Digital Health Events

Digital Health celebrates 10 years of SPHERE

An event to celebrate a decade of contributions from academics, professional services and technical staff across the University, but also acknowledging the pivotal contributions of members of the public who shaped the SPHERE project took place the evening of 12th October 2022.

Challenges and Opportunities for Digital Health and Care seminar series

These seminars are open to all. For any queries please contact

The seminar series has ended for this academic year and will recommence in Autumn 2021. 

Past seminars

Friday 14th May 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Alina Huldtgren, Centre for Digitalization & Digitality, University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf 

Title: Creating tangible UIs for People with Dementia: Empowerment, Reminiscence & Make-Believe

Abstract: This talk presents research and development of tangible user interfaces for people with dementia in the context of ‚Nutzerwelten‘ (user worlds) – an interdisciplinary research profile at University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf on socio-technical systems for people with dementia. The government-funded project ran for 4 years and focused on user-centered and participatory approaches to create innovative solutions for psycho-social dementia care. We worked closely with caregivers, social workers, volunteers, relatives and people with dementia to ideate and develop a number of tangible prototypes, which we call reminiscence objects. These were deployed in different real-life settings, from one-to-one reminiscence sessions with caregivers in a care home to volunteer-led group sessions for people with dementia living in their own homes. One object entered the commercial care market last year. The talk will present design considerations from the research and trigger discussion on values supported or hindered through design. 

Bio: Alina Huldtgren, Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction, is currently working as professor for Digital Health and Intelligent User Interfaces at University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. At the Faculty of Media and the newly founded Centre for Digitalization and Digitality she heads the Co-Designing Technology for Healthcare Group ( Her research revolves around questions of user participation in design processes, new digital technologies and values in design. Applied projects are carried out in cooperation with industry and (health-)care partners. Alina has worked in international contexts such as Mobile Life Centre, Stockholm, Value Sensitive Design Lab, UW, and received her Ph.D. at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.   

Friday 7th May 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Dr. Min Hane Aung, Smart Emerging Technologies Group, University of East Anglia

Title: Does my smartphone know I’m sad? Assessing mental well-being through mobile sensing

Abstract: Behaviour is one of the key indicators in used in mental health assessment and even diagnoses. That being said, the mainstay tools in psychology and psychiatry to monitor human behavioural information are still based on ‘pen and paper’ retrospective question and answer approaches. The obvious shortcomings of such methods are subjectivity, lack of clear or intermittent memory recall and sometimes language barriers or misinterpretations. It is clear that a more objective, continuous and ecologically valid method is needed. Further to the acquisition of data, interpretation processes are also needed to deliver system outputs that are meaningful and practical to users, clinical practitioners and caregivers.

In this talk, I will discuss work done in the area of exploiting smartphones as a multi-sensor device that is continuously carried in a naturalistic way. These studies showed insights into how sensed information such as geolocation, sleep inference, social interaction, physical activity, phone interaction and ambient signals over time could be related to various states of mental well being and serious mental illness. They also revealed limitations with these techniques leading to open questions on future directions which I hope to explore in this seminar.

Friday 23rd April 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Professor Ann Blandford, UCL Interaction Centre

Title: Challenges and Opportunities in Digital Health and Care: working with aliens

Abstract: It can be mind-bogglingly hard to work with people from different disciplines (aka aliens). In this talk, I will reflect on experiences of Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers and Health (or Biomedical) researchers working together on the design and deployment of interactive digital health interventions. This requires multi-disciplinary expertise in identifying user needs and developing and evaluating each intervention. While the two disciplines share some research methods and values, they have entrenched differences that can catch people unawares, make interdisciplinary collaborations challenging, and result in sub-optimal project outcomes. The most widely discussed is the contrast between formative evaluation (emphasized in HCI) and summative evaluation (emphasized in Health research). However, the differences extend well beyond this, from the nature of accepted evidence to the culture of reporting. I will discuss lessons that we have learned about the contrasting cultures, values, assumptions and practices of Health and HCI. I’ll also introduce lessons learned in working with engineers who start with a novel technology aiming to deploy it in clinical practice. I will relate these varying perspectives to ongoing projects: developing a digital intervention for managing long Covid and introducing novel AI algorithms to support various clinical procedures. By learning from each other, we can improve both the insight and the rigour of research.

