press release
Published: 14 December 2018

Trailblazing study that uses artificial intelligence to support people with dementia scoops prestigious healthcare award

A pioneering technology study that has shown it can improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers has won a highly coveted HSJ Award.

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The TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia study, led by the University of Surrey and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust enables clinicians to remotely monitor the health of people with dementia living at home. It scooped the ‘Improving Care with Technology’ award in what is the world’s largest healthcare awards programme, the HSJ awards.

TIHM is based on a network of internet enabled devices, such as sensors, monitors and trackers that are installed in the homes of people with dementia. The TIHM system is designed and developed at the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal, Processing (CVSSP) at the University of Surrey.

Data streamed from these devices is analysed using data analytics and machine learning and any health problems identified are flagged on a digital dashboard and followed up by a Clinical Monitoring Team. The aim is to help people with dementia to stay well in their homes, reduce unplanned hospital admissions and reduce pressure on carers. TIHM is being evaluated by a team of researchers led by Professor Emma Ream from the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey.

The HSJ judges said TIHM had triumphed over other finalists because it had “evidenced great use of machine learning to solve very real problems” and that ‘the presentation had demonstrated fantastic improvements in patients with specific needs and the panel felt this entry was a truly deserving winner.”

Professor Payam Barnaghi, Professor of Machine Intelligence from CVSSP at the University of Surrey, said:  “This fantastic win recognises the great strides made in developing Internet of Things and machine learning systems that offer innovative and practical support in the community for people with dementia.”

Dr Shirin Enshaeifar, Research Fellow at the CVSSP at the University of Surrey, said: “I am delighted that the TIHM project has been awarded this prestigious prize. With our ageing population on the rise, there is an increased need for innovative projects to ensure that all their care needs are met. Our technology helps to do this and I am pleased it has been recognised in this way.”

Building on the success of this honour, this week the TIHM project was successful in winning a 2018 Innovate Guildford Award in the category ‘Most Outstanding Innovation.’ This prize is awarded to an individual, company, project or technology that in the judge's opinion most successfully demonstrate creativity and modernisation.

Professor Emma Ream, Professor of Health Sciences Research at the University of Surrey, said: “It is fantastic that awards like these recognise innovative projects like ours, which are making a real difference to people’s lives.

“People with dementia are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society and are more susceptible to developing conditions such as UTIs which are treatable but tend to escalate if they are missed. TIHM will help overcome this and provide health professionals with the necessary information to treat patients early.”

Professor Adrian Hilton, Director of the CVSSP, commented: “Congratulations to Professor Payam Barnaghi and the TIHM for Dementia team. This award recognises the important social benefit of AI and machine learning research done in CVSSP. Our work makes it possible to personalise healthcare to directly support individual wellbeing." 

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