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Unit information: Responsible Innovation and Research Methods in Digital Health in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Responsible Innovation and Research Methods in Digital Health
Unit code EENGM0023
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. McNaney
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of this unit is to provide students with a thorough grounding in research methods used in the development and validation of digital devices and associated algorithms in health and care. Ethical issues associated with the design, development, evaluation, distribution and application of digital technology will be introduced, along with concepts such as privacy, safety, device regulation and the law.

Unit content:

  • The main forms of data held by health and social care organizations
  • Issues around interoperability, governance and GDPR.
  • The value of working with communities, participatory design, Public Engagement and Public Patient Involvement (PPI) will be explained in terms of anticipating acceptability issues, de-risking subject recruitment to a trial and thinking through the impact of a new technology on wider society.
  • Use of behavioural theory and behavioural analysis to anticipate and address behavioural, feasibility, engagement and implementation issues.
  • Introduction to issues that may arise relating to protected characteristics (such as race, gender and disability) and ensuring that research and product development is undertaken in an inclusive manner, making use of PPI and user-centered/participatory design.
  • Opportunities to develop technologies that specifically address health problems in e.g. vulnerable or minority groups.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed this unit, the student is expected to:

  1. Be able to explain and justify how data is collected, stored and responsibly shared in and between health and care settings
  2. Discuss processes relating to clinical trials
  3. Explain and be able to apply the current regulatory guidelines associated with data collection and sharing between industry and research organisations, and health and care settings
  4. Critically discuss the major societal challenges around ensuring that the needs of diverse health communities are adequately represented in novel technologies.
  5. Recognise the importance of behavioural analysis, drawing on theory and evidence.

Teaching details

This unit will consist of a combination of teaching and learning methods including key lectures, group seminars and structured reflection.

Assessment Details

500 word written critical appraisal of a specific relevant research paper, 40% (ILOs 1, 2).

Written group task where ethical questions linked to responsible innovation in digital health will be posed. Each group will need to discuss their views and ideas by means of an online collaborative space and formulate an agreed written 1,000 word response that represents a balanced answer to the problem. 60% (All ILOs).

Reading and References

Selected literature, references and online material will be provided at the start of the unit