To register for this seminar please contact


Friday 26th March 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Age Chapman, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton

Title: Designing Data Science analytics for all stakeholders – a look into shortcomings, tools and research in building data science analysis for health

Abstract: Data science provides powerful tools and methods for understanding complex domain-specific problems through analysis and use of large quantities of data and many diverse computational methods. As data science tools and techniques become more pervasive and easily applied, it is important to understand how the choices and development of the data science pipeline impacts different stakeholder groups. This is especially true in the health domain. This talk looks at research in how to improve data usage and build better data science tools within the health domain, as well as identifying future areas of research.

Bio: Prof Adriane Chapman is an internationally recognised expert in the field of data provenance. She won ACM SIGMOD's 2016 Test of Time Award for her work on provenance (Buneman et al. 2006), and has peer-reviewed publications spanning provenance, data integration, and trust (Allen et al. 2011). She has designed software systems for agencies across the US government. Relevant to this proposal is her work with the US Food and Drug Administration on searching for related data across independently operated and governed systems. She has an established track record translating her scientific work into governmental pilots, and has written reports and run pilots for provenance within several US government agencies (including NRO, NGA, ONR, and Army) and with the UK's National Physical Laboratory. She received a Program Recognition Award for her work on incorporating provenance into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Human-Geography Pilot. She is currently the Director of the ECS Centre for Health Technologies where her role is to identify and facilitate interactions between clinicians and health practitioners with health-domain problems, and electronics and computer science researchers who can design suitable technologies.

Friday 19th March 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Matthew Guy, University Hospital Southampton

Title: People Drive Digital

Abstract: Matt has spent most of his NHS career working as a Clinical Scientist and latterly retrained as a Healthcare Service Designer.  In a career that has covered looking after both clinical and scientific teams, he currently leads a group of clinical and computing scientists, whose clinical and scientific work has become ever more embedded in digital healthcare systems.  In this talk, Matt will use several example journeys – taken from both his professional roles and from his personal, patient advocacy activity – to demonstrate that digital health is primarily a people business. He will aim to show how digital can positively impact patient care when used at specific pathway points, providing access to information beyond traditional speciality and modality boundaries enabling more confident care decisions to be made. He will also aim to show the importance of identifying which problems to solve with digital and that experimentation and prototyping are feasible even within a highly regulated healthcare environment.

Friday 12th March 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Amy Hurst, Department of Occupational Therapy/Department of Technology, Culture and Society, New York University

Title: Accessibility, Making Assistive Technology, and the NYU Ability Project 

Abstract: Assistive Technologies empower individuals to accomplish tasks they might not be able to do otherwise. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Assistive Technologies end up unused or abandoned, leaving people with solutions that are inappropriate for their needs. My students and I are working to help more people gain access to the Assistive Technology they need by empowering non-engineers to “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) and create, modify, or build their own solutions. In this talk I will discuss our work understanding the potential and reality of applying Human-Centered Design techniques to address the gaps end users, clinicians, and engineers encounter solving accessibility problems and developing Assistive Technologies. This talk will present an overview of my past work and current efforts happening at the NYU Ability Project, an interdisciplinary space dedicated to the intersection of disability and technology.

Bio: Dr. Amy Hurst is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and the Department of Technology, Culture and Society in the Tandon School of Engineering. She is the director of the Ability Project, an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection between disability and technology.  Dr. Hurst received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon and a B.S. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

To register for this seminar please contact


Friday 26th February 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Prof. Michael Carter, Centre for Healthcare Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada

Title: Some Applications of Modelling Using Operations Research and the Sad State of Data in Healthcare

Abstract: Prof. Carter has been focused on modelling in healthcare for over 30 years. He has supervised 105 graduate research students working on practical applications in the healthcare industry. The models that he and his team produce require copious amounts of data. Whenever he goes to a hospital or and agency and asks for data, the answer invariably is “We have tons of data!” Unfortunately, they frequently do not have what he needs. The situation is probably better in the UK, but it may still be instructive to review a few practical examples and analyze the data chasms. 


