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Improving communication amongst healthcare professionals with an app – Bal Singh

Date published: 10/07/18

An image of Mr Bal Singh, the University of Leeds Beckett secondee

Improving communication amongst healthcare professionals with an app

  • Name:  Bal Singh
  • Current Organisation: Leeds Beckett University
  • Current Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Secondment organisation: Grandham Industries Limited

A smart collaboration for intelligent app design

My name is Bal Singh and I am interested in the application of machine learning methods through mobile platforms in the field of health and wellbeing. I am senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University in the School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering. My current research focus is in applying machine learning technologies to health data. I belong to the Data Science and AI group, led by Professor Hissam Tawfik.

As well as teaching and research, I have also been managing an app development studio based within our school. Through this role, I have gained a wealth of knowledge in applying theoretical concepts to real world applications. In discussions with the host company, we have identified a big area of research and development, which needs to be further explored in order to secure additional funding.

The Translate: The secondment will take place at Gandham Industries, led by a medical technology specialist who is also a medical doctor in the NHS. This makes the host company ideal for this collaboration. My secondment funding will allow us to gain an insight into the current practices and data available in order to propose and develop a suitable mobile app. The development of this technology will make use of machine learning methods in order to make error free decisions in a medical setup.

This collaboration will enable us to understand the effectiveness of AI when implementing a smart decision-making algorithm in the form of a mobile app. The secondment will enable us to observe different scenarios in a clinical/medical technology research and development setup. This will allow us to systematically understand the current workflows, different contexts and current practices. On completion of this secondment, we will be able to apply for bigger research grants to continue to facilitate the development of this technology.

My secondment with Grandham Industries Limited constitutes making regular visits to the host company and having face to face discussions. We have been working on the design of a smartphone app which is proposed to be used in a healthcare setting. The amount of work we have done so far is way beyond what we would have done if we were communicating via emails etc.

As far as the product design and development is concerned, both organisations work on same principles. We believe in the value of thorough research, not only from authoritative academic sources, but also investigating current technological advances. I think it is a wonderful idea for academic institutions and industry to form collaborations in order to come up with cutting edge products.

It is worth noting that, at least in my experience, this kind of collaboration is not restricted to just the project in hand. Through our conversations we have already started exploring further knowledge exchange opportunities. Whilst we are working on a joint bid to secure further funding for the development of this proposed smartphone application, we have started discussions about our other areas of interest and expertise as well.

For example, we also specialise in the use of virtual reality in health and wellbeing. The host company has indicated that they are interested in pursuing a further collaboration in this field. They are fascinated by the concept of virtual physiotherapy and would like to learn more about this. They are also very much interested in learning more about our research in machine learning applied to health data.

All in all, this secondment is acting as a catalyst to strengthen our relationship with the host company and we are looking forward to a very long partnership.