Monday, 26 September 2016

Games you should play today #Worldalzheimersday

Since the launch of the AcTo Dementia website 6 months ago, we have evaluated more than 40 different types of game or activity, reviewing over 400 apps in the process. So far we have recommended 23 apps that are the most accessible of their type for people living with dementia, encompassing a diverse range of games or activities. These have included classic board games, sports simulations, interactive art and modern puzzlers.

When taking the apps out-and-about for people with dementia and their families to test and play for fun, the most popular based on feedback are Jigty Jigsaws, Dominoes, Bubble Explode and 10 Pin Shuffle. Some of these can be enjoyed independently during those quiet times when a bit of escapist fun is needed, whereas others can be played with another person as a shared activity.

Our process for selecting apps involves firstly identifying the type of app that we will review, for example dominoes or football. We then search the app store for examples of the app type and download at least ten representations of the app for review. Each of the ten apps are then analysed using our evidence-based App Evaluation Tool, which generates a score for each app based on the presence or absence of design features that have been shown to have an impact on accessibility for people living with dementia. The highest scoring app is then sent for final approval to the lead researcher, and if approved is published on the website as a recommended app.

Not all of our app evaluations lead to app recommendations, as just because an app is the highest scoring and therefore the most accessible of its type, doesn’t mean it is of sufficient quality or suitability and therefore worthy of recommendation. This is demonstrated by the fact that we have so far rejected 18 different types of app on this basis, including driving simulators, spot the difference puzzles and Chinese Checkers.

Suggestions for types of app to be considered for review are always welcome. Initially our selections have been based on feedback from Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) forums, ideas suggested by staff members and service users of places visited by the research team, and the previous work of members of the research team when developing touchscreen software for people living with dementia. We encourage visitors to the website to contact us or post in the forum if they have specific types of app they would like us to review and recommend, and this will be crucial in continuing our aim to develop a catalogue of accessible apps for people living with dementia that can be browsed on our website.

Over the next six months we have app recommendations of Sudoku, bingo, adult colouring, Scrabble and free-form painting all pending publication, and we are also intending to widen our catalogue from just gaming and activity apps to information resource, productivity and self-management apps. To stay up to date with all of this and more, follow us on Twitter @actodementia and bookmark our website

Friday, 23 September 2016

Philips, Qualcomm partner on personalized, connected health

Philips and Qualcomm are teaming up to advance connected health, with the former contributing connected health informatics and cloud data management and the latter pitching in secure connectivity and integration.

The partnership will see Philips’ HealthSuite, a cloud-based platform integrating health data from a variety of devices, joining Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform. This will give HealthSuite users “seamless access” to even more connected medical devices, including medication dispensers, ventilators, blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters, according to a statement.

With the addition of more connected devices, HealthSuite will allow users to build a “fuller patient profile” over longer time periods and to customize and scale connected care schemes. Integrating with the 2net Platform will help healthcare providers better engage with their patients and facilitate early intervention, personalization of treatment plans and ultimately improve patient outcomes, according to the statement.

Click here to find out more.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Nestlé buys device co. to treat the inability to swallow

Nestlé Health Science (NHSc) announced a milestone-based acquisition of Phagenesis, a medical device company working on a treatment for dysphagia.
Dysphagia is the inability to swallow safely, and about 29% to 55% of stroke patients experience this condition. It can also be a result of many other diseases.
In this new agreement, NHSc will make an upfront payment to acquire Phagenesis, and will follow with milestone-based funding throughout the clinical evaluation of Phagenyx. Phagenyx is a medical device aimed at treating the cause of dysphagia, rather than only the symptoms. The device helps to restore the neurological control of swallowing.
Phagenyx uses a base station and catheter to deliver stimulation to the pharynx. Treatment occurs for 10 minutes a day over three days. Stimulation levels are personalized and can be controlled via the base station.

Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Multifrequency vibration could improve early detection of diabetic neuropathy

High blood sugar can cause damage to diabetics’ nerves and could eventually lead to foot ulcers and, in some cases, amputation. Swedish researchers have found that patient perception of vibrations delivered at varying frequencies could become a better way to detect foot ulcers early.
The study, presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, used the CE marked VibroSense Meter from Malmö, Sweden-based VibroSense. The device is indicated for the early detection of impaired vibration sensibility in the hands and fingers that may be caused by neurological, vascular or musculoskeletal injuries, according to the company. It has been used to detect neuropathy in miners, as well as other industries where vibration injury is common, such as construction and auto repair.
The researchers, led by Dr. Eero Lindholm of Skånes University, tested the sensory perception of 364 Type 1 diabetics with and without foot ulcers and 137 healthy people. “The results are very promising and could lead to improved early detection of diabetic foot ulcers,” Lindholm said in a statement. “We have found a strong correlation between foot ulcers and impaired tactile sensation at low vibration frequencies.”
Unlike the current method, where a physician applies a tuning fork to the patient’s foot, the VibroSense delivers vibrations at frequencies ranging from 4 Hz to 500 Hz. The study will continue for another three years, Rogers said. It will include more testing on healthy people to establish a baseline for vibration sensitivity to better determine what is not normal.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Study: Veteran caregivers use apps to access EHRs, fill prescriptions

Caregivers for military veterans prefer mobile health apps that give them access to their loved one's electronic healthcare record and allow them to do tasks like refill prescriptions and set medication reminders, according to a report published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The 882 caregivers participating were had been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs's Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program and also participated in the VA Family Caregiver Mobile Health Pilot program.

The researchers found that caregivers living in rural areas were more likely to use the apps, as were caregivers of veterans who have a mental health diagnosis like post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Use of the apps also was much greater if the caregiver of the veteran was a spouse, the researchers found.

Please click here to learn more.

Friday, 16 September 2016

NHS Health apps: to inform or not to inform patient records?

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that data from approved health apps will inform personal health records directly as part of a large online services expansion.
To read more about this, please click here to view BBC article.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Telehealth and Telecare: The Future of Healthcare What you can do now, and where it can go in the future

1 day course: Tuesday 11th October 2016


1 day course: Tuesday 11th October 2016




£350 EARLY BIRD FEE - For bookings received on or before Sunday, 21st August 2016
£450 Standard Fee - For bookings received on or after Monday, 22nd August 2016
Closing for bookings for this course is Sunday, 25th September 2016


Halifax Hall Hotel and Conference Centre, Endcliffe Vale Road, Sheffield, S10 3ER.


For further information please do not hesitate to contact the Short Course Unit via email at
or call +44 (0)114 222 2968.

Course Overview

Technology has revolutionised the way we live our lives. 

The expansion of technology into health and social care has been slow, due to complex organisational and commissioning issues. However, telehealth and telecare are increasingly recognised as effective methods of delivering patient-centered care within the context of an ageing population, rising incidence of long-term conditions and uncertainties around health and social care funding.

This short course, run by researchers based in the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology group in ScHARR, will take you through how telehealth and telecare work, and their benefits. There will be a practical hands-on session and talks from guest speakers which will give you an insight into using such systems, both from the healthcare professional and patient point of view. Issues around implementation will help you to understand some key issues around use of technology within healthcare.
This masterclass will give you a head start in understanding the critical issues, and equip you to be part of its evolution over the coming years. 

The future of healthcare is changing, and we all need to be ready when it does!

Who will benefit from this course?

Health and social care professionals with an interest in using telehealth / telecare as part of their role, or whose team or department is planning on using these interventions. No previous experience with telehealth or telecare is needed. Although the course will be aimed predominantly at healthcare professionals, it is potentially useful for individuals from other sectors who wish to find out more about it.

