Cognitant has clinched £30k in funding to help set up its “visual and interactive health information” platform, starting with a pilot at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The team, made up of Cognitant and members of the hospital, won the money as part of a national award, after presenting their ideas to a panel of judges. They will be working with kidney patients, and spending the funds on a pilot aimed at “finding more effective and efficient ways of communicating health and self-care information with patients” – in a bid to move away from traditional printed leaflets, and towards digital systems and immersive content, including some virtual reality content.

Cognitant explained that as part of the programme, 90 patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) will receive information in a range of ways, such as a printed leaflet, digitised text leaflet or a short immersive, interactive animation which they can view on their smartphone or tablet. Next, medics will test how well the patients have accessed, understood and acted on the information delivered through the three different channels.

The pilot comes at a times when research has shown that 47% of adults have problems understanding a lot of health information and 61% of people with long term health conditions have “limited” health literacy, a problem which is exacerbated when patients have virtual consultations and can't be handed leaflets to take away and read.

Cognitant chief executive officer Tim Ringrose hailed the award as a “great honour” and a “testimony to the great work and foresight of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.”

He went on to say that “New technology in the form of immersive content which is usable, accessible and reliable, has been proven to increase patient understanding of health and treatments. The upcoming project will demonstrate a new approach to allow kidney disease patients to understand both their health situation and the treatments recommended to them in the hope of bridging the information gap."