The Programme

The Five Year Forward View included plans to set up NHS Test Beds to evaluate the impact of new technologies and innovations in how health and social care are delivered.

The Sheffield City Region Perfect Patient Pathway (PEPPA) (@Perfect_pathway) was selected as a Test Bed in January 2016 and aims to bring new benefits to patients with multiple long-term conditions through the combination and integration of innovative technologies and pioneering service designs.

The ambition is to keep patients well and independent by avoiding crisis points that result in unnecessary hospital attendances, intensive rehabilitation and the need for high levels of social care support.

The project is led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and involves 29 partners, including 15 companies and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.


The NHS Test Beds programme provides opportunities to combine different technologies with innovations in service delivery. By evaluating this ‘combinatorial innovation’ approach robustly, it will be possible to identify those high impact innovations that produce significant health improvements at the same or less cost than existing practice. For example, this could be a new service delivery model for people with dementia that combines wearable devices linked to mobile or other digital technology implemented alongside technology-enabled housing and a lower cost nurse or allied health professional workforce model.
This programme is ambitious in its scale and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, in partnership with the AHSN national network, has had and will continue to have an integral role in facilitating and supporting the Sheffield City Region PEPPA Test Bed and enabling a spread of knowledge and opportunity between Test Bed sites and the wider healthcare networks.

How are we helping?

The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN provided extensive support to NHS England, health and social care organisations across Yorkshire & Humber, and global innovators during selection of the Test Bed sites in 2015, and will continue to support the inception and roll-out of the SCR Test Bed programme and any proposals to create a Wave 2 of Test Bed sites, including:

  • Catalysing innovator / industry engagement and partnerships with consortiums bidding to become Test Bed sites;
  • Working intensively with the health economies and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN member organisations across the region to support the design and creation of their Test Bed propositions and refine and define the key challenges that innovators should seek to address;
  • Working nationally with NHS England to co-design the programme and evaluate and assess innovator applications;
  • Supporting the SCR PEPPA Test Bed industry partners to profile their innovations and identifying mechanisms to encourage the spread of the highest value innovations more widely throughout the NHS, using test-beds as incubators for developing the evidence-base to advocate for wider diffusion.

Our Impact to date

The Sheffield City Region PEPPA Test Bed was announced as one of the first wave of seven pioneering Test Bed sites by NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens at the World Economic Forum in January 2016.

Next Steps

To find out more about the national NHS Test Bed programme visit

The PErfect Patient PAthway (PEPPA) test bed (Sheffield region)

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)
  • University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research
  • Sheffield Hallam University (SHU)
  • Academic Health Science Network – Yorkshire and Humber
  • NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber
  • General Electric
  • IBM and Apple
  • Kinesis Health Technologies
  • St Bernard Location Service and TSSM
  • Insulcheck
  • WellKom International
  • Medtronic
  • Humetrix
  • Aseptika 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

Patient population size

Our Test Bed covers the population of the Sheffield City region which is just over two and a half million people.


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

The aim is to keep patients with long-term conditions well, independent and avoiding crisis points which often result in hospital admission, intensive rehabilitation and a high level of social care support.
The 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 and clinically robust ways of working.
  • 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.
  • The Perfect Patient Pathway test bed will enable health and social care organisations across the Sheffield region to share data and plan, in partnership and with patients, the best way to deliver care to people with long term conditions based on their needs and wants and using the latest technology to support this.
  • The test bed will initially focus on people with three or more long-term conditions across the Sheffield City Region. The vision for the programme is to create a model that will support holistic care for people, irrespective of age, condition or health status, and that will be spread across England.