Designing solutions for better care
Innovations can only succeed when they meet the needs of the people they are designed for. When we identify a problem in health and care, we take the time to get to know people’s lives better so that we can understand the issues they face and tailor solutions to their aspirations, desires and values. We then translate these findings into products that can improve care and health outcomes.
Our Helix Centre, a healthcare innovation lab, is at the core of this work. Made up of an interdisciplinary team of designers, technologists, clinicians and researchers, Helix uses human-centred design approaches to unpick issues in health and care, spot opportunities, and develop cutting-edge digital solutions that are evaluated in the clinic.
Explore highlights from our work that’s using research and design to create solutions for better, people-centred care.
Highlights from our healthcare design work
Innovating end-of-life care for children
We’re researching and designing innovative prototypes that can help define the future of children’s hospice care, for a brand new children's hospice being developed in Italy by Fondazione Seràgnoli.
Our first prototype, an interactive garden, facilitates cooperative play and relaxation. We also developed an AI-powered chatbot, Chiara, to provide parents with personalised information to get the right support from the right person at the right time. And we’ve been using innovative tech like augmented reality to transform the delivery of assistive play therapy to children with limited mobility.
Supporting community-based palliative care
We’re using design and technology to develop innovative, evidence-based solutions to improve end-of-life care and help people die well.
With our partners, we’re developing a technology-driven support tool to help lay-carers administer injectable medicines for dying people at home. Called Palliate, our solution provides digital information and support via an app, to carers who have been trained to deliver medications. seeks to improve the access and quality of training and support for carers, support patient preferences for a home death while also reducing pressure on community care teams.
Designing for dementia
Our designers are working across Imperial’s UK DRI Care Research and Technology Centre to bring a human-centred approach to the team’s work. This project is developing a smart 'Healthy Home' system to enable remote health monitoring for people with dementia and improve understanding of the disease.
Our work includes designing the monitoring dashboard and creating a companion app for people to access their data and assist with the daily tasks of caring for someone with dementia. We’re also working with labs across Imperial to create new devices like radar sensors and wearables to help monitor people’s behaviour.
Among stroke survivors, some 80% will experience difficulty in using their arms. In response to this issue, our Helix Centre has developed a digital app, OnTrack Rehab, designed with stroke survivors to support stroke survivors through their recovery. The platform uses applications for both smartphones and smartwatches, and aims to facilitate arm rehabilitation through daily monitoring and tailored coaching, both online and face-to-face.
Our recently completed feasibility trial generated encouraging results, with arm activity among participants increasing by 64%, and a 40% improvement in arm performance.