We are a group of healthcare researchers within the School of Health and Social Care whose research aligns with the definition of Health Technology by the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (2021-2024) as being “an intervention (test, device, procedure, programme or system) developed to prevent, diagnose or treat medical conditions; promote health; provide rehabilitation; or organise healthcare delivery”.

Our work with technology aims to provide enhancement to existing service provision whether that be along the patient care pathway for various clinical populations and places, or to transform the teaching and learning experience by healthcare providers.

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Healthcare Technology use with Clinical Populations

Healthcare Technology Development

Healthcare Technology and Care Homes for Older People 

Healthcare Technology use with Clinical Populations

Exploring Healthcare Technologies to Deliver Upper Limb Rehabilitation Post Stroke

Project Lead: Prof Alison Porter-Armstrong

Problem: Approximately 50% of stroke survivors are left with significant, long-term problems with their upper limb. Shortened hospital admission periods entail that rehabilitation is delivered within the persons’ own home. However, rehabilitation delivery can be hampered by therapist access, environmental restrictions for equipment use and geographical location.

How we try to help: Our research is exploring ways in which therapists and service users can harness healthcare technologies as alternative methods of delivering and accessing rehabilitation within the home setting.

Impact: Ultimately finding ways to deliver and access rehabilitation interventions to stroke survivors at home will help support recovery of optimal independence and self-management.

Hearing Technology for Health and Wellbeing 

Project Lead: Dr Adele Goman

Problem: Hearing loss is a major public health issue (affecting at least 1.5 billion people globally) and is associated with poorer health and social outcomes in older adults. However, hearing technology remains vastly underutilised.

How we try to help: Our research focuses on addressing the barriers to hearing technology utilization, assessing the impact of hearing technology on health and wellbeing, and driving innovations to enhance user experience with hearing technology.

Impact: This body of work has the potential to improve uptake of hearing technology with possible sequelae benefits for health and wellbeing.

Evaluation Technology Applications in the Self-management of Respiratory Conditions

Project Lead: Dr Nicola Roberts

Problem: It is important that those living with chronic respiratory illnesses such as COPD or asthma can self-manage their condition. This process leads to better clinical health outcomes and quality of life.

How we try to help: There are many opportunities for technology-enhanced self-management, but these need to be tested to ensure that they match the users’ needs.

Impact: Our research is investigating whether technology such as electronic self-management plans, pulse oximetry devices or app-based rehabilitation programmes can be used effectively by those with respiratory conditions, including those with health literacy challenges, mental health issues and learning disabilities.

Technology Applications within the Home Setting for those with Dementia 

Project Lead: Dr Fiona Maclean

Problem: Technology has the potential to increase safety, support wellbeing and promote participation for people living with dementia. However, research has shown us that we do not know which technologies are most effective for people with dementia and that provision is hampered by the prescribing therapists’ knowledge and skills.

How we try to help: Our research is examining the process of assistive technology needs assessment for the effective delivery of services for people living with dementia in their own home.

Impact: This is an international, collaborative project involving University of Sydney Australia and Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. The outcomes of our research will transform technology provision for people living with dementia all over the world.

Healthcare Technology Development

Development of App Based Technology in Cardiac Electrophysiology

Project Lead: Prof Cathal Breen

Problem: The teaching and acquisition of clinical skills in the complex area of cardiac electrophysiology can be challenging for healthcare professionals.

How we try to help: We developed a smartphone app with WANDER labs called “Heartbeat” to help with ECG electrode placement. The enables rehearsal of a clinical skill through simulation and transforms the learning format to teach clinical skills as well as quality assure clinical skill acquisition.

Impact: This app will benefit healthcare learners in clinical and educational institutions across the world and will advocate for patient safety and best practice in clinical settings.

Development of App Based Technology to Safeguard Personal Health for Cancer Care Nurses

Project Lead: Dr Karen Campbell

Problem: Cancer nurses deliver care that requires them to handle cytotoxic drugs which could potentially affect their health.

How we try to help: The intention is to develop a health care app for the Cancer nursing workforce to include those specifically handling hazardous drugs when delivering care to cancer patients.

Impact: This app will not only allow cancer nurses to see their health in relation to their working environment including the tracking of any side effects from any potential exposure to cytotoxic drugs.

