The School of Engineering and Digital Arts has been playing a major role in The Epilepsy Care Alliance, partnering with several other organisations to develop technologies and treatments to help improve patient treatment and reduce NHS cost pressures. The Alliance, comprising Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Kent, System C & Graphnet Care Alliance and Shearwater Systems, is dedicated to improving the treatment and quality of life of epilepsy suffers. It is also calling on hospitals to consider new technology investments that can improve patient treatment and reduce NHS cost pressures.
Today (26 March) marks Purple Day, an international day of awareness for epilepsy, a neurological condition that leads to the tendency to have recurrent seizures. Up to one in 100 people in the UK are believed to suffer from the condition, causing a total of 1.3 million days in hospital a year. It’s a difficult condition to manage as existing medication only works for up to 70 per cent of sufferers.
The Epilepsy Care Alliance has been running a programme, named myCareCentric Epilepsy, exploring how technology can equip people with the ability to self-manage their condition. Using Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, the programme provides patients with a wearable tech band, which records health data to help clinicians build a record of a patient’s condition and seizure patterns. This has the potential to learn to classify seizures, to alert clinicians in real-time so they can consult patients remotely, as well as provide essential lifestyle recommendations and drug prescriptions.
The programme has been running since 2016 and has collected such a vast amount of data that the consortium has been able to use this to gain vital insights that could advance epilepsy treatments. The funding for the myCareCentric Epilepsy programme was made available by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.