News in Brief

News in Brief: digital health training programme for NHS staff, AI test for heart disease, IBM and Genomics England partner

There’s been lots to talk about this week and here at HTN we’ve covered plenty of topics from an NHS bootcamp for US health tech innovators, to research into the impact of COVID-19 on cancer, to Barnsley Hospital’s new five-year strategy.

Let’s delve into some more news from the past week to catch up on all things health technology…

Artificial intelligence test for heart disease to be used across NHS

Following a successful pilot at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, a new artificial intelligence (AI) test said to help detect heart disease in 20 seconds is set to be rolled out to 40 hospitals and clinics across the UK, Europe and US.

The AI test analyses scans as they happen, with an aim to help radiologists speed up their process by using the AI tool’s analysis to write up their diagnosis and report.

The test hopes to free up valuable time for healthcare staff, with North East London CCG stating that it will save around 3000 “clinician days” per year.

IBM and Genomics England’s strategic technology partnership

With Genomics England’s services growing rapidly to provide researchers with access to genomic datasets for scientific discovery, IBM has been selected for an 18-month period, as their software development partner.

IBM will work with Genomics England in three key areas, working to accelerate improvements to genomic interpretation services for patients and support enhancements of data science; to support the secure adoption of cloud capabilities; and help the running of large-scale, stable and sustainable IT services.

The statement said: “With Genomic England’s data sets and services growing, the new cloud capabilities will allow rapid scalability to meet the needs of Genomic England’s many users.”

UK start-up Oliva sees £4.84 million investment

Oliva, a workplace mental health platform founded in 2020, has raised £4.84 million, with the investment round led by Stride VC and additional investment provided by Moonfire.

Entrepreneurs Javier Suarez and Sancar Sahin had the idea to develop a personalised, clinician-led approach enabled by technology; Oliva is said to “blend clinician-led care with digital tools to create a person-centred platform for stress, depression, anxiety and burnout”.

Javier Suarez, Co-founder and CEO, said: “Our vision is to become Europe’s most comprehensive and clinically validated workplace mental health platform. As businesses increasingly recognise the need to provide better support and to mitigate the impacts of mental health related absence, Oliva’s evidence-based platform importantly goes beyond treatment to target prevention and early intervention.”

Livingbridge partners with Nourish Care Systems to accelerate development

Livingbrige, an independent private equity firm with over 20 years of social care, health care and software experience, has announced its partnership with Nourish Care Systems, a provider of digital care planning software to the UK social care sector.

Founded in 2011, Nourish is a cloud-hosted ‘digital care planning platform’ supporting care providers and carers in the evidencing and accessing of care records, along with supporting data insight and reporting.

Livingbridge say that their investment will “enable Nourish to further develop its platform, continue to innovate in the use of data to improve care outcomes, and broaden the care settings Nourish can support.”

Huma Therapeutics announces partnership with AstraZeneca to scale digital health innovation 

Huma Therapeutics Limited, a global digital health technology company seeking to advance digital-first care delivery and research, has partnered with global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, to improve clinical outcomes through digital health solutions.

Through the partnership, Huma and AstraZeneca will launch ‘Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) companion apps’ targeted at several therapeutic areas to accelerate the adoption of decentralised clinical trials.

“The combination of pioneering leadership, global-reach, deep medical knowledge and digital innovation will enable our award-winning platform to help more people live longer, fuller lives,” said Dan Vahdat, CEO of Huma.

Karan Arora, Chief Commercial Digital Officer, AstraZeneca, added: “With Huma, we are accelerating AstraZeneca’s ambition to achieve earlier diagnosis and treatment for patients with chronic diseases so they can lead better, more fulfilling lives.”

Digital health training programme for NHS frontline staff

ORCHA has announced its Digital Health Academy to help support a digital-ready frontline workforce.

It has been developed by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) with support of universities and healthcare professionals, with financial support from Boehringer Ingelheim.

The foundation level modules will be freely available at and on the Health Education England NHS Learning Hub ( and are designed specifically for frontline health and care professionals who want to use and recommend digital health tools but have been struggling with the knowledge base to do so.

“COVID-19 accelerated the rapid adoption of digital health across health and care services and the need to embed digital health in the long-term,” said Dr Neil Ralph, Head of Health Education England Technology Enhanced Learning. “We are delighted that ORCHA has contributed its Digital Health Academy foundation content to the Learning Hub and look forward to hosting new content in the future.”

Study finds new type of ultraviolet light can kill airborne microbes 

A study into Far-UVC light was found to “rapidly and continuously” reduce levels of airborne microbes at trials held at the University of Leeds, recording a 92 – 98 per cent reduction.

The results suggest that Far-UVC could be used to reduce risk of person-to-person indoor transmission of hospital-acquired infections as well as airborne diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza.

The study was published in Nature Scientific Reports and the research was carried out by the Universities of St Andrews, Leeds, Dundee and Columbia University in New York, along with NHS Tayside. Dr Kenneth Wood of the University of St Andrews said: “Our trials produced spectacular results, far exceeding what is possible with ventilation alone or using conventional filter-based air cleaners.”

The research supports earlier studies indicating that ultraviolet light can be used to quickly kill airborne viruses in a room, protecting against person-to-person indoor disease transmission.

Pregnancy and parenting app now available in north east London

North East London CCG has launched a localised version of the free Baby Buddy app designed by parenting charity Best Beginnings. The app is designed to help parents provide the best start in life for their babies, with accessible information and advice from pregnancy to birth and through the first year.

The app is free and includes advice from midwives along with personal care and support plans, helping parents make informed choices about care for themselves and their babies.

The localised aspect means that pregnant people booked to give birth in North East London can access additional details about their maternity unit including specialist services, a helpline, antenatal/postnatal clinic numbers, and more.