Course Outline

Introduction to Telehealth and Telecare
  • Context
  • Definitions
  • Overview
Telecare: what exists already
  • Guest speaker from local Telecare provider
Telehealth: the future of healthcare
  • Guest speaker: Telehealth expert from Sheffield's commissioning team
  • Hands-on demonstration of innovative Telehealth examples
Issues around implementation
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Guest speakers: patient and Telehealth nurse

Course materials

All course materials will be provided on USB (including presentations) plus a hard copy of any handouts/exercises where necessary.
A hard copy of presentations are available upon request.
Participants are asked to provide their own laptop for the duration of the course.

For further information about the course and fees/booking, please click here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A mobile diagnostic and screening toolkit for urban slum settings

In July 2016 CATCH researchers in collaboration with Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and academic, healthcare and industrial organisations in India embarked on a project to support global challenge development activities, funded by EPSRC.
The project: “a mobile diagnostic and screening toolkit for urban slum settings” aims to outline the development of a multifunctional and modular diagnostic and screening toolkit that can be used in the urban slums of India and other low resource areas and be operated by non-medically trained people.
Urban slums are characterised by extreme poverty, challenging living conditions and limited access to health services. The need of such a toolkit lies in the experience of a large hospital in Bangalore (India) in their community health program that serves around 30 slum communities. The development of a diagnostic and screening mobile toolkit for relevant health issues can therefore play a great role in making healthcare available and accessible to slum dwellers, who usually do not have any access to health services.
The project is currently in its first phase which aims to identify common health issues in urban slum areas in Bangalore by gathering information from different sources including discussions and workshops. The second phase of the project will involve designing and developing a concept and a prototype of a mobile toolkit to perform a number of diagnostic and screening tests relevant to the health issues in urban slums.
Estimated to end in March 2017, the results of this project will help to develop a more exhaustive research plan that will include the actual development and testing of the toolkit and its embedding in daily care practice.  This project will be relevant to any setting where there is no or limited access to healthcare, as exist particularly in some areas of Africa, Asia and South America.

In CATCH, we’re committed to the UK remaining a welcoming home of global scholarship and we will continue to ensure our research knows no geographical boundaries.

To find out more about the #WeAreInternational campaign and to show your support, visit

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

#T4I2016 exhibition info available and abstract submission open until 5.9.2016

Join plenary speaker Prof Luc de Witte at the Technology for Independence Conference in Sheffield as a delegate or exhibitor.

On 28th November 2016 the University of Sheffield will host the national Assistive Technology (AT) conference in Sheffield to showcase AT related research and service innovation across health, education, employment and daily living. It will take place at St. Mary’s Church and Conference Centre, Sheffield. Previously known as the Recent Advances in Assistive Technology and Engineering Conference” RaATE has run successfully for over 10 years and this year we are relaunching under the banner of “T4I” (Technology for Independence).

We are delighted to welcome our plenary speaker from the Netherlands: Luc de Witte, a leading researcher in the field of assistive technologies, is Professor of Technology in Care at both Zuyd University of Applied Science and Maastricht University,  He is also Director of the Centre of Expertise on Innovative Care and Technology (EIZT), a regional innovation network with around 40 partners (health care organisations, 3 universities, SME’s, local and regional governments).

Health and social practitioners from the UK will be networking at this event to find out more about new AT products, some of which will be available for demonstration. Contributions from the educational domain are also very welcome to highlight synergies. This engaging conference aims to have a good balance between practitioners and academics engaged and interested in innovations aiming at improving technology and services.
If you are interested in presenting your work at this event, please submit your abstract by 5th September 2016.
Please note, that submitted abstracts will be reviewed in the following week, and registration will open from October. Delegate fees will be £160.

Exhibitor Information:

As usual, we also offer exhibition space at the conference venue which is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate Assistive Technology. We provide WiFi, power, a table in a floor area of about 6m2 for £260. Additional requirements can be accommodated, please send us your requirements and we can inform you about extra costs.  

This year we are also offering a light option for exhibiting. If you only bring a single banner, you can exhibit with the delegate fee of £160.

If you need more information please contact us or visit the conference website: