Digital technology has been poised to transform the way that healthcare is delivered. Yet uptake and implementation has been slow; in the UK alone for example, almost a quarter of hospitals still use paper rather than electronic records.
But when COVID-19 hit, health systems were forced to rapidly adapt and use technology to deliver care remotely, where face to face appointments were no longer possible. While it’s impossible to predict when the COVID crisis will be over, will remote care become the ‘new normal’ post-pandemic? And if digital-first health technologies are here to stay, what are the implications for patients?
Newly launched IGHI research, supported by Imperial’s COVID-19 Response Fund, will explore these important questions.
Read Remote care: is digital health tech here to stay post-COVID-19? in full
Grappling with a novel virus that reared its ugly head barely six months ago, the world is facing many uncertainties. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is proving unpredictable and the pandemic is fast-moving. But one thing we do know is that older people bear the brunt of the impacts of COVID-19. The elderly are disproportionately affected, with those over 65 accounting for some 80% of hospitalisations due to the disease. And one in five over-80s with COVID-19 will need to go to hospital, compared with one in 100 individuals under 30.
Read Older people are no more COVID cautious in full
By Dr Benny Lo, Senior Lecturer, MRes Medical Robotics and Image-Guide Intervention,
Hamlyn Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation
I started my research on wearable sensors when I was appointed as a researcher in a UK Trade & Investment (now Innovate UK) funded project, while I was working on my PhD on a completely different topic.
When I first started working on sensor research, the concept of wireless sensor networks had just been introduced. I was one of the first few researchers who started the development of body-worn sensors for healthcare and wellbeing applications. Being one of the pioneers in this emerging field, I have developed a number of novel sensing platforms, and some have been widely used in the research community.
Read What’s it like to… work with wearable sensors? in full
Excess sugar consumption has been a critical public health matter for some years.
Too much sugar in our diet can contribute to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Large amounts of sugar are often found in soft drinks such as fizzy drinks and fruit juices, as well as many of the foods we commonly eat, from cereals to sauces. For instance, just one can of cola can contain nearly nine teaspoons of sugar when our recommended sugar intake shouldn’t exceed 5-6 teaspoons per day.
Read Breaking habits: swapping sugary drinks for healthier alternatives in full
“Please indicate whether your research will include patient and public involvement.” Ticks box.
Rapidly fading are the days when involving patients and the public in research is merely a tokenistic gesture, in favour of meaningful involvement and co-production.
Patient and public involvement (PPI) is research that’s carried out with and by patients, carers and public members, rather than to, for or about them. Co-production takes this one step further; here, researchers work with these individuals throughout the entire project – from start to finish.
Read Reflecting on our co-produced study with young people with past mental health difficulties in full
By Laura Braun, co-founder of Capta, 2018/19 winners of IGHI’s Student Challenges Competition
Parasitic worms affect more than one sixth of the world’s population (WHO). They target the most marginalised communities that lack safe water, sanitation, and health care. These worms, including hookworm and the flatworms that cause schistosomiasis, are contracted through contaminated water, soil or food.
Read How IGHI’s Student Challenges Competition helped us in the fight against parasitic worms in full
By Saira Ghafur, Guy Martin, Niki O’Brien, Ivor Williams, Kelsey Flott and Ara Darzi, Institute of Global Health Innovation
As the global healthcare community has been consumed with managing the COVID-19 pandemic, a wave of cyber-attacks against healthcare organisations has emerged. Cybercriminals and hackers are upping the ante in creating more havoc and exploiting the fear and confusion that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it. The threat is global: Interpol even issued a warning signalling the need for healthcare organisations to be vigilant and aware of the heightened risk of cyber-attacks.
Read Healthcare cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a threat too important to forget in full
Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the NHS, with growing levels of obesity contributing to a large increase in the numbers of people with the condition. The disease can lead to serious long-term health problems – including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and sight loss – which have an enormous impact on the lives of patients and their families. And it is these complications that account for most of the healthcare activity and cost associated with T2D.
Read Tackling Type 2 Diabetes in North West London in full
In the midst of a global pandemic, our people are continuing their endeavour to improve health and care. In this new series, we’re speaking to our IGHI community to find out how they’re adapting to working life amid coronavirus, and the unique opportunities and challenges this has presented them.
Read The show must go on – part 5 in full
IGHI is home to a team of staff who are skilled and passionate about their roles. Our talented people are the reason we’re able to tackle some of the most pressing global health challenges through cutting-edge innovation.
Read IGHI people: Meet Joanne Sarao, Finance and Contracts Manager, Centre for Health Policy in full