£4 million South Yorkshire digital healthcare hub set to “lead the UK’s digital revolution and address inequalities in patient care”

The University of Sheffield, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, has this week launched an “ambitious” new digital healthcare hub in South Yorkshire, which it hopes is “set to lead the UK’s digital healthcare revolution and address inequalities in patient care”.

The £4 million hub aims to create and develop innovative health technologies and digital health tools, which “fuse data from daily life activities with NHS data”.

South Yorkshire reportedly has “some of the worst health outcomes in the country”, with “life expectancy lagging behind the national averages and cancer outcomes the third worse in England”. The new hub’s mission is to use data analytics, AI and mobile health monitoring to help speed up diagnosis and plan more effective targeted treatment.

Sheffield is one of five hubs in the UK to be awarded part of a £16.5 million fund from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which forms part of the wider £36.5 million EPSRC investment in healthcare technology.

The hub will bring together partners from across South Yorkshire, including GPs, hospitals, South Yorkshire ICS, and patient and public groups. These partners will work on developing technologies to address “stark health inequalities across South Yorkshire”.

Professor Steve Haake, deputy director of the Digital Health Hub, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for the region and a chance for us to lead the UK in digital healthcare. The task isn’t simple: we want to create tools that take in everyday lifestyle information and integrate it with their healthcare records, all the while preserving their privacy and making it accessible for those who might struggle to use digital health tools. In just a few years, we should have a bubbling pipeline of potential products ready to be used in the NHS, designed by the very people they intend to help – patients.”

In June, UCL announced that its Global Disability Innovation Hub has successfully secured £31 million investment from UK Aid, a funding programme which is part of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

In July, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced a £36.5 million investment in healthcare technology, with £20 million to develop and test treatments and tools using advancements in quantum, robot technology and imaging, and the remaining £16.5 million going towards new digital health hubs across England.