Digital Health and Social Care research group

Conducting research into digital technologies in health and social care.


The use of digital technologies, such as video consultations, mobile phone apps and ways of monitoring peoples’ symptoms at home are becoming common across health and social care.

The Digital Health and Social Care Research Group (DHSCRG) is based in the Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at The University of Manchester.

We are a multidisciplinary group that carries out research exploring the use of these technologies in health and social care settings. 

We work collaboratively with other research groups in the Division, as well as across the University, UK and internationally.

Our focus is on the use of digital technologies in the nursing, midwifery, allied health professional and social work professions. We hold regular research meetings where we focus on issues related to the development and use of digital technology in health and social care settings.   


Our research

We work collaboratively with research groups across the Division and the wider University for two key aims.

Developing digital technologies

Aim: To develop digital tools and technologies that can be used to help support health and social care professionals and patients in their care.

Lead:  Helen Hawley-Hague

Evaluating digital technologies

Aim: To evaluate how well digital technologies work in health and social care settings and how it impacts on patient care or other outcomes

In this theme we explore:

  • How introducing digital technologies affects the way health and social care is delivered.
  • How their use can impact on patients, and other care recipients. This includes a focus on potential digital inclusion/exclusion of marginalised groups.

Lead: Dawn Dowding

Who we are

Find out more about the people working in the Digital Health and Social Care Research Group.

Professor Dawn Dowding

Dawn is Professor in Clinical Decision Making and Lead for the group.

She has an interest in the development and evaluation of decision support technologies.

View Dawn’s research profile

Dr Helen Hawley-Hague

Helen is a Research Fellow and Deputy Lead for the group.

She has a particular interest in developing and evaluating technologies to support healthy ageing, falls prevention to support rehabilitation, and in the use of healthcare.

View Helen’s research profile

Dr Emma Stanmore

Emma is Reader and Lead of Healthy Ageing Research Group

View Emma’s research profile

Professor Susan Kirk

Susan has long-standing interests in relation to how health technology shapes personal identities and relationships, and its role in supporting self-management for children and adults living with long-term health conditions.

View Susan’s research profile

Dr Alex Hall

Alex is a Research Fellow with interests in implementation of technologies in health and social care settings, and in questions concerning digital inclusion/exclusion of older adults.

View Alex’s research profile

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham

Dharman is a Lecturer in Social Work.

View Dharman’s research profile



Dr Paul Clarkson

Dr Paul Clarkson is a Senior Lecturer in Social Care and undertakes research on service evaluation for adults with serious and longstanding mental health problems; older people and long-term care; psychological and social care services for military veterans; cost-effectiveness analyses (with a particular focus on social care); policy evaluations; preference elicitation studies; dementia home support; preventative assessment in adults and older people.

View Paul’s research profile

Dr Katherine Rogers

Katherine is a Research Fellow, involved in the Social Research for Deaf People (SORD) group, which she co-leads.

View Katherine’s research profile

Dr Ross Atkinson

Dr Ross Atkinson is Programme Manager in the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration – Greater Manchester (NIHR ARC-GM) and support the digital health theme within the ARC-GM.

View Ross’s profile here

Dr Janice Christie

Dr Janice Christie is a Senior Lecturer who undertakes research on wound care and community/public health related matters.

View Janice’s profile here

Amy Vercell

Amy is the Chief Clinical Information Officer for Nursing and Allied Health Professionals and an Acute Oncology Advanced Nurse Practitioner at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. In 2021, she completed a NIHR ARC GM funded pre-doctoral fellowship supervised by Professor Dawn Dowding and Professor Janelle Yorke. She frequently collaborates with the other digital health researchers, bringing a wealth of clinical expertise, and utilising her research findings within her Christie role to ensure any digital interventions implemented are evidenced based and clinically meaningful.

View Amy’s LinkedIn profile here


Public engagement

Whenever we do anything around technology development we like to get patients and the public involved from the start of the process (conception) through to development.

For example, the Keep On Keep Up (KOKU) app was co-designed with older adults to ensure it was as personalised as possible to meet their needs. Watch a YouTube video by Dr Emma Stanmore who discusses the design and evaluation of this mobile app to encourage physical activity and prevent falls in older people.

The TOGETHER study (NIHR Fellowship) we engaged patients throughout the process and our patient representatives helped demonstrate the technology to new participants interested in taking part in the trial. Watch a YouTube video about the apps designed to support falls rehabilitation and patient and health professionals’ experiences of them.

Training opportunities

We are happy to supervise students who would like to conduct a PhD in the area of digital technologies in the health and social care professions.

A number of our PhD students have funded studentships from the NIHR.

Find PhD projects and information on funding and self-funding at the following links:

Find out more about the PhD students working in the Digital Health and Social Care Research Group.

Norina Gasteiger

Norina is a PhD student, funded by the NIHR ARC (GM), who is undertaking a realist evaluation of extended reality (augmented and virtual reality) training to upskill care home workers in hand hygiene.

View Norina’s research profile

Claire Ford

Claire Ford is a PhD student who is designing, developing and feasibility testing virtual realtiy (VR) as a method of educating care home and nursing home staff in falls prevention.

View Claire’s LinkedIn profile here

Josh Devlin

Josh is a PhD student, funded by the ESRC / North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, and is exploring the physical, imagined and discursive mobilities and sense-making in child protection social work.

View Josh’s profile here

Jo-Fan Pan

Jo Fan is a PhD student, funded by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan, and his research is exploring the usability of continuous monitoring and deterioration alerting systems.

View Jo-Fan’s LinkedIn profile here

Sally Hoodless

Sally is a PhD student, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, who is examining technology assisted implementation of the FaME falls prevention programme among community-dwelling older adults.

View Sally’s research profile here

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about our research group or to join, please email the Lead, Professor Dawn Dowding.