Health and wellbeing

Professor Luc de Witte

Health and wellbeing
The University of Sheffield

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The Internet of Things opens up exciting new possibilities for providing cost-effective care, for giving people greater control over their own health and wellbeing. It could allow the coverage provided by our care systems to be extended to people, places and times that are beyond the reach of current provision.

However, the care sector operates with tight budgets and is rightly cautious when it comes to new technologies. The role of Pitch-In here was to encourage, where appropriate, the adoption of IoT and the development of applications along principled lines.

In practice this meant that we needed to bring together the right people – technologists, healthcare professionals, caregivers and, not least, prospective end users – to explore the potential of IoT and the implications it has for our care services.

The Pitch-In health and wellbeing theme worked to ensure that we developed the right applications in the right way; meaning applications must be:

  • Safe: they must not harm users or their interests, and must not impair the wider operation of care services.

  • Effective: they really do improve the lives of users and care givers, or else lead to more efficient delivery of care.

  • Acceptable: systems should be useable, meet users’ expectations and conform to society’s ethical standards.

  • Affordable: in the long run, the cost of deploying and maintaining systems is outweighed by improved outcomes or productivity gains.

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