Friday 12th February 2021, 2-3pm

Speaker: Kirsi Kinnunen, Senior Biomarker Scientist, Ixico

Title: Digital biomarkers for clinical trials in neurodegenerative diseases

Abstract: This talk will first introduce IXICO, a company delivering digital biomarker analytical services to support the development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neurological diseases/disorders. It will then focus on the application of digital technology (brain imaging and sensors) to obtain measurements that can be used in clinical trials to detect abnormalities and monitor changes in the brain and in motor and other symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy.


Friday 5th February 2021, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Ian Denley, Joint Chief Executive, System C

Title: Making digital innovation work for the NHS

Abstract: Dr Ian Denley has led a number of public and private companies in the health and social care sectors as CEO or chairman, and is currently the joint CEO of System C Healthcare. System C has over 300,000 users of its health and social care software throughout the UK. This presentation will provide three case histories which exemplify how System C has created both business and clinical value through digital innovation, and identify some of the key characteristics involved in creating those innovations in the context of the NHS. The case studies cover clinical communication solutions, vital signs monitoring and a recent data-driven response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Friday 18th December 2020, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Nikki Newhouse, Primary Care Health Sciences Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford

Title: Tech-for-health: why so much of it is rubbish and what we can do to make it better

Abstract: Dr Nikki Newhouse is a Postdoctoral Researcher and tutor with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. She has a PhD from UCL in Computer Science, specifically human-computer interaction and the development and evaluation of complex digital interventions to support physical and psychological wellbeing across the lifespan. In this talk, Nikki will use a series of case studies to reflect on her experiences of developing and evaluating tech-for-health: What happens when the numbers lie? Is most health technology actually rubbish? What about the user? Is good tech actually just quite dull? What is the role of health technology in supporting people’s health in a post-pandemic world?

Friday 4th December 2020, 2-3pm, Online


Speaker:  Prof. Partha Kar, National Speciality Advisor, Diabetes, NHS England


Title: Diabetes: The Digital era: Hype or Reality?


Abstract: Professor Partha Kar is National Specialty Advisor, Diabetes with NHS England and co-lead of Diabetes GIRFT with NHS Improvement. He will be discussing his experience with the delivery of:


  • Freestyle Libre being available on NHS - across country
  • Type 1 diabetes NHS England web-resource – on NHS choices
  • Availability of CGM to all T1D pregnant patients
  • Diabetes Technology pathway development with multiple stakeholders
  • Introduction of Low Carbohydrate App into NHS Apps Library


Other work has involved input in updating of driving guidelines in relation to use of technology in those living with diabetes and helping to develop a virtual reality programme to improve hospital safety. He will be discussing this in relation to the diabetes digital era: hype or reality?

Friday 27th November 2020, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Philip Hamann, Consultant Rheumatologist North Bristol NHS Trust; NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Rheumatology at University of Bristol; Alan Turing Institute Fellow

Title: Remote patient monitoring: From concept to clinic

Abstract: Dr Hamann is a Consultant Rheumatologist currently working at North Bristol NHS Trust. His expertise lies in developing remote monitoring software for patients with long term conditions. He completed his PhD in musculoskeletal epidemiology in 2017. This work involved using the national rheumatoid arthritis UK registry (BSRBR-RA) to identify the frequency and predictors of sustained remission.

In 2015 Dr Hamann pitched his idea for a patient smartphone app to remotely report disease activity. The concept won the University of Bath Apps Crunch competition and Dr Hamann began working with a Bath tech startup to develop the app. Five years from concept, the app is in clinical use in the NHS and is the focus of an Innovate U.K. clinical trial.

This talk will describe the path from concept to clinical product; discuss the use of remotely collected data to make treatment decisions; consider the limitations of remote monitoring, and explore future avenues for development.

Friday 20th November 2020, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Sue Adams, OBE, CEO of Care & Repair England 

Title: Digital Health & Care at Home – Firm foundations, or wishful thinking? 

Abstract: The majority of those requiring health and care services are older people, often living with disabilities and multiple long-term conditions. Most of those designing digital systems are young, fit and able-bodied, often with limited knowledge of the ageing process, or indeed the diversity of this wide demographic group. Based on over 30 years of experience of modifying homes for independent, healthy ageing across England, this talk will explore the gap between rhetoric and reality when it comes to ageing well at home through digital systems, expose some of the myths about ‘older people’, and explore opportunities for improved integration across housing, health and care. 

