Healthy Longevity Champion set to fight for healthy aging

Tina Woods will accelerate aging intelligence and longevity strategy, driving towards better health and longer life for all.

The UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) has announced that Tina Woods has come on board as Healthy Longevity Champion.

Longevity.Technology: Partnering with NICA, Woods will help to accelerate aging intelligence and further secure UK Research and Innovation’s strategic aims to ensure better health, aging and wellbeing in the UK and globally. She will also inform the innovation missions set out by the new National Science and Technology Council.

While developing the UK’s global leadership in science and technology, Woods will support the ambitions to aggregate and accelerate a national federated, open, data-driven, knowledge and insight epicentre. This epicentre will harness ethically-driven AI to scale societal and commercial impact, as well as meeting the UK’s Levelling Up missions to increase healthy life expectancy and close the gap in health and wellbeing inequalities.

Recognising the significance of researching and supporting healthy aging, extension of lifespan and promotion of healthspan through national planning and infrastructure is to be celebrated.

Woods will also use her experience to help NICA sustain and enhance its programmes, with a particular focus on Longevity as a Service (LaaS), City of Longevity (longevicity) and the Internet of Caring Things (IoCT) on a national and global scale.

Woods told Longevity.Technology that by 2024, NHS and care spend is predicted to account for a colossal 44 percent of all public sector spending in the UK.

“The NHS spends vast sums treating people whose conditions are avoidable – and by some estimates 40 percent of its costs go on treating preventable conditions,” she explains. “This is the burning platform to shift sickcare to a new model based on healthy longevity for all. Working in step with government’s global ambitions in science and technology and guiding business practice, innovation and long-term investment by bringing ‘health’ into ESG mandates we can achieve equitable health and wellbeing outcomes with impact and scale.”

Longevity Cities

‘Longevity Cities’ is a strategic initiative developed by the NICA, National Innovation Centre for Ageing, and supported by the World Bank, that is rooted in the principle of ‘health is the new wealth’.

The first Longevity City is being trialled in Newcastle, and is acting as the template for cities around the world, including Milan, Tokyo, Barcelona, and Hamilton in Canada.

The Longevity City template is based on two key principles: one, that shared prosperity and wellbeing needs meaningful engagement with citizens, across the generations, and two, inequalities need to be addressed. Importantly, Longevity Cities are focused on all ages, across the lifecourse, and not limited by more traditional notions of ‘healthy ageing’ that only focus on improving old age.

The aim is to create environments that make it easy for people to follow healthier lifestyles well before old age, enabled by infrastructure, services and policies that also influence the social determinants responsible for 80% of our health.

Internet of Caring Things

Longevity Cities are experimenting with tools and technologies through the ‘Internet of Caring Things’, IoCT, initiative funded by NICA, North of Tyne Combined Authority and deep tech innovation organisation CPI. Local residents and 600 businesses in the region are involved.

The goal of IoCT is to work with local people and businesses to build a world-class innovation ecosystem, testing out technologies and devices on the high street, in day-to-day touchpoints – social activities like dining, shopping, walking etc.

The idea is that connected objects and cognitive systems will be designed to actively care for people, enhance their physical and mental wellbeing, by understanding and measuring their day-to-day interactions – what really matters, what people really care about, what makes them feel good.

The IoCT project will help to develop NICA’s methodology called ‘Ageing Intelligence’® – capturing and analysing data to understand human behaviour and applying consumer insights into the development of future products and services that will make it easier for people to keep healthy and well and be looked after in ways that are most meaningful to them.

For example, one of the main causes of hospitalisation for older adults is falling at home. We already have smart watches, which measure falls and call emergency numbers. However, once you fall, you have fallen. The IoCT is looking at why a person falls and how we can prevent falls in the first place through predictive technologies and alert systems in falls prediction and prevention.

The IoCT project will use technology to understand how people are feeling, and from this feeling understand if we can help them live a healthier and longer life. Machine learning can analyse data to show correlations between things that at first glance appear to be completely disconnected. For example, is the frequency with which people do their gardening or mow the lawn an indicator of wellbeing?

For IoCT to work at scale, we need residents to engage who are also happy to share their data. The underpinning architecture also needs to be interoperable and trustworthy.

This is is what is being addressed through the development of the Open Life Data Framework (OLDF), which was published in November 2021 with the support of George Freeman, Science and Innovation Minister. The Framework takes learnings from Open Banking, which created an open standard to facilitate data sharing and portability between banks and which fuelled the development of a fintech ecosystem benefitting consumers.

The Open Life Data Framework aims to create the enabling conditions for public and private sectors to share data for public benefit, while ensuring public trust.

Sharing health-relevant data held within the private sector could help enhance and level-up health- key missions of the Levelling Up agenda.

The Open Life Data Framework also supports the Government’s agile regulation agenda to create a pro-growth trusted data environment and initiatives like Smart Data, where the Government has already committed to legislate to enable schemes offering the ability for individuals to share data held by private companies with trusted third parties to help them make sense and use that data in innovative ways.

Ultimately the Framework aims to inform interoperability standards that will support innovation and perhaps one day become the underpinning architecture to create a healthy longevity ‘scalebox’.

Longevity-as-a Service

The IoCT will underpin the development of Longevity-as-a Service, new products and services that mobilise data for AI in exciting areas, enabling the UK to demonstrate global leadership in digital regulation with robust global standards to become the world’s tech testbed.