Development of App Based Technology to Support Medication Adherence

Project Lead: Dr Ruth Paterson

Problem: Adherence to medication is a key indicator of healthcare systems performance, and an essential behaviour for patients to benefit from appropriately prescribed medication. With population ageing and the increasing prevalence of people living longer with cardiovascular disease, the use of multiple medications (polypharmacy) has increased.

How we try to help: The Scottish Government are sponsoring the development of a real time adherence monitoring technology and a team at Edinburgh Napier University are leading a programme of research associated with this policy development.

Impact: The focus of the research is on the implementation of the technology in community practice and the design and development of a service user application to allow service users and clinicians to understand how well medicines are taken.

Development of Digital Simulation Technology for a Global Student Population

Project Lead: Dr Ruth Paterson

Problem: Virtual Reality (VR), a multi-media technology immerses the learner into a 360 world and simultaneously allows them to repeatedly manipulate objects, perform tasks and make decisions. As such, it may augment more traditional approaches to clinical simulation. 

How we try to help: A team at Edinburgh Napier University collaborated with VR experts (Artecise ® and the Scottish Centre for Enabling Technologies (SCET)) to create a VR sepsis game for pre and post qualifying nurses. The simulation was launched in April 2019 and converted to a desktop simulation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact: The team are expanding their suite of simulations and translating them to Portuguese and Spanish. We are seeking partnerships to test and implement internationally thereby facilitating a sustainable and global approach to simulation education.

Healthcare Technology and Care Homes for Older People 

Data and Digital Readiness of Care Homes in Scotland 

Project Lead: Lucy Johnston

Problem: Digital transformation of the care home sector has been prioritised as part of recent national strategies for health and social care in Scotland. Basic levels of data and digital readiness are required in all care homes before widescale digital transformation can be realised.

How we try to help: We mapped current data and digital readiness of care homes in South East Scotland in relation to digital connectivity, the systems used to collect and store resident data, and how information is shared with other care partners

Impact: The study provided insight into the care home sector’s challenges in embracing a digital future.

Developing a Data & Innovation Platform for Care Homes in Scotland

Project Lead: Lucy Johnston

Problem: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for reliable, real-time data on the care of older people.

How we try to help: We examined data collected in six care homes across Lothian, Scotland. We extracted the meta-data, cross-referenced definitions and assessed the degree of harmonisation between care homes and with data sets currently in use in Scotland and internationally. We interviewed care home managers about their views and experiences of collecting, using and sharing data.

Impact: The findings can inform preparations for improved data capture necessary for the National Care Service and action to enable research and innovation in and by Care Homes, which is a key aim of the Digital Health and Care Strategy and NHS National Services Scotland Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2021 - 2024.

Governance, Ethics, Access and Readiness of Care Home Data (GEARed Up)

Project lead: Lucy Johnston

Problem: The care home sector has huge potential to benefit from technological innovations, and to be at the forefront of developing novel technological solutions to improve the care and experience of care home residents, their families, and the staff caring for them. However, the successful adoption/implementation, rollout, evaluation and scalability is dependent upon accurate and high quality data on residents of care homes.

How we try to help: GEARED Up explored the current systems and infrastructures around data ethics and information governance that regulate the re-purposing of individual resident level data, with a key focus on exploring current processes required by researchers and commercial sector innovators.

Impact: The findings inform and enhance the prospect of the use of routinely collected care home data being used to support care decisions, improve services, support research and increase data driven innovation in care homes.

Virtual Reality in Care Homes

Project lead: Associate Professor Margaret Dunham

Problem: Older people’s healthcare needs, those with dementia and those living in a care home setting in particular, are on the periphery of current healthcare research or frequently excluded due to comorbidities and challenges of consent and access to this vulnerable population. Pain and wellbeing in particular are poorly assessed amongst the cognitively impaired or non-verbal.

How we try to help: Working with health service researchers across five UK universities and with a UK wide nursing home representative group we aim to develop VR technology for use in care homes using a coproduction methodology. VR technology will be homed to meet the needs of older people and or create a better environment.

Impact: Working towards a large, randomised control trial we hope to demonstrate the benefits in the short, medium and long term for older people in care settings with respect to pain experience general, well-being and cooperation.