Medicine on medical form with stethoscope and pen
Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) has considerable expertise in developing innovative practice to help health practitioners and their patients better manage their conditions.
Research in this area includes the work of our Rehabilitation Research Group as well as the development of technological innovations to support to support older patients to continue to live independently.

AGE'IN

This 2.5 million project funded by the European Regional Development Fund's Interreg 2 Mers programme aims to keep the ageing population independent for longer in their own or chosen home, increasing their quality of life and safety, and improving their environment. AGE'IN is led by the Boulogne sur mer Développement Côte d'Opale in France. In Plymouth, we are exploring the impact of robots as assistive technologies, from supporting patients' cognitive abilities to providing remote monitoring and support in daily activities.

Diabetes

Research supporting the evidence based management of people with diabetes is an important focus of the Rehabilitation Research Group. The Balance Enhancement and Ulcer Prevention in Diabetes (BEUP) group is an academic/NHS multidisciplinary collaboration, which aims to translate the results from our published research to influence and inform everyday clinical practice with respect to diabetes and neuropathy.
Applying specialist knowledge of diabetic foot self-care and education and ulcer prevention and management with focus onfoot pressure analysis, orthotic design and balance problems the team is developing and testing a battery of interventions to make walking safer for people with diabetes.
Highlights in applied research include an automated 3D-printed insole, a novel balance enhancement insole and a clinical trial testing pressure data guided insoles

Intensive care medicine

Professor Daniel Martin'smain research interest is oxygen physiology, in particular how humans adapt to low levels of oxygen and the potential harm caused by excessive oxygen. In the NIHR-funded UK-ROX trial, he is evaluating whether giving a little less oxygen than usual to critically ill patients on a mechanical ventilator will improve their survival. The EXAKT study investigates the accuracy of pulse oximeters in critically ill patients with different skin tones, to answer a very important question about these essential oxygen monitoring devices. Daniel is also exploring the use of exercise to improve clinical outcomes, including in patients awaiting liver transplantation and bariatric surgery.

Rehabilitation research

The Rehabilitation Research Group specialises in clinical trials evaluating a range of physical rehabilitation interventions, typically delivered within the NHS, and aimed at improving the function and wellbeing of people with multiple sclerosis (Freeman, Marsden, Gunn, Andrade), balance enhancement and ulcer prevention in diabetes (Paton, Collings); and and orthotic management (Freeman).
A key area of research for the group is the remote assessment and management of people with movement impairment and disability (Freeman, Marsden, Jones, Kent, Gunn, Demain, Logan).

Long-term health conditions

Professor Helen Lloyd is working with the University of Gothenburg in a European wide project to develop the knowledge base and partner network to enhance person centred care for people with long-term conditions (SELFIE, SUSTAIN, COST CARES). This has involved the development of measures and implementation tools that have been adopted internationally and across Europe and translated into more than six different languages. Lloyd and Close are also working with Swedish colleagues (Dencker, Roselund; GPCC) to develop the first computer adapted test to measure peoples’ experiences of person centred long-term condition care

Movecare: Multiple-actors Virtual Empathic Caregivers for the Elderly

This Horizon 2020 funded project is co-ordinated in Milan with the University of Plymouth's Centre for Health Technology leading a €440,000 strand on social interaction, supporting independent living through the use of robotic companions. Movecare allows researchers at the University to study the University's Pepper robot in a more realistic, home-like environment rather than in a lab, to identify the impact on the elderly.

The Digital Revolution

Professor Shang-Ming Zhou's research focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and statistics in health and biomedical informatics: data-driven health-related studies using techniques, such as machine learning/deep learning, natural language processing, computational intelligence (artificial neural networks, fuzzy logic, nature-inspired computing etc), statistical analytics, and data mining.
Two current projects are mining data from electronic patient codes. First, deep phenotyping is being used to predict the development of colorectal cancer stages, including the potential return of cancer after treatment and associated multimorbidity. By revealing connections and interactions between phenotypic factors, the researchers seek ultimately to explore how and why cancer affects people differently and suggest how treatment and prevention could be individualised for sufferers. Second, AI is being applied to electronic records to build evidence for the safe use of medications to assist practitioners in improving their medication-use systems to prevent medication errors and patient harm.
In another project and in collaboration with the charity SUDEP Action and SUVO company, Professor Zhou and his team are using patient self-generated data via the Epilepsy Self-Monitoring (EpSMon) app to identify the risks and health outcomes of childbearing women. Through this research, they hope to gain an understanding of how digital technologies might be used to improve the wellbeing of expectant mothers who suffer from seizures.