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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

New heart research facility opens in Jersey

05 November 2019

Logo of a blue heart being held in hands

A new heart research facility has opened in Jersey and has already attracted world-wide attention and acclaim.

The facility, called the Allan Lab, is an Immersive Digital Health technologies research laboratory based at Maison Le Pape in St Helier.

It was recently launched by Consultant Cardiologist Dr Andrew Mitchell and Associate Specialist Dr Austin Gibbs, both of whom work for Health and Community Services. The lab has two full time doctors as well as part-time students and nurses and is also supporting post-graduate qualifications and training.

The Allan Lab is a project funded from gift funds held by Health and Community Services.

The doctors’ work is attracting interest from leading global digital health technology companies such as Apple, IBM and Alibaba as well as professional organizations including the British Heart Foundation, European Society of Cardiology and the University of Toronto.

On the back of this work the doctors have been invited to give keynote talks at major international conferences as well as a recent visit by Dr Gibbs to No10 Downing Street to advise on related health policy.

"The main focus of our research is to explore emerging digital health technologies to advance the understanding of heart conditions and to also provide immersive simulation, procedural training and medical education" says Dr Mitchell.

"We aim to investigate, test, develop and produce clinical outcome data for a full spectrum of heart disease, from prevention and lifestyle modification, screening of individuals, as well as treatments to reduce the burden of physical and psychological disease", said Dr Gibbs.

Working with the hospital, the Allan Lab is developing immersive medical education and training, using Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and is examining the physical impact of this using highly sensitive biometric equipment.

Not only is the Allan Lab providing world-leading heart research, but it is helping attract companies to test and innovate in Jersey. "This new innovative health research space dovetails with Digital Jersey’s Sandbox strategy and the Digital Skills Academy", says Dr Gibbs.

"By engaging-with and attracting health tech companies, both local and overseas, we can help open up the possibility of a new economic sector for Jersey. It gives the digital skills academy and local students valuable work experience embedded with tech companies, as well as the added benefit of attracting and retaining high calibre healthcare staff by offering them truly cutting-edge clinical and academic opportunities".

Minister for Health and Community Services, Deputy Richard Renouf said: "I am delighted that this innovation has been developed which will not only benefit patients but is also showcasing the skills and knowledge of our local expert teams, while helping to put Jersey on the map. It is an example of great innovation and how digital technology can really link with healthcare. I wish the team every success."

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