SPHERE: Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment
How the ILO helped
SPHERE, SPHERE Next Steps and its emergent linked research projects are supported at the University by a dedicated Project Manager, Project Officer (Deployment), Project Administrator/PA to the Director of SPHERE and Institutional Lead for Digital Health, and three Technicians. The team of professional services and technical staff are essential in enabling its significant growth by optimising strategic allocation of resources, scoping out linked research using the SPHERE Sensor Platform, negotiating contracts with supplier and partners, assuring the deployment pipeline, supply chain and stock control, and maintaining robust processes and workflows to assure and enhance SPHERE’s offer. The ILO has been and remains intrinsic in growing and sharing expertise; creating synergies across different types of project to enable project staff to draw on experiences hitherto outside their field of expertise, and driving growth.
The UK spends a large and ever-increasing percentage of its health and social care budget on long term health conditions including diabetes, dementia, depression, COPD, arthritis and asthma. Whether seeking to understand the mechanisms, trying to avoid onset, creating new therapies, or supporting self-care of these conditions, we need non-intrusive technologies able to capture data on causes, symptoms and exacerbations over long periods of time, in large populations and outside the clinical environment. This was the motivation for the creation of a Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment (SPHERE). With continual input from some 20 clinicians and clinical scientists with expertise that ranged from Cardiovascular Disease to Health Psychology and from more than 220 members of the public that have attended SPHERE design workshops, SPHERE has developed and deployed a first generation sensor system that can cheaply and objectively characterise the health-related behaviours of a household over periods of months or even years.
The success and appeal of the SPHERE Sensor Platform has led to its being deployed in patients recovering from knee and hip surgery, has been used to develop Citizen Science, and is soon to be deployed in a cohort of Parkinson's patients and a cohort of Dementia patients. It has attracted much attention from industry, pharma companies and researchers in medical sciences. Digital Health has become an institutional priority as a result, and experience unprecedented growth.