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WMG research helps expand Sweatcoin capabilities

Researchers at our Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) have been working, with the health and fitness app Sweatcoin, to develop a new verification process that will now allow indoor steps to be tracked for the first time.

Sweatcoin monitors steps throughout the day, via an app downloaded to a smartphone. Users are rewarded with one Sweatcoin (SWC) per every 1,000 steps. The digital currency can then be redeemed for items including magazines, clothing, music downloads and even televisions.

Previously the app was only capable of tracking outdoor steps - a big disadvantage for those with active jobs indoors or even those using the gym.

The 12-month project, funded by Innovate UK, collected large amounts of data from the sensors built into smartphones in parallel with step-count data recorded using high accuracy activity monitors. Researchers on the project then used this data to create a new step-verification model to work in any environment, not just outdoors.


One of UK’s foremost NHS chief executives to lead Healthcare Systems activities at WMG

Dame JulieIt was announced today, Thursday 26th April 2018, that Dame Julie Moore, currently Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), is to become a Professor of Healthcare Systems at WMG, University of Warwick. Her new role will see her leading on a range of both research and education projects, leading collaborations with the NHS and other healthcare providers.

Dame Julie has held the position of Honorary Professor, at WMG, since 2013. In that time she has delivered three thought provoking and informative special lectures covering topics such as ‘Is the NHS Succeeding or Failing?’

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick said

“This is a stellar appointment. Nursing Times has described Dame Julie one of the best leaders in the NHS, and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour has named her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK. I have no doubt that her new research role here with us in WMG at the University of Warwick will result in transformative research that will help enhance the delivery of healthcare across the UK.”


Healthcare technology conference hosted by the Institute of Digital Healthcare

On Thursday 3rd May 2018, the Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) at WMG, University of Warwick, will be hosting the Digital Health & Care and Safety of Connected Health: Improvements & Applications Conference (DICOH’18).

The national conference is being sponsored by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and NHS Digital.

Professor Maureen Baker CBE, Chair of the Professional Record Standards Body, Dr Cian Hughes Senior Research Scientist, DeepMind and Professor Theo Professor Theo ArvanitisArvanitis, Chair in e-Health Innovation and Head of Research at WMG will be joining other key experts in digital healthcare speaking at the conference.

There will also be a tutorial on clinical IT safety organised jointly by the Institute of Digital Health and the NHS Digital.

You can get more information or register for DICOH’18 here.


WMG Assistant Professors support EPSRC in ‘Manufacturing the Future’

Dr John Low and Dr Jerome Charmet have been appointed as members of EPSRC’s prestigious Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research.

They will be tasked with establishing a community of early career academics to provide Theme Leaders at EPSRC with strategic advice to develop their themes in ‘Manufacturing the Future’. They will also act as a conduit for communication (with EPSRC), covering the broader community in manufacturing research both nationally and internationally.

Dr John LowDr John Low who works in WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre, explains: “I will share my vision of manufacturing science in energy storage to help accelerate the UK’s advances in fundamental electrochemistry through to application-driven programmes.”

Dr Jerome Charmet, who is based within the Institute of Digital Healthcare team said: “I will endeavour to bridge the gap between the Dr Jerome Charmetbiomedical/clinical sciences and the manufacturing communities, in particular in the area of micro and nanotechnologies.”


WMG part of £30 million funding to help transform health through data science

Theo ArvanitisWMG, at the University of Warwick, is a key partner in the Midlands site helping to deliver a £30 million project by Health Data Research UK, to address challenging UK healthcare issues using data science, which is looking at making game-changing improvements in people’s health by harnessing data science at scale across the UK.

WMG will be part of the “Midlands HDR UK Substantive Site”, which will tackle the challenge of how to make NHS data more useable and accessible for research; and will develop, evaluate and apply appropriate analytical tools to NHS data in real time in order to inform decision making and improve health for both the patient and population. The Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH), WMG will lead the Warwick part of the programme, together with colleagues from Warwick Medical School and Warwick’s Mathematics Institute.


Pregnancy loss biobank to receive £1.2million in funding

Research to help identify women at risk of pregnancy complications is to receive a huge financial boost.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is to give The Tommy's Reproductive Health Biobank a grant of £1.2million.

The biobank will be the most significant collection of reproductive health tissues in the UK. Operating on a virtual basis with its server based at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) and will begin operating on 29 September. It will store biological samples collected by scientists and clinicians at UHCW, the University of Warwick, University of Birmingham, Imperial College, Kings College London, University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester. The tissues, donated by women who have a history of pregnancy problems, and clinical data will help scientists find new causes and cures for miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth.


People are reluctant to use public defibrillators to treat cardiac arrests

A study led the University of Warwick suggests that people are reluctant to use public access defibrillators to treat cardiac arrests.

The analysis of existing international studies, which has been published in the European Heart Journal – Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, suggests that there are a number of factors that prevent members of the public from using them and potentially saving lives.

The researchers’ study suggests that many members of the public don’t know what an automated external defibrillator (AED) is, where to find one and how to use one. This is despite AEDs being suitable for use by untrained members of the public. Although studies suggest there is variation across the studies they analysed in the number of people willing to use an AED a lack of confidence and fear of harm are common themes.

The research, Barriers and facilitators to public access defibrillation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a systematic review, was conducted by Warwick Medical School, the University of Warwick; the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG, the University of Warwick; Heart of England NHS Trust, Birmingham; London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Imperial College Neurotrauma Centre, St Mary’s Hospital, London.


Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

TARASCHILLERPatients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of Warwick, the Baker Institute and Monash University.

The scientists observed that when they increased the wavelength of the light currently used to visualise the fatty build-up found in arteries (atherosclerotic plaques) they could selectively identify the rupture-prone deposits, which commonly lead to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.


Researchers help digital currency users get more rewards for exercising

Researchers at the Institute of Digital Healthcare in WMG, University of Warwick have been awarded an Innovate UK grant to assist Sweatco Ltd to further develop their app for users to earn more rewards from a broader range of exercise activities.

Sweatcoin, a digital currency generated by physical movement captured on a smartphone, has been a huge success, having already converted more than 80 billion of its users’ physical steps into virtual coins in reward for their exercise (walking and running). For now, Sweatcoin’s proprietary algorithm verifies outdoor movement using a number of other sensors, including GPS, to prevent potential ‘gaming of the system’.

The company now wants to expand the app to allow users to earn digital currency while cycling and when inside buildings, including activities such as running on a treadmill or simply walking around whilst at work. With the help of an Innovate UK grant, they are working with researchers in the Institute of Digital Healthcare in WMG at the University of Warwick to develop a solution, while blocking any methods to cheat through the use of computer validation techniques.


Expert comment: Dr Sudakshina Lahiri - Increased NHS demand is reshaping the service environment

Sudakshina Lahiri“As recent news headlines have highlighted, the demand for health and social care services is growing at an unprecedented rate. Demographic changes, presence of long-term conditions, technological advancements, and patient expectations are just some of the factors driving this growth.

“Addressing the increased demand for service through an efficient integrated care delivery structure, that puts the patient at the centre of the service system, is an idea that has wide support. Developing that integrated framework of care will require thoughtful and systematic approaches however, including new ways of training the healthcare workforce, particularly those who are in middle management and tasked with the essential role of overseeing healthcare operational management.

“The increased demand is reshaping the service environment, making it dynamic and subject to rapid change. To address some of the challenges that come with such changes, it will be essential to provide health sector managers with the skills and knowledge to effectively operationalize issues of quality, productivity, and cost so as to ensure that the health service system delivers dual advantages of patient benefits while remaining efficient.


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