 Friday 23rd October 2020, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Kianoush Nazarpour, Reader in Biomedical Artifical Intelligence, University of Edinburgh

Title: The ups and downs of machine learning for prosthetic control 

Abstract: With the increasing popularity of AI, machine learning is considered the most likely candidate to enable the control of next-generation multi-articulated prosthetic hands. After describing how prosthetic hands work, I will ask why it has been challenging to translate machine learning-based prosthetic control beyond the laboratory. I will offer a parallel human-learning prosthetic-control paradigm that offers much more flexibility than existing machine learning algorithms. With supporting early results, I discuss why the development of human-in-loop machine learning for prosthetic control is possible and timely.

Friday 9th October 2020, 2-3pm, Online

Speaker: Andy Payne, Partner – Digital Transformation Consulting, NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit

Title: Unlocking the value of patient person generated data in health

Abstract: For over 15 years evidence of the benefits of patient engagement and activation digitally has been building, but it’s more often than not been seen as a “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-do”. Like many things, COVID-19 has changed all that – and the ability to engage patients digitally has now become a major need. In parallel, consumer facing digital health tools and wearables have now gone mainstream. This session discusses the many benefits of not just providing people with information online, but more importantly - how does the person become a trusted source of digital data to support health and care professionals? How will the health and care system deal with this with this new source of data?

Friday 21st February 2020, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Mike Trenell, Director, UK National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory

Title: Delivering digital health programmes at scale; hope, hype or headache?

Abstract: For the past 10 years my office has had "transform diabetes" written on my whiteboard. A journey that has taken me from genetics, to biochemistry, to software, to design, to artificial intelligence, to salesman, to pseudo politician (not a real one!). My talk will cover this journey, discussing some of the tactics and strategies I have used alongside some of the pitfalls that I have fallen into. If the headline read "Delivered the world’s largest digital behaviour change programme" it would undersell how hard it is to get there. Interestingly, although I specialise in digital health, what I have found myself specialising in is people and behaviour. Is Digital Health - Hope, Hype or a Headache? It holds the potential to be all three and it's important to remember that. 

Monday 3rd February 2020, 12-1pm, G.03 1 Cathedral Square

Speaker: Jocelyn Palmer, NHS

Title: Connecting Care

Abstract: 'Connecting Care’ is an ambitious health & social care programme and partnership across Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire.  The programme has introduced new technology solutions to share information between health and social care - so that care can be better and safer. Jocelyn is the programme lead for ‘Connecting Care’, and in this talk, she will describe the ‘Connecting Care’ story and highlight some of the key projects, reflections and learning – sharing some of the experiences of delivery. 'Connecting Care’ is a real-life example of the transformational opportunities that technology offers health and care - and some of the struggles over how to make change and benefits happen.

Friday 31st January 2020, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Craig Wightman, Kinneir Dufort

Title: Designing Better Healthcare

Abstract: Kinneir Dufort are a 75-strong user-centred innovation, design and product development consultancy based in central Bristol.  KD work with a wide range of UK and international clients, over half of whom are in the medical sector, ranging from the largest companies to start-ups and university teams.  Our experience includes drug delivery devices, diagnostics, therapeutic devices, surgical instruments, hospital tools and systems and consumer healthcare.  In this talk, Chief Design Officer, Craig Wightman will outline several of the key trends and factors influencing design and healthcare today, and showcasing how these have manifested themselves via relevant case studies.

Friday 13th December 2019, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Chris Bourdeaux, NHS

Title: Developing computerised decision support in the intensive care unit at University Hospitals Bristol

Outline: The intensive care unit manages the most complex and sickest patients in the hospital. ICUs are under intense pressure for resource and patient acuity is rising year on year. Clinicians in the ICU must make timely, accurate decisions to plan care often with imperfect information and under conditions of uncertainty. During a routine ward round on 12 patients we must review an average of 200 data points and make 130 decisions per patient to ensure that care is evidenced-based. Despite impressive advances in knowledge over the past 30 years, the delivery of simple, evidence-based practice remains variable. At UHB we have digitised our ICU with the aim of improving our practice by utilising the vast amount of data we collect through routine care. We have focused on clinical decision making and evaluated several “nudges” deployed within our digital system. In this talk I will present our work so far ranging from simple data visualisation techniques to more complex machine learning algorithms. I also hope to highlight the importance of collaboration between data scientists, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists and clinicians in order to drive this field forward for the benefit of our patients.

