News, News in Brief

News in Brief: Feedback gets funding from Amazon, Somerset CCG milestone, 3D printed medicine

Our final HTN Now event of the year takes place Tuesday (14 December), following a year where we have welcomed teams from across the country and beyond to share their work, learnings and more. If you have presented, attended, or explored our articles or recordings of the sessions, the team at HTN would like to say a huge thank you!

Live events aside, there’s also plenty of health tech news to share. As always, through our news-in-brief, we’ve handpicked some of the latest news stories from the NHS and industry…

3D printed medication activated by smartphones

Researchers from University College London (UCL) have developed a new 3D technique for printing medications, via the light from a smartphone screen.

A smartphone-based printer, a version of the M3DIMAKER printer developed in collaboration with a UCL spin-out company, FabRx, which was co-founded by three members of the UCL research team, was used in the study.

If the printing technology gets regulatory approval, it’s hoped that this method could make it easier to prepare personalised medicines in a range of settings, such as remote areas and clinics. While, patients could even use the devices in their own homes and have their own printer, which would be around the ‘size of a coffee machine’.

Patients would be sent a personalised resin formulation including the drug, which a doctor would prescribe and the patient would then pour into the printer’s resin tank. The smartphone would then be used to help customise the shape of the 3D-printed tablet with the patient inserting the phone into the printer. The light would then react with the drug solution to ‘solidify into a Printlet of the appropriate size and shape with a set quantity of the drug’.

Lead author of the stduy, PhD researcher Xiaoyan Xu from the UCL School of Pharmacy, said: “This novel system would help people who need precise dosages that differ from how a medication is typically sold, as well as people whose required dosage may change regularly. The tablet’s shape and size are also customisable, which enables flexibility in the rate at which the medication gets released into the bloodstream. It may even be possible to custom-print polypills containing multiple drugs, to reduce pill burdens for elderly patients.”

Babylon and Palantir advance with health data platform development

Health tech giants Babylon and software company Palantir are advancing with the development of advanced health data platform.

The partnership has so far seen Babylon utilise Palantir’s Foundry platform to speed up the delivery of its ‘digital-first personalised care’, through the ‘integration of its Health Graph’, which provides a 360-degree view of members’ health and wellbeing.

The partnership has also created over 10 workflows and has over 100 engineers and scientists ‘engaged in driving rapid development across its AI services landscape’.

Dr Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon, said: “In an industry that has been built around incomplete, siloed and unstructured data, our partnership with Palantir is enabling us to bring a more integrated and intelligent approach to better understand a person’s holistic health and predict their potential future development. This is central to the delivery of better patient outcomes and a better overall experience. We hope that through this rapid transition to using Foundry as a powerful foundation for managing data, we can build one of the most advanced healthcare data platforms in the world, which will ultimately enable us to improve clinical operations and drive the effective delivery of healthcare.”

North East London awards consultancy tender for new digital strategy

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) has awarded the professional services provider PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) a contract for consulting services on its next digital strategy. The £200,000 tender is for a three-month deal, which will end on 1 March 2022, with more information on the bid and award available, here.

Somerset CCG hits Shared Care Record milestone

The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has achieved a new milestone for its Shared Care Record (SCR).

The CCG has now exceeded 100,000 server requests to its Somerset Integrated Digital e-Record (SIDeR) and now plans to to look at further ‘ways to engage with staff and increase use’.

Royal Cornwall gets new green endoscopy technology

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is implementing new technology within endoscopy services, to limit and tackle emissions from nitrous oxide, the gas used for pain relief.

The Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU) acts as a medical gas neutraliser and has been used at a number of maternity services across the UK.

Royal Cornwall’s gastroenterology team are believed to be the first in the UK to use the technology for endoscopies, with the first patients to use it those from the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

Roz Davies, General Manager for Sustainability at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, said: “Our patient’s won’t experience any difference in their care, it’s simply the processing of the exhaled gas that is different, as the state-of-the-art technology renders the gases harmless. The MDU not only tackles the effects of climate change but improves safety for our staff by further reducing the risk of breathing in escaped nitrous oxide.”

Jonas Lundh, Chief Executive of Medclair, who are one of the partners behind the tehcnology, added: “The significance of the Bowel Cancer Screening programme is hard to overstate. That we can now demonstrate a method ensuring minimal environmental impact with no discomfort to patients is a real success. We feel this a major advance in green use of nitrous oxide, and we are delighted to support the healthcare system in the UK with our key mission: providing sustainable solutions wherever N2O is used.”

Feedback receives funding from Amazon Web Services for TB programme in India

The health tech company Feedback has received funding from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its cloud-based tuberculosis (TB) screening programme for rural communities in India.

AWS will provide non-equity funding to support the ‘initial hosting costs’ of a pilot for Feedback’s cloud-based tuberculosis TB screening solution, which will be implemented for rural communities in India.

The solution will see X-ray images ‘pushed’ by Feedback’s Bleepa Box straight to the cloud, where they can be processed by clinical and artificial intelligence partners. The new pathway will ‘connect remote communities with clinical experts’ and ‘the latest technologies’ for point of care diagnosis in almost any setting.

Dr Tom Oakley, CEO of Feedback, said: “We are delighted to have AWS as a partner in our TB screening programme. This funding support will enable us to establish and subsequently scale the TB screening solution to citizens in rural locations across India. It is a key public health priority and a challenge of enormous proportions. To have AWS support and backing will make all the difference in getting this out to the citizens who need it.”

Maggie Carter, Global Lead, Social Impact at AWS, commented: “Cloud-powered diagnostic tools are critical in the fight against turberculosis and other infectious diseases.”