Innovation workshop - wearables in primary care

Academic / practitioner workshop 13th July 2018

On July 13th 2018 David Ellis from Lancaster University and Lukasz Piwek from Bath University held an interdisciplinary meeting funded by the GetAMoveOn Network+ to facilitate networking and collaboration between groups developing health technologies and those within NHS primary care. So how did it go, and what new ideas did they come up with? You can watch our video of the highlights below and can also explore our other videos and subscribe to our channel on YouTube so you don't miss out on anything!

Led by: Dr David A. Ellis, Lecturer in Psychology/Computational Social Science, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University and Dr Lukasz Piwek, Lecturer in Data Science, School of Management, University of Bath
Date: This event has been and gone. It took place on July 13th 2018
Venue: Lancaster University
Fee: Free – no registration fee. Limited funding will be available to help with travel costs for early career researchers and PhD students who wish to attend. Apply now!
Further information: David Ellis


Primary care remains a key point of contact for patients who are suffering from the effects of a sedentary lifestyle (e.g., cardiovascular problems), or who have complex needs with varying degrees of comorbidity (e.g., obesity and diabetes). This presents a challenging environment for the design of wearable technology. As part of their GetAMoveOn ‘thinkpiece’, the workshop organisers, David Ellis and Lukasz Piwek, considered how future wearable interventions might be improved or re-designed from the ground up in order to maximise their success rate. They proposed trialling a practitioner-based approach to help inform thinking about how wearable technologies might best serve specific domains in health or occupational settings. This workshop will be an interdisciplinary meeting to kick-start that process, by facilitating networking and collaboration between groups developing technologies and those within NHS primary care.

There will also be hands-on innovation sessions. Participants will work in groups to develop a 'big idea' for an innovation that could one day be prescribed by a GP or other health care professional.


The goal is a frank and open exchange of ideas and concerns, leading to rapid development of innovative solutions, to lay the foundations for developing a funding proposal to design and build future technologies that aim to get patients moving more frequently.


Topics covered will include:

  • Problems facing primary care as a result of inactivity (GP Speaker)
  • Introduction to wearable tech
  • Overview of solutions from chemistry and material science (smart fabrics and sensors)
  • Exploration of data visualisation and how feedback from wearables can be presented to users.

Innovation sessions

The core work of the event will take place in a series of interdisciplinary breakout sessions, each including a mix of academics and health practitioners.

  • Each group will be assigned a health complaint associated with physical inactivity (e.g. high blood pressure, obesity) and tasked with developing an idea for an innovation that could one day be prescribed by a GP or other health care professional.
  • After each session, groups will present their ‘big idea’ to be scored by another group based on a variety of pre-determined metrics including: innovation, cost, potential benefit, ease-of-use, and long-term value for the NHS. Groups can submit more than one idea at once.
  • The best ideas will continue into the next round and be further refined, developed or even passed over until the best two or three best ideas are left. Ideas that are not carried over however, can of course be revisited at any time.
  • The focus will be placed on generating ideas quickly and refining these so they can be strengthened or shelved as the day progresses.
  • A number of follow-up meetings and online discussions will then be arranged in order to facilitate the development of a related funding application. This may focus on one specific intervention or bring together several that are associated with a specific health condition (e.g., diabetes). All attendees may, of course, develop their own ideas into proposals as they see fit.

Further information: David Ellis

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