News, News in Brief

News in brief: VR app for blood transfusion training, cyber security e-learning, online kidney donor education, and more

Welcome to our latest news in brief, where we take a look at some of the health tech news to have caught our eye over the last few weeks.

NHS Blood and Transplant releases VR app for blood matching

NHS Blood and Transplant has announced the release of a virtual reality training app designed to simulate the process of testing blood for transfusions.

The immersive training sees users enter a virtual transfusion lab and meet a patient, with the processing emulating real life as they follow procedure to test the blood group of the sample and select the correct unit of blood. Feedback is then provided on the outcome of the transfusion within virtual environment.

NHSBT states that the app aims to “give training an engaging, hands-on environment” and to increase awareness of transfusion science specialism as well as boosting recruitment, with the app recommended for educational settings to “help inspire young people to take up careers in transfusion science”.

E-learning course on data and cyber security for adult social care staff

The Digital Care Hub has launched a free e-learning course on data and cyber security for adult social care staff, which meets the training requirements within the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

Designed specifically for social care staff, the course provides learners with a variety of common scenarios from adult social care settings such as care homes and community services, as well as across client groups and all staff with access to personal data.

The course is freely available from Digital Care Hub’s website, and doesn’t require users to log in or register. Key messages from the course material cover things like data breaches, safe keeping of paper records, safe use of digital devices, data sharing responsibilities, and the sharing of confidential data.

Call for concern initiative launched for patient deterioration

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has launched an initiative offering patients, relatives, and carers 24/7 direct access to senior clinicians, “if they are concerned that ward staff aren’t recognising that a patient’s condition may be getting worse”. When a call is received, the critical care outreach team or site nurse practitioners will assess the urgency, and visit the ward to assess the patient where necessary.

Th initiative recognises that friends, relatives, and patients may be capable of spotting signs of deterioration before they become evident to staff. The trust reports that the launch follows learnings from “patient safety incidents”, as well as seeing the benefits of the service in trusts such as Royal Berkshire.

Frimley Health introduces innovative diagnostic test for oesophageal cancer 

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a diagnostic test for diseases such as oesophageal cancer in the upper digestive system. Nicknamed the “sponge on a string”, the test requires patients to swallow a “vitamin-sized capsule containing a small spherical sponge attached to a string”, which expands to collect cells from the lining of the oesophagus prior to being pulled back out.

The trust highlights the time-saving benefits of the procedure, which can be completed in around seven-and-a-half-minutes, as well as the reduced invasiveness when compared with traditional endoscopies, which usually require sedation, resulting in a longer hospital stay.

The first phase of the programme took place in the endoscopy department at Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, and the trust now plans to roll out the service to all patients by the end of 2024, with estimates that it will initially “save around 1,000 appointments”.

New website launched in Bradford to encourage more people to become kidney donors

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new website hoping to encourage more people, and especially those from ethnically diverse communities, to register as a kidney donor.

Highlighting that “more than a third of those waiting for a kidney transplant in the city are from ethnically diverse backgrounds”, and wait “significantly longer for a kidney transplant than white patients”, the trust’s new Live Kidney Donor website includes testimonies from previous donors, as well as information for those who might be considering becoming one.

The new website also features a language translation tool, and videos on common questions such as “How do you feel after?”, along with video content from clinicians offering insight into the advantages of live donor donations for patients.

In a recent News in brief article, we looked at news including a new thoracic robotic surgery virtual observership programme at Guy’s and St Thomas’, two new UK Approved Bodies for medical device certification, trials for sobriety app and stroke treatment, and more.