News in Brief

News in Brief: UK health tech deployed in The Gambia, Miiskin dermatology app research, digital nursing in Wales…

It’s been a busy week at HTN. We’ve explored data protection and cyber security in healthcare, covered news on the winners of phase two funding for the Digital Health Partnership Award, and published our keynote talk with Dr Mala Ubhi from HTN Digital Primary Care Conference, in which she discusses transforming the NHS referral system with advice and guidance.

Let’s take a look at some of the industry news from the past week…

UK health technology improves outcomes for patients in The Gambia 

Part of the digital surgical solution developed by Definition Health in the UK is now being deployed in The Gambia.

The LifeBox pre-operative health assessment tool is being used to enable remote care of orthopaedic patients, providing Gambian clinical teams with remote assistance from UK medics.

“It was my complete privilege to work with the medical team in The Gambia and offer them support with our Definition Health digital platform,” said Dr Scott, a consultant radiologist and co-founder of Definition Health. “I hope we can continue to support their everyday appointments with their patients, wherever they may live, and then with safe and efficient onward referral to the specialist where necessary. I feel happy that our technology is creating the greatest benefit where it is most needed.”

Miiskin opens skin tracking platform to dermatology research

Since launching its consumer app, digital skin health platform Miiskin has introduced a series of features including a digital teledermatology platform. Miiskin has now provided academic researchers with free access to the platform, to support research into skin cancer, wound care and conditions such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis and eczema.

The asynchronous teledermatology platform, Miiskin PRO, will be used to share information for skin care research, including high-definition photographs, digital body map location tracking and clinical questionnaires.

Phil Brady of the British Skin Foundation, said: “Research has a crucial role in advancements in healthcare and the future of dermatology delivery. Visual aspects and the evolving nature of skin conditions are important evidence factors for skin care research – and advances in digital healthcare are bringing new ways for researchers to capture self-reported detail and images.”

Advancements in digital nursing in Wales 

Wales’ largest health board, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), has launched The Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) to transform the way nurses record, store and access patient information.

Through using the WNCR, nurses will be able to use tablets at patient bedsides to capture information and store it securely. As a result, all health professionals involved in a patient’s care will have access to the same, up-to-date information.

Ahead off the launch, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at BCUHB, Jane Brady, said that a focus of the project is to “look at the digital skills of the nursing workforce and how we as a health board can build up those skills and confidence with using technology.”

Virtual ward case study explores benefits of home-based care

NHS England has published a case study on a virtual ward in Leeds.

The ward provided care at home to people aged 70+ with moderate to severe frailty. Referred patients were supported by daily interventions such as medication reviews, subcutaneous fluid administration, blood monitoring, clinical observations and reviews by multidisciplinary team meetings.

The provider said that nearly 10,000 hospital beds have been saved since the original launch of the pilot in November 2019.

Staff noted that it was a positive experience and that they valued the virtual ward’s culture of learning and collaboration.

A Geriatrician taking part in the virtual ward commented, “We are definitely keeping people out of hospital… I see this on a day-to-day basis, all of the patients on the virtual ward are reasonable hospital admissions, so we have a whole ward’s worth of patients not in the hospital. How can that not be a good thing for the wider system?”

Northamptonshire Population Health Board Inequalities sub-group develops online toolkit

Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership has launched a new health inequalities online toolkit, designed to support staff in understanding and addressing health inequalities.

It includes training, data and insights with links to key information resources and how-to guides, and templates such as equity audits and impact assessments.

It’s one of the measures the partnership is introducing to reduce health inequalities.

New digital communications service in Wrighton, Wigan and Leigh

Through partnering with Cinos, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS FT aim to develop their digital capabilities and implement a unified communications service.

The solution is said to offer a range of channels such as web and video conferencing, video calling, desktop sharing and instant messaging, allowing employees to work with each other and providing an optimised patient engagement journey.

“There’s an ever-increasing demand for digital solutions,” said Malcolm Candy, Chief Information Officer at WWL. “The new service will provide the Trust with a robust, fit-for-purpose communications platform that gives our staff more time to deliver the best possible safe patient care.”

Text reminders re-introduced in bid to reduce wasted hospital appointments

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust has reintroduced appointment text reminders as part of their efforts to move towards digital ways of working.

Previously SMS reminders were one-way text messages with no interaction needed from the patient. Now, the seven-day reminder enables patients to confirm, cancel or rebook their appointment if necessary.

It is hoped that the service will help save NHS money and time lost through missed appointments.