Health and social care

Providing a more connected health and care experience enables care givers to better understand the citizens’ needs and provide a better quality and more efficient service. Digital innovation provides many opportunities within the health and social care sector to empower citizens to take control of their care and increase their knowledge.

Open innovation challenges in health and social care

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust

As part of the Innovate UK funded data innovation contest we worked with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust on a challenge related to data visualisation and analytical decision making. Due to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) assuming responsibility for the majority of the NHS budget in 2013, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust wanted to test new models of integrated care, collaboration and rapid procurement of tailored services around the needs of people in a community setting. We helped them to therefore set a challenge to find visualisation tools to aide commissioners of health services to navigate this landscape and make strategic decisions to deliver a sustainable integrated healthcare system.

Optimity Advisors, who won the challenge, created an intuitive data visualisation which would help local authorities and health decision makers understand how key measures concerning health outcomes and performance varied by electoral ward and over time. The visualisation offered a low cost to maintain and could be updated locally at far lower cost than existing similar applications.


As part of the Innovate UK funded quantified self innovation contest we worked with Bupa on a challenge related to re-imagining data capture. Bupa identified that user engagement within the ‘quantified self’ theme was a barrier to long term behaviour change. We helped them to craft a challenge around finding innovative means of recording data relevant to quantified self for wellbeing applications. This could involve either reinventing familiar technologies, such as text messaging, implementing emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, or enabling more “sensorial” experiences, such as using voice or images.

The winning solution by Sentimoto, will be investigating different methods for capturing social interactions on smart phones and smart watches within older people, to detect their social wellbeing and their level of social isolation.


As part of the Innovate UK funded quantified self innovation contest we worked with Toshiba on a challenge related to self-tracking for young people. Empowering teens (11-17 years) to take ownership and engage with their own data for self-improvement, was the focus for Toshiba’s challenge. Solutions could focus on tracking either emotional wellbeing, physical activity, nutrition and/or fatigue.

The winner of this competition, Yomp, was shortly acquired after they were announced as the winner, which is the ultimate result for any of IC tomorrow’s winners as they go through this process.

Jamie Oliver Group

As part of the Innovate UK funded quantified self innovation contest we worked with Jamie Oliver Group on a challenge related to quantified nutrition. We helped them to define a challenge which explored how self-monitoring could move beyond ‘number tracking’ to inform food and cooking choices, positively change behaviour and ultimately improve wellbeing. The solution for adults, children and/or families needed to empower them to eat more healthily.

The winning company Evolyst, is currently building an evidence based app called Health Heroes which will help families to quantify their portion sizes, while learning the correct servings of different food groups. Evolyst will utilise their knowledge in health psychology within the solution and build in elements of gamification and persuasive technologies.

Staffordshire County Council

As is the challenge for local governments across the UK, Staffordshire County Council is facing cuts to health and social care budget and were looking to investigate ways in which they could continue to offer the same or higher levels of service whilst lowering these costs. We worked with the council to assess the current policies in place and to identify areas where digital innovation could improve efficiency or enable new services. It was decided that the key area was and empowering citizens to make their own health choices.

We broke this down into a core challenge looking at empowering working-aged adults to keep check on their own health. Once the challenge was confirmed we the ran an open innovation process to find companies to apply and help solve the challenge. We supported the council in understanding the different benefits of the digital ideas put forward.

The winning startup, Sentimoto supports self-care and family-care by providing a full-circle digital health and wellbeing service. Wellbeing data is collected without requiring user input, analysed to infer insights novel behavioural patterns, and shared with users and their support network. The insights are also used to create a tailored list of activities for the users and to inform them of specific conditions that may affect them. The company are currently working with the council to confirm the details of their trial which is due to launch spring 2017.

AXA PPP healthcare

As part of the Innovate UK funded quantified self innovation contest we worked with AXA PPP healthcare on a challenge related to emotional wellbeing in the working age. AXA PPP healthcare wanted to find a consumer-focused digital solution that utilised self-monitoring for positive mental wellbeing of those of working age. The solution needed to be able to be used within the workplace as well as in the user’s personal life. It also needed to address patterns of behaviour that informed the user about how they could improve their mental health, ultimately encouraging long term behaviour change.

PsyOmics, the winning company, is investigating an app to help people to monitor key aspects of their physical and mental wellbeing over time. It will offer lifestyle advice to improve psychological resilience to stress and prevent the development of emerging mental health conditions.


As part of the Innovate UK funded quantified self innovation contest we worked with Saga on a challenge related to improved wellbeing in later life. Saga’s challenge focused on finding solutions that empowered older people to engage with self-tracking, in order to utilise their own data for improved wellbeing. The digital solution needed to be simple and easy to use, explore novel user interfaces and techniques, to encourage sustained use and to connect the user to others in a digital social setting, to encourage interaction and sociability.

As winner of the challenge, Orb Technologies is working on a prototype of their hardware, The Orb, which will help to mentally stimulate and engage older people in retirement villages and care homes via social interactions and group reminiscence activities.

More of our work in health and social care

Digital inclusion and care speed networking

The area of inclusion and care is one the sectors ripest to be enhanced by digital innovation. With this in mind we organised a speed networking event focused on this area to bring together the tech community with organisations focused on care to help identify potential partnerships which could enhance services. The startups who took part had offerings which ranged from facilitating access to online health and wellbeing services, to navigating complex environments, to enabling older people to live independently. They were able to spend five minutes one to one with each of the sector partners (Atos, Capita, Remploy, Eastern Academic Health Science Network and Queen Mary University of London) gaining advice and discussing possible partnership opportunities.