News in Brief

News in Brief: tool prioritises vaccine need, digital cancer care platform at Guys & Thomas, funding from InnovateUK supports healthy ageing, and more

It’s been a very busy week in the health tech community – join us for our News in Brief to catch up on some of the top stories from the past few days.

Guys and St Thomas collaborate with Careology for digital cancer care platform

Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust has collaborated with Careology to develop a digital cancer care platform, with the aim of improving patient outcomes and experiences whilst addressing challenges faced by the trust.

The collaboration is set to last for over five years, with Careology’s technology providing further support for patients and families through access to tools online and through an app. Patients can log information regarding their treatment, symptoms, medicines and issues in one place, with clinicians provided with instantaneous access to allow them to care for patients quickly and with better insight.

Macmillan Cancer Support will also be made available through the app, providing patients with personalised advice about their treatment and condition.

Paul Landau, founder and CEO of Careology, commented that the collaboration will provide “enhanced support for the patient as well as improved clinical insight, data and operational enhancement.”

Tower Hamlets GP Care Group chooses Insource Ltd as data management partner

Tower Hamlets GP Care Group has partnered with Insource Ltd to support performance and business management through extraction and use of core data.

The first stage of the partnership will see Insource Ltd take data from the EMIS community system covering the 33 GP practices in Tower Hamlets borough, standardise it into a fully-validated single source of truth, and automate the submission of Community Service Data Sets (CSDS) to NHS England.  The single source of truth will also be shared with frontline staff so that they can track their progress with contractual KPI targets and see information such as many one-year checks are due, or how many new birth visits are outstanding.

Insource are providing the data management and reporting solution as a fully managed service on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Zainab Airan, Chief Financial Officer at Tower Hamlets GP Care Group CIC, commented that Insource “takes that data, makes it clean and usable, and automates our monthly NHSE reporting.  But now we also have near real-time activity data for our own use. We can sit our own systems, such as Power BI, on top of this unified data to get quite sophisticated analyses.”

Innovate UK offer funding to scale products and services supporting healthy ageing

Innovate UK have opened a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition with the aim of funding social innovations with the ability to scale and deliver social impact.

The proposal must address one or more of the seven themes of the Healthy Ageing Challenge Framework: sustaining physical activity; maintaining health at work; designing for age-friendly homes; managing common complaints of ageing; living well with cognitive impairment; supporting social connections; and creating healthy and active places.

Criteria for organisations taking part includes the fact that they must be a social enterprise and exist to provide benefits to society, and they must have a stated commitment to social outcomes for an identified set of benefits in their mission.

A total of up to £3 million has been allocated to the competition, with Innovate UK expecting to fund between six and 12 projects. The competition closes on Wednesday 19 October at 11am and more information can be found here.

Christie NHS Foundation Trust goes live with electronic service to connect cancer patients to the trust 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with their new electronic Patient Reported Outcome Measures (ePROMs) service, which aims to connect patients with the trust through their cancer journey. 24 ePROMS forms have been launched across ten cancer pathways with another ten planned by the end of the year.

The digital service was developed using Better’s low-code environment. With the roll-out of ePROMS marking part of the trust’s five-year strategy to modernise its electronic health record, ePROMS are the first in over 680 forms that are to be digitised using Better’s tools.

Completed data is pre-modelled and feeds seamlessly into the Better platform, which enables data captured by patients and clinicians to be stored longitudinally and be made instantly available to clinicians across the trust.

Clinicians are already noting including ease of entry into the new forms, transparency of data, improved patient communications, and a reduction in administration time.

Tool to assess COVID-19 vaccine need

A scoring tool intended to ‘transparently’ prioritise which countries are most in need of COVID-19 vaccines has been developed by a team of researchers led by University College London (UCL).

The research team comprises of experts from universities and national public health institutes from a range of countries including Japan, Kenya, Norway and South Africa. They say that the tool considers a “far wider range of factors” than the current global COVAX facility, which has faced criticism due to lack of flexibility and insufficient access for poorer nations.

The study, published in BMC Public Health, asked 28 experts from 13 countries for their thoughts on the most important factors for assessing countries’ needs for vaccines, such as the proportion of high-risk population not fully vaccinated, health system capacity, and the proportion of clinically vulnerable individuals. The factors raised by the experts were then included in a choice task to determine how each factor should be weighted to create a scoring tool.

It is hoped that the tool will make the process of allocating COVID-19 vaccines fairer by being explicit in the criteria used to identify needs and transparent about the evidence-based process used to develop the tool.