News, News in Brief

News in Brief: Boots, funding for healthy ageing start-ups, Alder Hey, ADASS, Patient Access, and acquisition news

As well as rain, the May Bank Holiday also brought us plenty of a health tech news – from Nottingham University Hospital’s aim to achieve HIMSS level 7, through to our report on digital hybrid plans from the House of Lords, and plenty of NHS recruitment announcements.

It’s been a busy week already here at HTN, too, following the launch of our new Digital Primary Care Conference – a one-day event to support digital in primary care, which will take place on 4 August 2021.

But that’s just for starters, as we’ve got plenty of new stories left up our sleeve for this week’s news in brief. Here are the latest developments that caught our attention…

Boots UK pens five-year contract with Cegedim Healthcare Solutions

Boots UK has signed a new five-year, multi-million pound agreement with Cegedim Healthcare Solutions, for the provision of essential services to support dispensing at its Boots Pharmacy stores.

Cegedim has been a solution partner to Boots since 2005, providing it with both front and back-end pharmacy IT solutions. Under the new agreement, Cegedim will continue to provide clinical decision support data and NHS spine connectivity services to power and support Boots’ own PMR system, Columbus, across its UK network.

Richard Corbridge, CIO, Boots UK and Ireland said: “The partnership between Boots and Cegedim brings with it great benefit to Boots pharmacies across the whole of the UK. Boots has deployed its own pharmacy system to every store in the UK. Columbus is our PMR that will bring automation, efficiency and a platform to super charge patient focus in every Boots pharmacy and online.

“A core part of the system is the functionality offered by Cegedim, clinical decision support and connectivity to NHS wide systems are key to the success of the systems Boots continues to deploy in 2021 and beyond. We are on a mission to be the most efficient, safest and most patient focused pharmacy in the UK and Ireland.”

ADASS Yorkshire and Humber links up with HAS Technology

ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) Yorkshire and Humber has become latest region to work with HAS Technology and implement its PAMMS solution across local authorities, following success in the ADASS East region.

With the Health and Care Bill recognising the need to improve the quality, timeliness and accessibility of adult social care data, there’s expected to be a greater focus on region-wide collaboration and the development of databases for contract monitoring information.

Working with the PAMMS team, councils in the ADASS Yorkshire and Humber region will be bringing together market intelligence, quality and financial data to be accessed in one place, in real-time.

Iain MacBeath, Strategic Director at Bradford Metropolitan Council, said: “Yorkshire and Humber was already looking at a regional approach to procuring PAMMS and benefitting from the development of reports and links to their own contract monitoring databases. We are now proceeding as a region with the majority of councils participating in the first stage.

“As a region we can design reports to respond to the assurance challenge and redesign our quality systems to respond to exceptions and triggers that these will throw up. It allows us to benchmark and reduce that variation in care quality across the region, helping us ensure all citizens can access high quality care. We can also work together on improvement initiatives identified by this intelligence reinforcing why developing one solution is better than developing 15.”

Nine new partnerships across industry and academia

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is co-funding nine new ‘Prosperity Partnerships‘ – with £75 million channeled to develop the ‘technologies of the future’.

The partnerships will link up expertise from industry and academia to create transformative tech, with the focus also on creating new jobs, while many of the collaborations also aim to help the UK achieve its net zero carbon emissions target.

In the medical section, projects are set to focus on ways to speed up getting new drugs to market and will include: using new tools and synthetic biology to accelerate and improve the development of drugs, using a combination of genomics, machine learning technologies, chemistry and chemoproteomics to better identify drug targets, and utilising imaging technologies and 3D tools to assess the effectiveness of new drug candidates.

Partners across the three different projects include big industry names such as AstraZeneca, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and GSK, as well as the Francis Crick Institute, and the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, York and Southampton.

Alder Hey PICU goes live with electronic patient charting

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has announced the go-live of its new electronic patient charting system – bringing an end to use of paper observation charts.

Babble announces acquisition of Sesui

In its fourth new deal announcement of the year, Babble – which provides unified comms, contact centre and cyber solutions – has now acquired the CCaaS (Contact Centre as Service) solutions company, Sesui.

The addition of Sesui to its portfolio brings 50 new customers, with a focus in healthcare and travel. Continuing its ‘buy and build strategy’, Babble is extending its presence in the health sector with this deal – specifically in the NHS, where Sesui provides critical CCaaS solutions to a range of primary and urgent healthcare providers.

Matt Parker, Chief Executive of Babble, said: “The latest acquisition of Sesui provides Babble with a fantastic opportunity to broaden our customer base, especially in the healthcare sector. The whole team is excited to support the growth of these new customers through the deployment of the right technology, equipping businesses for the new world of work and providing specialist solutions that are pertinent to the NHS.

“We have more acquisitions in the pipeline, as we seek high quality, innovative businesses that have the potential for further growth.”

Nesta and UKRI offer £6m funding for healthy ageing start-ups 

Nesta – the UK’s innovation foundation for social good – and UK Research and Investment (UKRI) have announced a new two-year partnership to provide up to £6 million in combined investment and grant funding for companies working to improve health outcomes in later life.

Nesta is particularly looking to invest in start-ups that are focused on reducing loneliness – such as for those transitioning to living in care – or supporting people to remain in work in later life, with the aim of improving quality of life.

Potential funding candidates can apply for between £250,000 and £1 million of investment, with £3 million of funding available from Nesta overall. Qualifying companies will then be eligible to apply for further match grant funding from UKRI.

The funding is open to applications now, through to 31 March 2023.

Patient Access launches digital COVID vaccination record

EMIS’s Patient Access app –  a digital healthcare application with around 12 million registered users – has launched a new feature that allows users to demonstrate their COVID vaccination status via their mobile phone.

Users who have already requested access to their medical record from their GP practice will now find a visible record of their COVID vaccination status on the home page of the app when they log in.

The information – including the date of the vaccination, whether it was the first or the second vaccination, and which vaccine was used – is presented within a summary box of key activity on the app, alongside other information such as upcoming appointments or repeat medications.

According to the company, the feature will be automatically available for those who already have access to their detailed care record and immunisations information, and who have received their vaccination.