Sheffield City Region announced as a national ‘Test Bed’ innovation centres

South Yorkshire to lead new ‘technology’ drive to modernise care for patients with long term health conditions

The Sheffield City region will today be announced as one of seven national ‘Test Bed’ innovation centres to take part in a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care.

‘Test Beds’ are new collaborations between the NHS and innovators which aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service.  Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’, as the Sheffield City region Test Bed will be known, aims to create the ‘perfect patient pathway’ to bring substantial benefits for patients suffering from long term health conditions, such as diabetes, mental health problems, respiratory disease, hypertension and other chronic conditions.

New technology coupled with new ways of delivering care will be used to keep patients with these conditions well at home, often avoiding the need for hospital admission or further support.

A range of home-based monitoring devices and smart phone apps will mean patients can be supported to understand their condition and how they can manage it at home.

Data received from these devices will then be collated and interpreted in an integrated intelligence centre to assess individual patient wellbeing and anticipate changing demands and patterns of care requirements in long term conditions both at patient and at a regional level, enabling a timely and effective response.

By using new technology, the intention is to keep patients with these conditions well, independent and avoiding crisis points which often result in hospital admission, intensive rehabilitation and a high level of social care support. It will include monitoring falls risk, tracking locations for people with dementia as well as sensors in the home, for example, on televisions, kettles and fridges to monitor mobility, nutrition and general wellbeing.

Initially the Perfect Patient Pathway will focus on people with three or more long term conditions, the vision of the programme is to create a model that will support holistic care for people, irrespective of age or condition, and that will be available across the country.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’ Test Bed involves more than 30 partners including the region’s NHS, Social Care, Industry, Academic and Voluntary organisations.

Andrew Riley, Managing Director of the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) said “We are delighted that the Sheffield City Region has been chosen as one of the inaugural Test Bed sites, this is a great achievement for the region and will provide significant benefits to the local population. As part of the national AHSN network, the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN will be working closely with NHS England and our Test Bed partners to ensure that proven innovations from the pioneering sites are diffused for the benefit of all patients throughout the region and beyond.”

“The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN has worked closely with the Sheffield City Region to ensure its Test Bed application had the best possible chance of success.  The news that they have been chosen, coupled with the announcement of the Yorkshire & Humber Genomics Medicines Centre last month, further demonstrates the impact the AHSN is making to support the development of major clinical advancements that will benefit the population of Yorkshire and the Humber.”

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Perfect Patient Pathway test bed is a fantastic way of bringing together the region’s health and social care providers with a number of technology and research organisations. By utilising this expertise we will be able to share data and plan, in partnership with patients, the best way to deliver care to people with long term conditions based on their needs using the latest technology to support this.”

Roz Davies, a patient who lives with type 1 Diabetes added:  “Many people in our region like me live with complex health conditions. We are all different but we all want to live as well and independently as possible. This is an opportunity to work together to unleash the potential of digital resources which could help us to feel more confident, informed, connected and in control of our health.”

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council said: “As one of the main social care providers in the area, we are always looking at how we can transform how we care and support people. A major part of this will be adopting new technologies and this test bed will allow us to work together with industry experts to provide an individualised approach that will help to keep people well in their own homes.”

Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield said: “The University’s role as a lead evaluator of the technology and system change is critical not only to ensure the Test Bed improves health in our region, but also provides good economic value. A flagship for the Sheffield City Region’s Care 2050 initiative, it demonstrates our ability to deliver the technologies and systems necessary for affordable and sustainable future healthcare.”

Colin Lewry, Partner at GE Healthcare Finnamore said: “We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise to work with health and social care providers across the region to revolutionise the way care is delivered to people in their own homes and in the community through the use of new technology.”

Dr Des Breen, Medical Director for the Working Together Programme said: “This test bed has the potential to revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered. By reshaping the care pathways and with the aid of technology, patients will be empowered to take care of their own long term conditions. The care will be individual to their needs. It means that the treatment of their conditions can be delivered as close to the home as possible and for as long as appropriate. The new technology and care pathways will see a graded response in healthcare intervention depending on the health needs. This will start with the patient and family. This will deliver an appropriate level of care at the right time in the right place as early as possible”.

Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive described the test beds as a key strand of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which will help realise the ambition of reforming the NHS so that it is fit to face the challenges of the 21st Century – particularly an ageing population and an increase in patients with long-term health conditions – while remaining financially sustainable.


The Perfect Patient Pathway test bed will:

  • Create an ‘ecosystem’ for innovations in technology to be tested before being embedded as routine care on a wide scale with patients across the Sheffield City region. The approach will ensure technology is at all times embedded in transformed care services.
  • Use technological innovations to promote and support whole-person care. The programme will combine technologies to provide a personalised package of support for each patient, which addresses their needs in the round.
  • Shift self-care from the margins to the mainstream. Through rolling out home-based monitoring devices and smartphone apps at scale, patients will be supported to understand their condition and how best to manage it at home. For the more vulnerable, discrete remote monitoring systems will support independent living – giving peace of mind to patients, families and professionals. This includes everything from monitoring falls risk through gait assessment, tracking location for people with dementia, and sensors on televisions (monitoring for sensory problems), kettles and fridges (mobility, nutrition) and even curtains (mobility, air quality).
  • Provide equally for people’s physical and mental health needs. The Test Bed partners will provide technology with a particular focus on care and self-care for people with mental health problems (including dementia), as well as using technology to support the mental well-being of patients with long term conditions.
  • Use data to drive real change and improve effectiveness. A ground-breaking Intelligence Centre will collate and analyse data and trends to enable health and social care organisations to anticipate changing demand and patterns in long term conditions at both individual patient level and across the region’s population.
  • Challenge health and care providers to think and work differently. Empowered self-care will fundamentally change the dynamics and power relationships between patients and health and care professionals, enabling joint decision making.

 Who is involved?

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the lead organisation, working with:

  • NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Sheffield Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Healthwatch Sheffield
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Working Together Vanguard
  • Commissioners Working Together
  • Primary Care Sheffield
  • Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
  • The University of Sheffield
  • Sheffield Hallam University (SHU)
  • Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network
  • NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber
  • General Electric, IBM and Apple
  • Kinesis Health Technologies
  • St Bernard Location Service and TSSM
  • Insulcheck
  • Inhealthcare
  • WellKom International
  • Medtronic
  • Humetrix
  • Aseptike Ltd
  • Oviva
  • TEVA
  • Tinder Foundation
  • Big White Wall

Affiliated partner organisations include:

  • Centre for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology
  • National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Medilink
  • Medipex
  • NIHR Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Cooperative
  • NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Cooperative
  • Sheffield Cubed
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association
  • The Northern Health Science Alliance
  • Voluntary Action Sheffield
  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Media Contacts:

Julie Phelan, Director of Marketing & Communications,
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. email:

Shaun Lockwood, Marketing & Communications Manager,
Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, email: