Medical selfies and patient generated health data

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Bernd Ploderer
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Smartphones and wearable technologies provide exciting opportunities for patients and health professionals to transform healthcare. Patients can benefit from photos (“medical selfies”) taken on their smartphone to record a condition that they want to discuss with a health professional. Wearable devices allow patients to semi-automatically collect data about their physical activity, sleep, mood, diet, etc. This data can help patients to better understand a health concern, its underlying causes, and the impact of treatments. Clinicians, on the other hand, can benefit from medical selfies and patient-generated health data to learn about the impact of their interventions and their patients’ lived experience.

The aim of the proposed research project is to develop a better understanding of the experiences of patients and health professionals and to design and evaluate new technology prototypes. The proposed research will benefit from established partnerships with patients and health professionals as well as innovative technology prototypes in the following domains:

  • Diabetes self-management
  • Sleep and lifestyle tracking
  • Post-stroke rehabilitation

Research activities

This research project may involve the following activities:

  1. qualitative research through interviews, observations, and cultural probes to understand the technologies used and the experiences of patients and clinicians
  2. participatory design workshops to create technologies with patients and clinicians
  3. prototyping of mobile applications and wearable technology designs
  4. field studies where patients and clinicians trial prototypes


  1. Novel interactive technologies designed with and for patients and healthcare professionals
  2. New human-computer interaction theories describing how personal data and technologies influence health management and interactions between patients and health professionals
  3. Participatory design methods to engage patients and health professionals

Skills and experience

We are looking for students with a strong background in human-computer interaction, ideally with an interest in qualitative research, participatory design, and/or prototyping.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.