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HELIX Centre

The Healthcare Innovation Exchange Centre

The Healthcare Innovation Exchange (HELIX) Centre is a collaboration between the RCA's Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Imperial College London. In partnership with Imperial Health Trust St Mary's Hospital, it brings together design researchers and clinical staff to tackle the big demands in healthcare today.

The goal of HELIX is simple: to address real healthcare problems by translating research into evidence based solutions. HELIX use various design methods to rapidly dissect problems, envisage opportunities and prototype solutions.

HELIX addresses five major global health challenges: managing chronic conditions; trauma care and rehabilitation; care of the elderly; managing long-term conditions; and staying healthy. On-going design initiatives range from product, digital and service redesign, with current projects working to improve end-of-life care; transform the experience of patients with cancer services; create a novel low-cost device and app to better manage and diagnose asthma in children; and develop game-ified interventions to support children to be more active and challenge obesity.

Led by Professor Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the Institute for Global Health Innovation at ICL, and Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, HELIX has established a multidisciplinary team working from the HELIX pop-up studio. Opened in February 2015, the studio is uniquely embedded within a public hospital where scientists, engineers, designers, policy makers and psychologists work together with doctors, nurses and patients to explore and co-develop new ideas into prototype products, processes and services.

HELIX was supported initially by a grant from the HEFCE catalyst fund. Since the launch, additional funding secured from the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation, the Oak Foundation and The Eranda Foundation.