Sheffield investigator

Professor Mark Hawley

Sheffield researcher

Katherine Easton

Simon Brownsell

Steve Blackburn


Tunstall Healthcare

Looking Local

Housing 21

Fold Housing Association


Technology Strategy Board

About the project

The extra care housing model is highly successful in providing care and support for older people, those with long-term health conditions and people with disabilities. The VIRTEx project (virtual extra care service) studied the potential for extending the extra care model to build a virtual community of connected carers and cared-for people.

The development of new and innovative health and IT services could help reduce social isolation, encourage activities and social interaction, and keep people in touch with each other – including health and social care professionals.

Sheffield worked with users to identify requirements and produce a specification for the system and then evaluated a prototype system with users. Five main user requirement themes were identified:

  1. Information access

  2. Communication

  3. Self-care

  4. Accessibility

  5. Personalisation of services

The VIRTEx project was supported by the Technology Strategy Board under the Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP).