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How the Digital Health & Care Institute is helping companies harness digital technology to pioneer innovative ways to of improving healthcare

Mobile phone and watch measuring heart rate

Due to the pressures of an aging population, the world is facing a major healthcare crisis.

Despite worldwide technological advances, traditional models of health and care can’t meet the challenges of this demographic shift. The demand on existing services is becoming unsustainable.

Digital health and care interventions will be key to tackling this crisis, and Scotland is at the forefront of the digital health revolution.

Digital solutions for better care

The Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) brings together professionals and organisations in the health and social care, charity, technology, design and academic sectors to develop new ideas for digital health technology.

From wearable tech that monitors your health in real time, to innovative care regimes which allow patients to stay in their own homes, DHI is looking to support new ideas about how digital technology can improve the delivery of healthcare.

The global digital health market is estimated to grow to between 40 and 70 billion USD by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of over 22%, and DHI can help innovators with new healthcare solutions take advantage of this growing market.

We’re an innovation nation

Innovation is key when it comes to finding smart digital solutions to current and future health needs, and DHI leaves no stone unturned in its search for remedies.

I am really interested in how digital technologies can improve health. The work DHI is doing is changing lives and solving some really important health and care challenges, at home and abroad, and I am proud to be supporting their work.

Andy Murray

Its three-stage approach – Exploratory, Laboratory and Factory – takes good ideas from imagination to implementation:

  • At the Exploratory stage, DHI engages with a wide range of organisations, industry experts and health and care professionals to do research
  • The Laboratory stage provides a safe environment where users, businesses and researchers can collaborate and develop prototypes in response to healthcare challenges
  • At the Factory stage, DHI staff work with industry, health and care partners, charities and university partners to develop commercial solutions to real-life health and care challenges

DHI ambassador, Scottish tennis star Andy Murray – himself a serial investor in health and technology start-ups – says: “I am really interested in how digital technologies can improve health. The work DHI is doing is changing lives and solving some really important health and care challenges, at home and abroad, and I am proud to be supporting their work."

Turning theory into reality

In its first two years, DHI has awarded over £1.1 million to fund academic research and input to projects exploring the use of new technology that will improve health and care in Scotland. In addition, it has facilitated £1.9 million in contributions from companies, the public sector and other organisations, providing a total project portfolio worth more than £3 million.

DHI has supported 97 projects and will have helped deliver 43 new products by the end of 2018. Some of these projects include:

  • AliveCor, a mobile ECG device that connects to smartphones that helps patients and healthcare professionals track heart rate activity and identify individuals at risk of stroke
  • Moletest, an iPhone app which can detect benign or suspect skin lesions
  • Falls Smart Insole, an in-shoe device that can track and analyse a patient’s walking patterns and mobility to help prevent falls and improve physical activity 
  • The ReSBOK project, which involves trialing a system to measure patients' heart rate and blood oxygen levels through camera-based technology

Get involved

DHI is always on the lookout for new, innovative digital health projects that they can help get off the ground. If you have a smart idea, DHI’s experts can help you turn it into a reality.

Get in touch with DHI on their website

Want to find out more about digital health opportunities in Scotland?

From our groundbreaking research in infant health, diabetes and dementia, to our innovation labs and expertise in convergent technologies, Scotland is a great place for digital health.

At Scottish Development International, we’re here to help you make the most our academic experts and innovative companies.

Get in touch