News, News in Brief

News in Brief: VR endoscopy simulator, Nuffield’s new joined-up primary care platform

Friday has come around quickly again this week – and there’s so much more news we’ve still yet to share.

The last seven days saw the announcement of a long COVID app, which is set to be released across 27 NHS trusts, as well as the appointment of a new chief nurse by NHS Digital, and the Welsh government’s £25 million investment in diagnostic technology.

Here’s what else has been hitting the headlines – from the latest acquisitions and partnerships to a joined-up primary care platform from Nuffield and a virtual reality simulator for trainee doctors in endoscopy.

Agilio acquires Clarity Informatics

Agilio Software – a healthcare software business headed up by ex-EMIS Managing Director Neil Laycock – has made its third acquisition of 2021.

The company recently announced the completed acquisition of Clarity Informatics, a former newcastle University spin-off and provider of operational IT solutions to primary care professionals and organisations including GPs, GP practices, Primary Care Networks, and Integrated Care Systems.

Clarity joins the Agilio Software Group alongside fellow 2021 acquisitions including the SME HR support provider myHRtookit and Inica’s cloud-based dental practice operations modules.

Backed by the equity group August Equity, Agilio provides back office, compliance and workforce solutions in primary care and dental.

Neil Laycock, Chief Operating Officer of Agilio Software Group, said: “As the NHS rebuilds following the impact of the pandemic, it has never been more important to help healthcare providers work more efficiently and focus all their efforts on patient care, not paperwork. That is our driving aim at Agilio.

“With Clarity now part of our family, we have the tools to provide practical support to GP surgeries and the wider primary care sector – where post-Covid pressures are particularly acute – during that recovery journey.

“Our recent acquisitions give us increased scale in the GP, dental and hospital markets and I am keen to introduce further innovation as we move forward – maintaining our focus on management and workforce solutions.”

Connecting Care clocks up record views

The Connecting Care programme, which focuses on providing joined-up information to improve care across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG), has revealed a record-breaking month of views in May.

Posting on Twitter, the official account noted: “Another record breaking month for Connecting Care! 79,925 records viewed in May!

“The team are busy working on adding lots of new information, to make it even more beneficial for health and care professional across BNSSG!”

Tunstall Healthcare snaps up Secuvita

Tunstall Healthcare, a provider of software solutions, services and technology for the telecare and telehealth markets, has announced the acquisition of Secuvita, a technology solution provider in the Netherlands, for an undisclosed fee.

The acquisition will allow healthcare solutions to be provided across the Netherlands and is said will benefit up to 70,000 existing Secuvita users.

Gordon Sutherland, CEO of Tunstall Group, commented: “I’m delighted to announce the acquisition of Secuvita by Tunstall. Patrick Gaasbeek and the team at Secuvita have built a strong company based on similar values to Tunstall; a strong collaborative approach to our customers, high levels of accountability and a drive for continuous innovation and service.

“This approach coupled with the Tunstall Cognitive Care® programme, will offer our customers in the Netherlands an excellent opportunity to explore new ways of delivering enhanced health and social care in a highly efficient manner.

“The Tunstall Cognitive Care shifts our business model to heightened levels of ‘proactive care’ where data is integrated from multiple sources and analysed through unique algorithms to notify healthcare professionals of any changes in behaviour of the end user.”

VR simulator for trainee doctors in East Suffolk and North Essex

Trainee doctors at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) can now practice their endoscopy skills without touching a patient, following the introduction of a new virtual reality simulator at the trust.

The equipment, called EndoSim, allows students to practice almost any procedure in a classroom environment, including endoscopy of the lower and upper gastrointestinal tract and bile duct, as well as bronchoscopies.

The technology will enable trainees to learn how to use a scope to master different skills safely, and will measure their progress until they are ready to move into a theatre setting.

The equipment was funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity and has been installed in the ICENI Centre, ESNEFT’s medical education centre at Colchester Hospital.

Consultant Greg Wynn, lead clinical director of the ICENI Centre and a general and colorectal surgeon, said: “We are delighted that ESNEFT is remaining at the forefront of innovation by becoming one of the only trusts in the country to have invested in this cutting-edge technology.

“The EndoSim allows us to take a complete novice and give them they skills they need to start working safely on patients. Before we had this specialist equipment, the first time a trainee touched a scope would be when they were putting it into a patient.

“The technology uses metrics which will allow us to measure the student’s progress objectively while also helping them to map their own development until they are at the skill level required.

“As far as I am aware, this is the first piece of kit which can take someone from having zero experience to being sufficiently competent to safely scope a patient without going anywhere near a clinical environment. It is incredibly exciting and will make a real difference to the training our clinicians receive.”

Alcove and partners awarded Suffolk care technology contract

Technology and innovation company Alcove, together with change management consultancy Rethink Partners and monitoring service Provide CIC, have been awarded a contract to deliver Suffolk County Council’s care technology service.

Hellen Bowey, Alcove founder and CEO said: “We are over the moon that we have been awarded this contract and that we have been recognised for our unique, innovative and data-led approach. Cassius will deliver more than technology to meet people’s needs – it will provide new and agile ways for the people in Suffolk, who require care and support, to continue to live well in their own homes.

“Our partnership also brings together a balance of expertise around technology, culture change, data and information, community engagement and monitoring to ensure people will find the service provides them with confidence, empowers those that we are looking to support, while aligning with expectations around how technology can be used.”

Cassius will focus on technology that promotes independence and provides monitoring and assessment, with technology that is data driven. It is hoped this will provide insights into people’s needs – to help inform more targeted care and support.

Nuffield Health and Doctor Care Anywhere announce new integrated service

Nuffield Health and Doctor Care Anywhere have announced that they are developing a health service which will integrate virtual and face-to-face care through a single digital platform.

The partnership will combine Doctor Care Anywhere’s 24/7 virtual GP service with Nuffield Health’s national network of face-to-face GPs to create joined-up primary care for patients.

It’s hoped this new service will enhance the health journeys of patients by allowing them to choose how, when and where they access primary care and provide access to an ‘expanded scope of services’ which can be accessed, reviewed or followed up on one platform.

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Medical Director at Nuffield Health, said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our partnership with Doctor Care Anywhere to offer customers access to a national network of virtual and face to face GPs. The pandemic has demonstrated the need for accessible health services and through this partnership we are now able to offer everyone the choice of how they access their GP, whenever they need to.”

Doctor Care Anywhere, CEO, Dr Bayju Thakar, added: “This represents a true shift in how healthcare can and should be delivered on a national scale and at a time when there is a huge pressure on primary care systems across the UK offers real improvements in terms of convenience, cost and quality of the care experience.”