Technological innovation and health

Ella Rhodes reports on the AXA PPP Health Tech and You Awards.

We’re currently living through a healthcare revolution, with more and more innovative technology and apps being used across numerous conditions. The work of psychologists, and many others, in this field have been honoured in the shortlist of this year’s AXA PPP Health Tech and You Awards across six categories.

An app developed by clinical psychologist Dr Nihara Krause has been shortlisted in the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Challenge category. The Calm Harm app is aimed at children and young people by giving them tasks to help them combat self-harm urges through self-control, care for themselves rather than harm, express their feelings in a different way or provide ideas for alternatives to self-injury. Users can also add their own tasks, and the app is entirely private and password-protected.

The shortlist for the Trending Award included MyAsthma, an app that helps people to understand their condition, its triggers and treatment. Another shortlisted entry, Kardia Mobile, is a device that can be attached to a smartphone and is smaller than a credit card, which allows people to check their heart rhythm regularly – particularly useful for people with arrhythmia or other heart problems.

The Future Award recognises products, services, systems or devices that address future health challenges. This year’s shortlist included some truly futuristic health technology, Sensewear: clothes and accessories that aim to stimulate and improve awareness of the senses, while training people to better use them all. Some Sensewear items are designed to mute physical sensations, some to sharpen them. This technology has been inspired by therapies applied to sensory-processing disorders and developed with the help of therapists who work with people affected by autism.

In the Health Tech & Age Award, aimed at technology to help people post-retirement, was Memrica Prompt, a platform that helps people who are anxious about forgetting people and places, by linking photos, videos and shared histories to reminders to help users prepare for each day. The system also delivers a summary of each day to embed recall, learns users’ patterns of behaviour and can begin to predict what information will be needed, delivering it when required without having to set a reminder.

Finally, the Wow! Award includes pieces of technology entered into other categories that the judges saw to be truly ‘standout and disruptive’ innovations that will get everyone talking. This year included HealthUnlocked, the largest social network for health in the world, which includes hundreds of online support communities and patient advocacy groups and charities to help people with certain health conditions find support and expertise. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony in London’s Design Museum on April 27. 

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