News, News in Brief

News in brief: Bolton NHS updates on COVID care at home, funding for caretech firm and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust turns to Cylera

It’s that time again to focus on our news round-up from the world of health tech.

The past few days have seen plenty of stories related to Mental Health Awareness Week, as well as innovations in maternity, plus plans to combat NHS waiting lists.

Meanwhile, at HTN HQ, we’ve launched a sneak peak of the sessions scheduled for HTN Now June, which will feature speakers from NHSX, NHS England and Improvement, the University of Essex Data Research Centre and a number of trusts.

But, as ever, there are many more stories to tell, so check out our news in brief, below.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust turns to Cylera

Dartford and Gravesham (DGT) NHS Trust has selected Cyleria, a healthcare IoT (HIoT) cybersecurity and threat intelligence company, and The AbedGraham Group, a physician-led global technology group, to safeguard its medical device and IoT infrastructure.

Through the strategic partnership, The AbedGraham Group’s Clinical Security Analytics Platform will be integrated into Cylera’s MedCommand™ platform. This integration will combine a clinical risk analysis platform to provide the trust with the ability to examine and quantify real-time risks to patient safety and clinical services, align with regulatory requirements, and optimise clinical workflows and devices.

Neil Perry, Director of Digital Transformation at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, said: “Medical devices and IoT devices are critical to our ability to provide the best patient care possible to our local community. Over recent years the broad range of medical devices being networked and integrated with clinical systems has led to a new focus of cyber risk, requiring greater local intelligence and control.

“Through Cylera’s patented technologies and integration with AbedGraham’s analytics we are now able to identify cyber risks associated with this foundational approach.”

Shaun van Niekerk, Head of IT and Cybersecurity and Joint Chair of NHS Cyber Associates Network, added: “Cylera and AbedGraham have been active participants in our journey to secure the devices most critical to our patient care delivery and cybersafety. All NHS hospitals are in a similar situation with the need to accelerate towards the goal of decreasing IoT cyber risk. This unique compilation of technology provides the exceptional capabilities needed to reach this goal.”

Caretech innovator lands funding win 

Caretech company Birdie, which aims to ‘reinvent’ elderly care at home, has announced that it has raised $11.5 million (£8.2m), in a funding drive led by international venture capital firm Index Ventures, with participation from Kamet Ventures.

The investment will be used to scale the business and invest in product innovation, in response to challenges facing traditional aged care with more people living longer and a greater focus required on healthy ageing.

According to Birdie, its aim is to partner with care providers to support the ageing population in living ‘healthily and happily’ at home for longer. Partnered with 500 providers across the UK, Birdie now supports more than 20,000 older people every week, with its app acting as an operating system for care providers to deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care.

Through the using the app, the goal is to allow caregivers to lessen the time spent on non-critical work like admin – freeing them up to spend more time face-to-face with their care recipients, as well as allowing for easier communication and sharing of information with care providers, health practitioners, and families.

Bolton NHS gives update on COVID care at home 

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has given an update on the progress of its pulse Oximetry@home pathway for community patients, which went live earlier this year.

The trust says since the end of January it has successfully accepted 390 patients onto the pathway – with 47 of those patients identified as needing further treatment at hospital, as of April 2021.

COVID Oximetry @home involves monitoring the condition of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID from their own home. Patients use a small monitor clipped to their finger, called a pulse oximeter, to measure their oxygen saturation levels three times a day.

Joanne Whitehead Advanced Practitioner, in the Admission Avoidance Team, said: “This is such a valuable service. We’ve already sent a number of people to hospital with very low oxygen saturations who had no physical symptoms of deterioration, including one gentleman who checked his saturations routinely and found them to be very low, though he was still managing most usual daily activities. He was subsequently admitted to intensive care for further management.

“Most of the patients on the pathway are elderly and live alone. Prior to using Oximetry @home, their oxygen levels may well have unknowingly decreased to a point that they could have potentially died at home alone. Everyone involved in delivering the service is extremely proud to be providing such a life-saving service.”

MIT alumni building robots to expand access to cell therapies

A little further afield in the US, MIT has revealed that Multiply Labs – founded by MIT alumni – has been helping pharmaceutical companies produce biologic drugs with a robotic manufacturing platform.

According to MIT News, the company is now hoping to bring the speed and precision of its robots to a new type of advanced treatment, by developing a new platform to help ‘ease bottlenecks in the creation of cell therapies’. Such therapies are being used to treat cancers, but are considered labour-intensive and expensive.

Multiply Labs is attempting to speed things up by automating some processes that can currently only be performed by highly-trained scientists, and by enabling the platform to take on some of the most time-consuming tasks of cell production therapy in parallel, thereby reducing the potential for human error and increasing production.

The company’s team of ‘mostly MIT-trained roboticists and engineers’ have reportedly spent the last two years learning about cell therapy production and recently raised $20 million in funding as it aims to expand ahead of expected increased demand for cell therapy treatment.

Multiply Labs has partnered with global life sciences company Cytiva to bring the platform to market.