Project code



School of Computing

Start dates

February and October

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

This is a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship, to commence in October or February.

The project is supervised by Dr Philip Scott, Dr Helena Herrera, and Prof Gordon Blunn.

Annual NHS expenditure on medication is over £15 billion, but within ten days of a new prescription a third of patients do not take it as directed. Many patients experience avoidable drug errors due to incomplete information-sharing between care providers.

Your aim in this project is to improve medication adherence for patients with long-term conditions through the use of personal health records. You'll explore how clinically-defined information standards and computerised health records (patient-held, organisational, regional) support medicine optimisation for hospitalised patients.

The work will include:

  • exploring the practical experience of healthcare professionals who are implementing Professional Record Standards Body for health and social care (PRSB) standards, and the effect of variations in the computer systems that apply to them
  • the use of mixed methods, including: qualitative exploration of user experience through observation and interview (patient and practitioner); quantitative analysis of outcome variables such as patient adherence to prescriptions, metrics of usability and user satisfaction and errors in prescription and administration
  • use of the realist evaluation framework to identify the ideal configuration of context, mechanism and outcome in the use of information standards and computerised health records for the optimisation of medicine
  • attending a range of Graduate School courses in research methodology

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has led work with NHS England, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry to develop a framework for medicines optimisation.

Current health policy outlines patient empowerment as an essential driver for change, and highlights computerised personal health records as a way to support that.

However, the evidence base for personal health record benefits remains inconclusive. Evidence of the positive impact of electronic information systems in regards to cost, quality and safety of healthcare, remains contested.

Experts remain split on the existing evidence, between aspirational “believers” and more cautious evaluators. While it seems obvious that having better information about a patient will improve care, the translation of information into better decision-making is not well understood.

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2022/2023 fees (applicable for October 2022, February and April 2023 start) 

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students
(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £18,300 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

  • A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject.
  • Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
  • The candidate should have a background in Computer Science or Mathematics.
  • Prior knowledge of machine learning is desirable.

Make an enquiry

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to apply

To start your application, or enquire further about the process involved, please contact Dr Philip Scott at ( quoting both the project code CCTS4381020 and the project title.

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now