University of Plymouth

Smart devices to support older people

15 million people in the UK are living with a long-term health condition, according to government figures. Of these people, 6.8 million regularly use services such as their GP or their local hospital. Technology, including apps and remote consultation, is helping to ease pressure on the NHS, but only 24% of people are registered with their GP online, and nearly 10% of the public have never used the internet.

Professor Ray Jones from the University of Plymouth is leading work to empower more people to use digital health. He oversees a project called Digital Health Champions, which sees the University of Plymouth’s nursing students work with local people to use technology to improve their healthcare, from sending emails to arranging online prescriptions.

He is also working with local companies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to develop products to support older people such as a bespoke robot to comfort care home residents. Prof Jones has also secured funding for 150 Amazon Echo Spots to be placed into Cornwall care homes. These smart speakers could be used to remind people to take their medication.

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