STRETCH: Socio-Technical Resilience for Enhancing Targeted Community Healthcare

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)


Treating older adults for medical conditions is complicated because they may need treatment for multiple conditions and they may also have chronic conditions such as reduced strength, mobility, hearing, eyesight or cognitive impairments such as dementia. This means hospital in-patient treatments may take longer and they may be unable to leave hospital to recover at home if they do not have a spouse/partner or family/friends/neighbours able to look after them. Older adults recovering at home frequently rely on 'circles of support' which range from relatives and neighbours, to the voluntary sector, social workers, paid carers, and medical professionals.

The STRETCH project aims to help coordinate these circles of support with both wearable and smart home technologies to enhance the social and technical resilience of these circles of support. This should have the double benefit of increasing NHS capacity to cope with increasing numbers of older patients while improving care by making sure that medical professionals have timely and accurate information at all times about their patients. By having intelligently combined both the human and sensor-based sources of data, physicians will be able to recognize when a patient is deteriorating and intervene early to pre-empt problems or longer hospital stays.

Planned Impact

We are proposing a multi-disciplinary programme of research that will demand and deliver contributions across ICT, Healthcare Technologies, and Social and Clinical Psychology. The results of the project will address research challenges of engineering ICT solutions that contribute to software engineering, ubiquitous computing, and usable interactive technologies, in settings that are informed by and evaluated in social and clinical contexts that will also be investigated in this project.

The primary impact target of the STRETCH project is on the delivery of effective community healthcare that is enhanced by socio-technical resilience. As such we expect the outcomes of the proposed research to have direct impact on the work of health and social care practitioners and enhance the quality of care experienced by patients. We also expect the findings on how to deliver more resilient, targeted community healthcare, to have impact on health policy makers and wider society. Finally, we expect that the STRETCH technology platform will enable others to build resilient socio-technical systems that combine ubiquitous computing technologies, adaptive user interfaces and trade-off driven information flows.

In short, the project will deliver fundamental research framed in an applied healthcare context.


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Price B (2017) Logging you, Logging me in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies