South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub receives Google investment in health tech research and training

The South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub has announced a three-year partnership with Google aiming to bring investment in the region’s health tech research and training, with a focus on tackling inequalities and driving economic growth.

The first project to be borne from the partnership will be the PUMAS study, which looks to explore the potential for Pixel smartphone sensors that detect light, radar, and electrical signals from the heart, to help aid the early detection of common conditions including hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Google will also be supplying 500 Fitbits for a study looking into post-surgery rehabilitation.

Along with promoting new health technologies and growth, the partnership will provide the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University with 500 Google Career Certificate scholarships, to support those aspiring to work in digital health across the region. In addition, 30 digital apprenticeships will be offered to small businesses in South Yorkshire.

Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield and director of South Yorkshire’s Digital Health Hub, said that the hub was launched “because we know that the more information we have about patients’ health as early as possible, the more opportunities we will have to make a difference. With partners like Google, we are able to look at how we harness technology to support that information gathering, to support patients and medical professionals to make decisions together earlier leading to better outcomes. Bringing together patients, healthcare professionals, researchers and companies creates a community of practice – it’s the future.”

In other innovation funding news, SBRI Healthcare, in collaboration with partners including the Health Innovation Network, has awarded almost £5 million in funding for innovations across learning disability and maternity care, with five innovations for maternity care receiving a portion of £2.5 million and a further five innovations awarded a share of £2.4 million for work in support of autistic people and those with a learning disability.

Elsewhere, NHS England has announced that around £1 million in funding has been awarded to seven trusts as part of NHSE’s Wireless Trials programme, designed to support organisations in introducing “new opportunities for wireless technologies that could help transform patient care”.