Macdonald: The Information Sharing Behaviour of Health Service Managers: a three-part study.

Joel Minion: The Information World of Gay Men Living with HIV.

Robinah Namuleme: Information seeking in Ugandan universities.

Reza Rabiei: Perceptions of, and Satisfaction with, the NHS Choose and Book Service in England.

Theocharis Stavroulakis: The information needs and behaviours of women in relation to osteoporosis: Implications for health promotion.

Kyeung Mi Oh: Priorities for the development of older people' services in South Korea-lessons from the United Kingdom.

Teaching interests

My main areas of teaching are aligned with my research interests, particularly in relation to health information and health informatics. I also supervise post-graduate dissertations in these areas.

Teaching Projects

Problem-based learning in professional development: design, pilot and evaluation of a multimedia case study approach.
University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching Development group   £23,930 2001 9 months

I was part of a group that was awarded a substantial grant to develop a unique multimedia case study for use via WebCT, to enhance the student learning experience.

The case study involved problem-based learning, individual and group learning activities, use of online communication tools through WebCT. Evaluation of the case study demonstrated that is it had a very positive impact on the student learning experience.

The case study was used to provide an educational and technical exemplar of distributed and problem-based learning of value to other professional development programmes across the University.

I was involved in the project management, design and development of learning materials and learning tasks and the evaluation of the case study.

Research into the development and evaluation of the study resulted in an invitation to present at the Spotlight 2002 conference, presentations at three international conferences and two publications in Conference Proceedings. 

Teaching activities

I am Deputy Programme Co-ordinator for the MSc Health Informatics programme, having previously been the Programme Co-ordinator from 2000-2004 and from 2008-2012. On this programme I co-ordinate and teach the Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation module, as well as the Dissertation module itself. I teach one of the elective modules, Analysis of Health Information, which introduces students to the use of statistics in analysing health data. I also teach a couple of lectures on other modules, Introduction to Health Informatics and The Internet, Web and E-health.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Invited speaker at the 35th Wireless World Research Forum meeting in Copenhagen (October 2015). Title of talk: "eHealth and mHealth - future perspectives"
  • Keynote speaker at the 4th International Conference on “Well-being in the Information Society” (WIS 2012), Turku, Finland, August 2012. Title of the key-note speech: “The Information Society and an Ageing Society: how information can support health and well-being in later life”.
  • Keynote speaker at the Health and Information Mastering workshop in Turku, Finland, June 2007. Title of talk: ‘Health Information Management: ethical issues and health information’.
  • Invited speaker at the Healthcare Computing 2011 conference, the UK’s leading conference for IM&T managers in the National Health Service (April 2011). Title of talk: “The interface between information, health and healthcare delivery”.
  • Invited speaker on British Computer Society (The Chartered Institute for IT) video debate on Health Informatics.
  • Invited speaker at the Pan-European Consensus Meeting on Stroke Management at Helsingborg, Sweden, November 1995. Title of the talk: “The Use of Databases and Information Systems to support the care of stroke patients“.
  • Guest Editor of special issues of the Health Informatics Journal to publish the best papers from the ISHIMR conferences (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012).
  • Guest Editor of special issues of European Journal of Ageing (2005) and The Gerontologist (2003).
  • Associate Editor, Health Informatics Journal. (2008-present). Member of Editorial Board, Health Informatics Journal. (2006-present).
  • External Examiner for higher degrees by research at the following institutions: Napier University, UK (PhD, 2013); University of Malaya, Malaysia (PhD, 2013); Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand (PhD, 2012 and 2009); University of Nottingham, UK (PhD, 2012); University of Manchester, UK, (MPhil, 2011); Liverpool John Moores University, UK (PhD, 2011).
  • Conference Coordinator of the International Symposium for Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR) series of conferences. Since taking over the co-ordination of the conferences in 2005, I have been responsible for collaborating with overseas institutions to host the conference in Canada (2013) Switzerland (2011), Sweden (2009), New Zealand (2008), UK (2007), Canada (2006) and Greece (2005).
  • External Advisor on Personal Chair promotion panels: University of South Florida, Florida, USA; Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore; Zhejiang University, Zhejiang, China.
  • Advisor to the World Health Organisation (Regional Office for Europe) (1995).