skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain


The project consists of multiple components. The first component focuses on how new technology, in particular, telemedicine and AI which is transforming how Moorfields’ services are being provided to visually-impaired patients at the organisational frontline. In particular, the researchers are investigating the rapid and unprecedented adoption of video consultations in innovating ophthalmic services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how emerging risks during a crisis shape service innovation at organisational frontlines. The implications of such rapid adaptations for Moorfields’ future service provision and business models post-COVID are also being considered.

Beyond this, the team is also working with Moorfields’ digital service hub to explore how other technologies – especially surrounding telemedicine – will shape the design and built environment of the future smart hospital. Digital technologies will be able to help clinicians provide better, more accurate, efficient and cost-effective care for patients, and inform the purpose-built hospital space with a new approach to service delivery. This will include developing new ways to support the satellites of different centres that work with Moorfields.

Finally, the project also explores how these transformations will necessitate a service transition effort impacting the user journey of the future. The research team is working with stakeholders at the Moorfields building-in-the-making to determine how best to deploy digital technologies to support staff and patients, and how the shift to the uptake of digital technologies around telemedicine and AI will impact Moorfields’ service provision. Such changes will also impact the ecosystem of care providers and lead to new responsibilities and roles being formed. Additionally, researchers aim to increase collaboration between younger, smaller start-ups and larger, more established companies up the value chain. Specifically, in focussing on the transitioning service journey for the visually impaired, researchers will build upon engagement between NHS Moorfields Eye Hospital and smaller, innovative companies with expertise in mobile-based AI and indoor/visual tracking – such as WayMap and Navvis – to aid patients’ navigation to and within the future hospital building. This aspect of the research may also offer a route to connect with Digital Twins.


Phase 1 (2020): The researchers built on an established formal collaboration with the Moorfields Innovation Hub. Data collection took place in Phase 1, with multiple rounds of interviews conducted with numerous groups of stakeholders. Preliminary data collection on the service transition and digital transformation of Moorfields’ built environment began but this observational ethnography was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Instead, the researchers took the opportunity to conduct Zoom interviews to study how technology was being used by Moorfields to respond to the pandemic and transform the organisational frontline of service provision.

Phase 2 (2021):  The research team has been analysing the data collected from Phase 1 and translating the findings into conceptual insights via journal articles. In Phase 2, the research team will write a white paper on “Telemedicine and Service Transition: Building hospitals in the post-COVID era”, as well as develop other papers for upcoming conferences. Furthermore, data collection on the service transition and digital transformation of Moorfields’ built environment will be resumed in the latter part of 2021.

Phase 3 (2022): Phase 3 will be focused on further developing the various outputs from the data and insights gained in Phases 1 and 2. This will include other academic journal articles, industry papers, as well as conference papers and specialised workshop presentations.


Navigation tools can provide a gateway to inclusivity for a sight-impaired community and will be crucial to Moorfields patients who will need to travel to and navigate a new site served by a range of transport hubs. This research project is exploring a range of technologies and apps to support patients to access services and appointments at Moorfields. Digital tools and technologies that provide information that enables access to spaces are of interest to other groups of people beyond the sight impaired community and provide good practice that supports inclusive universal design. 

As a world class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology shapes clinical applications and trials treatments at Moorfields bringing progressive research from ‘bench to bedside’. During the COVID-19 pandemic Moorfield developed virtual clinics to safeguard the health and wellbeing of patients and staff. While telemedicine is not a new technology, the rapid use of virtual clinics for sight impaired patients, where historically face-to-face examination has been key, is radical. Data from this recent development is currently being assessed in relation to patient prioritisation systems, potential permanent future service provision and built environment design to meet the needs of patients and clinicians.

Find out more

Find out more about this project in this RESEARCH PROFILEIf you would like to get in touch, please contact us through CDBB, or you can reach Michael Barett at

Project Status

This project is current.


Project publications will be listed here.