News in brief: AHSN innovation funding, AI support for brain cancer patients, Facebook PhDs

As February draws to a close, it’s been yet another busy week in health tech. The World Health Organisation has released its first SMART Guidelines, ‘The First 100’ tech suppliers have joined a campaign by the International Department of Trade, and NHSX has formally launched its Digital Technology Assessment Criteria.

Here’s a round-up of some of the other interesting innovations, announcements, partnerships and developments that caught our eye recently…

West Midlands teams awarded WMAHSN innovation funding

Six health and social care teams from the West Midlands have been awarded funding from the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN).

Funding of up to £10,000 was available through the Safety Innovation & Improvement Fund, which will help each team to support the adoption of an innovation or improvement that will positively impact patients and service users.

Successful projects include ‘Self-testing devices for anti-coagulation patients’ from The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and ‘Reducing incidence and harm of extravasations’ and ‘Induction of labour co-ordinator’ by Birmingham Women’s & Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Other projects awarded the funding are ‘New Cross CALM: Civility, Appreciation and Learning in Maternity’ from The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Learning from Excellence QI’  initiative and Wye Valley NHS Trust’s ‘Care homes aspiration pneumonia prevention service (CHAPPS)’

Dumfries and Galloway HSCP collaborates with HAS Technology

The Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is collaborating with HAS Technology Group to support adults with intellectual disabilities and improve wellbeing and social care outcomes. Using ‘ARMED’ prevention technology to redesign its night-time support, the HSCP is also harnessing data to improve the decision-making process for better interventions.

ARMED combines predictive data analytics modelling with wearable technology, and health and social care data. This can help identify and predict factors that may impact a user’s quality of life.

By supporting people to be more active during the day and tailoring their activities, the tech can improve sleep patterns and lead to less intervention from overnight support staff.  This means night-time and sleepover support can be delivered based upon whoever has the greatest need.

Partnership to provide remote support for brain cancer patients

Vinehealth, a platform that utilises AI technology to create remote care solutions for cancer patients, has teamed up with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), the UK’s largest dedicated neurological and neurosurgical hospital.

The partnership has been created to provide remote personalised support for brain cancer patients, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life through self-management. Through the app, which will capture data points such as symptoms, side effects of treatment, and medication adherence, the aim is to help patients track, manage, and understand their care, and communicate easily with carers and medical professionals.

It’s hoped the platform will enable healthcare providers to understand patient needs better through the patient-collected data, and it will also deliver machine learning-driven educational content to patients.

Free online leadership skills course launched for healthcare professionals

Tunstall Healthcare, a solution provider, has announced the launch of a free online course for health, housing and social care professionals. The course will help up to 30 participants develop leadership skills, with the intention to invest in the talent of the future.

The programme, called ‘Rising Stars’, encompasses three modules delivered in a blended learning format. This will include distance learning, coached assignments and webinars, and cover areas such as presentation skills, effective meetings and media interactions.

Attendees will work with qualified business coaches to explore theory, thought and practical applications. The course also includes certification and a graduation ceremony.

UCL and FAIR partner up to launch PhD programme in the UK

University College London (UCL) and the AI research laboratory FAIR (Facebook AI Research) are working together to launch Facebook’s PhD programme in the UK.

Over the course of the year, four UCL PhD students will join a new research AI programme and be assigned FAIR mentors.

The four-year partnership is aiming to attract students that are interested in areas such as 3D computer vision, knowledge intensive and multilingual Natural Language Programming (NLP), and reinforcement learning (RL), but will also consider those interested in other emerging areas of AI. Projects will be published and open-source.

This collaboration with UCL brings Facebook’s PhD programme to the UK for the first time, although there are already similar programmes in the US, Canada and France.

IBM, Rolls-Royce and the Emergent Alliance offer data dashboards

IBM, Rolls-Royce and the Emergent Alliance have collaborated to launch intuitive data dashboards and predictive risk assessment tools, using the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

The products are designed to help understand the attitudes and behaviours among the general population, in regards to the ongoing pandemic. All data is anonymised and aggregated.

Data is curated from numerous trusted sources and includes social media content, stringency Index information published by University of Oxford, OEDC (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) data on economic impact and travel data from WFP (World Food Programme).

The new Regional Risk Pulse Index project, which the dashboards and virtual assistants are part of, aims to help local authorities determine the level of risk to health by incorporating information about population density, age of the local population, predicted COVID-19 infections, stringency index, and the change of behaviour and sentiment in the population.

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