Surgeons and nurses working in an operating theatre

Led by Professor Paul Aylin, this theme is developing and implementing cutting-edge ways to identify and manage the deterioration of patients’ health.

Patient needs and care are becoming more complex. Against a backdrop of increasingly squeezed resources, this means the potential for failures in healthcare delivery is rising. In response to this concerning situation, we’re working to identify and manage patient deterioration, in acute and community settings, so that we can better address their needs.

Our work

A patient’s condition can deteriorate in any and all settings of care. That’s why we want to understand how to prevent patients’ health from worsening not only while they’re being cared for by health systems, but also in the community. Find out how we’re using experimental digital technologies to reach these goals.

Dissecting digital technologies for mental health

The number of people with mental health problems is rising, and many develop these disorders under the age of 25. Digital tools like apps and online services could be a promising way to meet these growing needs, which is why we’re building the evidence we need to ensure such innovations are effective and acceptable to those they’re designed to benefit.

We’re exploring young people’s perspectives on a range of technologies to detect mental health deterioration, including wearables and social media. Young adults with lived experience of mental health problems have been involved in every stage of the work, from design to data collection and dissemination. Our results are demonstrating how digital interventions may be a viable alternative solution to more traditional mental health services, opening up more support to the younger demographic, which we urgently need.

In addition to this work, the mental health team are carrying out vital research into the use of wearable technology to monitor deterioiration in psychiatric patients, including through tracking of sleep as an indicator of deterioiration. 

Click on this link to read our most recent publication on young people's perceptions of technology to detect worsening mental health. 

Using wearables to detect sepsis

Sepsis – a life-threatening reaction to infection – is thought to affect around a quarter of a million people each year in the UK alone. We want to help ensure that sepsis is detected early, so that patients can be treated efficiently before their condition worsens, potentially saving lives.

We’re running a clinical trial of 500 patients to identify sepsis and unwell patients using wearable sensors and digital alerting systems. We’ve been interviewing both staff and patients for this work, to ensure that the sensors are not only effective but are also acceptable to users. You can read more about this work in our blog post with lead researcher Meera Joshi. 

Find out more about how we're working to prevent patient deterioration in our video with Prof Paul Aylin:

Avoiding deterioration in patients with complex needs

Research theme leader Paul Aylin talks about how his group's work is developing and implementing solutions to identify and manage patient deterioration.