1 May 2019

Four medical students have been awarded £1000 each from a recently launched bursary that aims to advance the development of cutting-edge digital technology to improve patient care.

The Digital Health Bursary is a joint initiative between BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and DRIVE, which is Great Ormond Street Hospital’s new Digital Research, Informatics and Virtual Environment unit, the first of its kind in the world.

DRIVE aims to become a world leading clinical informatics unit focused on data analysis, accelerating research and the deployment of cutting-edge technology. It will harness the powerful combination of rich health data with data science and digital innovation and develop scalable solutions to enhance health services not only for GOSH patients but across the wider NHS.

Individually, the students will study a range of issues including examining brain computer interfaces that could restore sight or hearing; using smartphones and wearable hi tech to assess a patient’s heart vessels; looking at how AI is applied in MRI machine diagnosis and using machine learning to help treat psoriasis.

Harpreet Sood, BCS Health and Care Vice Chair, commented: “This award is the first to give students a unique opportunity to widen their horizons by working in a digital health setting.

“It aligns with the ethos of BCS in developing people to provide a safe positive future with technology. With our partners DRIVE we look forward to expanding and a big congratulations to our winners!”

Prof Neil Sebire, DRIVE Managing Director commented: “DRIVE is delighted to collaborate with BCS to support medical students’ electives in healthcare technology. We recognise this will become a hugely important area for future medicine.

“We are looking forward to collating and capturing learnings from these electives through our DRIVE informatics programme for the benefit of patients.”

BCS and DRIVE hope this new initiative will provide an opportunity to encourage and enable more medical students to engage with digital clinical informatics and its application in healthcare. The aim is to ensure better and safer healthcare in the UK and revolutionise health service delivery in the UK.

Following the completion of the placement, all the students will present the findings of their research projects back to the health community via publications and presentations.

Benjamin Jones, Dina Radenkovic, Gabriel Lee, Halimat Afolabi

Full list of award winners:

  • Benjamin Jones will be on a placement at the University of California Irvine to develop an understanding of the emerging field of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs allow bidirectional information flow between the brain and an external computer, meaning these devices have the potential to restore damaged vision or hearing, reverse disorders of consciousness and even augment our own capabilities by connecting human minds with those of intelligent machines.
  • Gabriel Lee will be working on a placement at University College Hospital, which will look at using data analytics from phone calls, smartphones and wearables to generate insights to evaluate the state of a patient’s heart in the same way a cardiologist would do in a face-to-face consultation.
  • Dina Radenkovic will spend four weeks at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University and four weeks at the Barts Heart Centre. The aim of the project will be to evaluate and validate machine learning methods used to produce automatic cardiac magnetic resonance images.
  • Halimat Afolabi will be taking part in a bioinformatics and machine learning project at Newcastle University. The project aims to deliver better treatments for psoriasis sufferers through the use of machine learning algorithms.

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