Clinical application of digital technology

In this theme, researchers are investigating and evaluating the use of technological applications to facilitate access to and augment delivery of healthcare.

Research projects

Dementia sleep study

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk and researchers at the Surrey Sleep Research Centre are developing and evaluating technology to improve sleep and circadian disruption in people with dementia.

Funded by the Dementia Research Institute UK, this research brings together sleep and circadian physiologists, mathematicians, and specialists in machine learning and signal analysis. The key aims are to:

  • Develop multimodal contactless approaches to quantify sleep and sleep disorders in people with dementia
  • Fuse light and activity data with mathematical models for circadian rhythmicity to design new interventions for circadian disturbances in people with dementia.

BEAT Diabetes study

The BEAT diabetes programme is a collaboration between the NHS, the University of Surrey and industrial partners SilverCloud, Second Nature and Commit to Change. The programme uses online platforms and health coaches, accessed through primary care, to support people living with type 2 diabetes to make the positive lifestyle changes they want to make. They are supported to make changes such as becoming more physically active, eating more healthily and improving their wellbeing, helping to reduce their risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

eSMART study

Chemotherapy can carry significant risk to health as patients can become unwell very quickly. In the eSMART study, a mobile phone-based remote monitoring system, the Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS), was used to monitor symptoms of people with cancer in real time in their homes and report any concerns to their hospital team. The aim was to detect symptoms early and ensure rapid access to care when required.

The study was undertaken with over 800 people with breast, colorectal, and haematological cancers having chemotherapy across 12 hospitals in Greece, UK, Ireland, Austria and Norway, and aimed to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of ASyMS. Early results suggest that the system is highly effective in reducing chemotherapy symptoms. The technology demonstrated that cancer care services can be improved by promoting a move from reactive to anticipatory models of care which can prevent costly hospitalisations. It also demonstrated the wider potential of digital health to bring clinical and cost benefits, which will be multiplied when solutions are deployed at scale.