Friday 6th December 2019, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Kenton O’Hara, Microsoft

Title: Understanding Clinical Context for Machine Learning-Based Hypotension Prediction in Perioperative Care

Outline: Patients undergoing surgery experience enormous physiological changes during the procedure and in the various stages of post-operative recovery.  As a consequence they are at increased risk of a variety of adverse events throughout their perioperative journey that have immediate and downstream consequences for the patient.  There is enormous potential and excitement of using machine learning to provide early warning about these impending events with a view to enabling a more proactive organisation of care team interventions.  In our efforts to realise this potential of a clinically actionable ML, we are endeavouring to adopt a practice-based approach.  This approach seeks to understand the activity system of perioperative care, the social and collaborative practices comprising it and the challenges currently experienced. Using this understanding in dialogue with ML, the approach aims to identify areas in the system where ML insights and associated user experiences could be used to reconfigure the organisation of care in ways that is of value to patient, care team and hospital.  In this talk, we will report on our early efforts with this approach with a particular focus on the management of hypotension, a sustained period of low blood pressure, during the perioperative journey.  We will discuss early findings and challenges arising from our recent fieldwork exploring perioperative hypotension management in two US hospitals.

Friday 29th November 2019, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Charlotte Mindel, XenZone

Title: XenZone: Using Digital to Understand Pathways to Mental Health Support

Outline: It's estimated that it takes an average of 17 years to go from generating 'evidence' to implementation in clinical practice for mental health. This seminar will explore how an organisation with 15 years experience delivering mental health solutions online are starting to utilise their depth of knowledge and breadth of data to inform clinical practice and understand what is important to the end user. Research in industry can be creative and fluid, leading to outcomes in 17 months rather than 17 years. Charlotte will share some insight into how this is being done in XenZone today.

Friday 15th November 2019, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Andy Kinnear, NHS

Title:  Connecting Care – The greater Bristol shared care record programme

Outline: Of the 5 major digital challenges facing health and care (infrastructure, digitisation, interoperability, personal empowerment and futurology) the one that will deliver most benefit today is interoperability ie. The power to share clinical and care records in a way that allows care professionals to have all the information  they need in front of them as they treat their patients. By connecting the silos of information we create a single shared records between clinicians and care professionals to the benefit of all. The Connecting Care programme in Bristol is internationally recognised as a leading example of this work picking up numerous awards. The 10 year story has gone from humble beginnings to being a defining factor in national interoperability strategy in England. 

Friday 8th November 2019, 2-3pm, 3.19 Senate House

Speaker: Louis Tsui, Micrima Ltd.

Title:  The MARIA® Breast Imaging System, a success story of University of Bristol Spin-off

Outline: Micrima was spun out of the University of Bristol with the purpose of exploiting the commercial potential of using radio-wave radar for breast cancer imaging technology. In this talk I will give a brief overview and background of our product, the MARIA® breast imaging system. This System received European regulatory approval (CE Marking) in 2014 and validation of its clinical functionality in use with over 600 patients. I will also cover how it is addressing the clinical need that has not been fulfilled by existing imaging modalities. Having previously worked for both NHS and University of Bristol as a research associate, I find myself enjoy the challenges that are associated with a small medical device development company. I would like to give some insight on what these challenges are, and my personal experience on how to balance research activities and product development.

Wednesday 30th October 2019, 3-4pm, 2.17 35 Berkeley Square

Speaker: Jenny Barnett, Cambridge Cognition

Title: Digital tools to tackle the dementia crisis - lessons learnt and ways forward

Outline:  As a result of the ageing population, we often hear that we are on the cusp of a dementia tsunami. With no new drug treatments on the horizon, digital technologies may have a crucial role to play in detecting, preventing or treating dementia. Despite many years of government effort, most people with dementia still get diagnosed late and do not therefore receive the best possible treatment and support. I’ll describe the development, opportunities and challenges of a medical device developed by Cambridge Cognition to tackle this, and discuss the challenges of adoption of this kind of technology in the NHS. I’ll also discuss the role that consumer applications may play in tackling dementia at an individual and population level.


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