Leading new technology drive to modernise care for patients with long-term health conditions

The Sheffield City Region has today (22 January 2016) been announced as one of seven national Test Bed innovation centres to take part in a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care.

patient and doctorTest Beds are new collaborations between the NHS and innovators including the University of Sheffield which aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service.

Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’, as the Sheffield City Region Test Bed will be known, aims to bring substantial benefits for patients suffering from long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, mental health problems, respiratory disease, hypertension and other chronic conditions.

New technology coupled with new ways of delivering care will be used to keep patients with these conditions well at home, often avoiding the need for hospital admission or further support.

A range of home-based monitoring devices and smart phone apps will mean patients can be supported to understand their condition and how they can manage it at home.

The Test Bed, a flagship for the Sheffield City Region's Care 2050 initiative, demonstrates our ability to deliver the technologies and systems necessary for affordable and sustainable future healthcare.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor

Data received from these devices will then be collated and interpreted in an integrated intelligence centre to assess individual patient wellbeing and anticipate changing demands and patterns of care requirements in long-term conditions both at patient and at a regional level, enabling a timely and effective response.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’ Test Bed involves more than 30 partners including the University of Sheffield, the region’s NHS, Social Care, Industry and Voluntary organisations.

By using new technology, the intention is to keep patients with these conditions well, independent and avoiding crisis points which often result in hospital admission, intensive rehabilitation and a high level of social care support.

It will include monitoring falls risk, tracking locations for people with dementia as well as sensors in the home, for example, on televisions, kettles and fridges to monitor mobility, nutrition and general wellbeing.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield said: "The University's role as a lead evaluator of the technology and system change is critical not only to ensure the Test Bed improves health in our region, but also provides good economic value.

“A flagship for the Sheffield City Region's Care 2050 initiative, it demonstrates our ability to deliver the technologies and systems necessary for affordable and sustainable future healthcare."

The Test Bed innovation centre is just one initiative in the pioneering Care 2050 collaboration led by the University of Sheffield. Care 2050 is a Sheffield City Region-wide initiative which is developing a visionary pipeline for providing and producing innovative solutions in health, wellness and social care.

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Perfect Patient Pathway Test Bed is a fantastic way of bringing together the region’s health and social care providers with a number of technology and research organisations. By utilising this expertise we will be able to share data and plan, in partnership with patients, the best way to deliver care to people with long-term conditions based on their needs using the latest technology to support this.”

Initially the Perfect Patient Pathway will focus on people with three or more long-term conditions, the vision of the programme is to create a model that will support holistic care for people, irrespective of age or condition, and that will be available across the country.

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, said: “As one of the main social care providers in the area, we are always looking at how we can improve the care and support that is delivered to people. A major part of this will be adopting new technologies and this test bed will allow us to work together with industry experts to provide individualised care and help keep people well in their own homes.”

Colin Lewry, Partner at GE Healthcare Finnamore said: “We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise to work with health and social care providers across the region to revolutionise the way care is delivered to people in their own homes and in the community through the use of new technology.”

Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive described the Test Beds as a key strand of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which will help realise the ambition of reforming the NHS so that it is fit to face the challenges of the 21st Century - particularly an ageing population and an increase in patients with long-term health conditions – while remaining financially sustainable.

Additional information

The Perfect Patient Pathway test bed will:

  • Create an ‘ecosystem’ for innovations in technology to be tested before being embedded as routine care on a wide scale with patients across the Sheffield City Region. The approach will ensure technology is at all times embedded in transformed care services.
  • Use technological innovations to promote and support whole-person care. The programme will combine technologies to provide a personalised package of support for each patient, which addresses their needs in the round.
  • Shift self-care from the margins to the mainstream. Through rolling out home-based monitoring devices and smartphone apps at scale, patients will be supported to understand their condition and how best to manage it at home. For the more vulnerable, discrete remote monitoring systems will support independent living – giving peace of mind to patients, families and professionals. This includes everything from monitoring falls risk through gait assessment, tracking location for people with dementia, and sensors on televisions (monitoring for sensory problems), kettles and fridges (mobility, nutrition) and even curtains (mobility, air quality).
  • Provide equally for people’s physical and mental health needs. The Test Bed partners will provide technology with a particular focus on care and self-care for people with mental health problems (including dementia), as well as using technology to support the mental well-being of patients with long-term conditions.
  • Use data to drive real change and improve effectiveness. A ground-breaking Intelligence Centre will collate and analyse data and trends to enable health and social care organisations to anticipate changing demand and patterns in long-term conditions at both individual patient level and across the region’s population.
  • Challenge health and care providers to think and work differently. Empowered self-care will fundamentally change the dynamics and power relationships between patients and health and care professionals, enabling joint decision making.

Who is involved?

  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University of Sheffield
  • NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Sheffield Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Healthwatch Sheffield
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Working Together Vanguard
  • Commissioners Working Together
  •  Primary Care Sheffield
  • Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
  • Sheffield Hallam University (SHU)
  • Academic Health Science Network – Yorkshire and Humber
  • NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber
  • General Electric, IBM and Apple
  • Kinesis Health Technologies
  • St Bernard Location Service and TSSM
  • Insulcheck
  • WellKom International
  • Medtronic
  • Humetrix
  • Aseptike Ltd
  • Oviva
  • TEVA
  • Tinder Foundation
  • Big White Wall

Affiliated partner organisations include:

  • Centre for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology
  • National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Medilink
  • Medipex
  • NIHR Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Cooperative
  • NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Cooperative
  • Sheffield Cubed
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association
  • The Northern Health Science Alliance
  • Voluntary Action Sheffield
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859