AI: opportunities and barriers to improving healthcare

How AI is shaping the future of healthcare The advancement of AI and machine learning in providing better healthcare is already on the rise across the UK.  Increasingly clinicians are conscious that machine or automation-based healthcare enable a host of benefits due to the many innovative projects that are underway. The NHS’ long-term plan has ambitions to drive its digital transformation to maximise the very practical benefits AI can provide. Currently, the main barriers to progress are the difficulties that some innovators encounter when negotiating unfamiliar regulations, lack of clinical safety and efficacy evidence, data curation standards, talent and skills, fear of change and concerns about the impact of working practices and relationships with patients. Despite this, perception is increasingly changing. As wider society embraces new technologies, such as Amazon’s Alexa, there is a noticeable shift in attitude. Smart speakers are a brilliant … [Read more...]

Cancer web tool receives NICE endorsement

A tool to help doctors and patients make informed choices about prostate cancer treatment has been approved by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The Predict Prostate model and web tool was created by Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s (CUH) Academic Urology Group and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Epidemiology and Winton Centre. Each year thousands of men are diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and face the difficult decision about whether or not to opt for treatment and the risk of side effects such as incontinence or impotence. To help make an informed choice, Predict Prostate takes patient information such as blood test results, the cancer grade and stage, and details about the patient’s age and overall health. This is compared to data from over 10,000 men to calculate 10 and 15 year survival estimates and whether treatment would make a difference. The work was led by CUH consultant … [Read more...]

Transformation in healthcare professionals’ digital behaviours

How HCPs use digital technology – and how to understand their behaviours For the past three decades the internet has been changing lives, and social media has played a very large role in that. Major social platforms have come and gone but some big players have remained a part of everyday life for hundreds of millions of users. Facebook, Instagram, Sina Weibo, Tik Tok, Twitter and Reddit, to name a few, have changed the way individuals interact with each other across the globe as well as the way data is available to them on the World Wide Web. From face-to-face to social media We have seen healthcare professionals (HCPs) joining these social networks and the online conversations at the same rate as non-HCP users. At the end of the last decade, with many global interactions between HCPs made possible through social media, the health industry and health systems were poised for disruptive change. From static to mobile After HCPs joined social … [Read more...]

Healthcare’s voice revolution

According to research from EY, almost a quarter of UK households now own a voice- controlled digital home assistant device and a further 41% plan to own one in the next five years.  While there are plenty of obvious day-to- day uses for these devices (checking the weather, sourcing music, finding recipes, etc), it is evident that this rapid roll-out of voice tech in the home also has implications for healthcare. Our research reveals that 27% of people with a smart speaker at home are already using it to look up medical advice or would be particularly interested in doing so if the technology were improved further and became easier to use. These are early days for voice-enabled healthcare. We found its use right now is largely restricted to self-diagnosis and fitness checks, including linking the speaker to a fitness band or smartwatch. Yet there are so many ways in which smart speakers might significantly improve patient welfare. For a complex, chronic condition like … [Read more...]

NHSX publishes listening to digital health innovators report

Following the launch of NHSX in July 2019, the organisation held a listening event where innovators were asked one key question: ‘If NHSX and partners were to focus on one or two things, what do you think are the most important priorities?’.         Today the organisation has published its insight and learnings here, outling key themes and how NHSX will aim to address them. The report includes 5 key themes: Standards Procurement Approach and scale Engagement Digital capability On standards the report states “a clear position on standards was widely supported by the innovators, who felt that some of the larger incumbent technology companies were resistant to interoperability and linking to their systems. There were a number of questions received about the commitment to standards of all types – technical and professional – and how they can be consistently implemented as well as plans … [Read more...]

Bayer launches new AI Hub to optimise drug discovery

Bayer UK has unveiled a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) ‘LifeHub’ to optimise data-driven drug discovery and disease detection and diagnosis.   The company has launched LifeHub UK designed to accelerate and optimise disease detection and drug discovery by developing Artificial Intelligence enabled imaging solutions. The Reading-based hub is the newest member of Bayer’s LifeHubs located in Berlin, Boston, California, Japan, Lyon and Singapore. Kemal Malik, Bayer Board Member for Innovation, said “We are delighted to launch LifeHub UK. We firmly believe that Artificial Intelligence has transformative potential for healthcare, leading to enhancements in prediction, prevention and personalised treatments.” As a first step, LifeHub UK will focus on the development of AI-enabled radiology solutions. Clinical AI technology company, Sensyne Health, sealed a collaboration agreement with Bayer earlier this year and will be one of the first companies to have a presence … [Read more...]

Google swallows DeepMind Health

Last November the pioneering London AI firm DeepMind announced that its health division was being transferred to its parent company Google. Now, 10 months later, the move is finally happening, the delay a measure of how controversial and painful this process has been. When the restructuring was announced last year, DeepMind was accused of breaking a promise not to hand over any NHS data to the American search giant. Google said the transfer to its global health division would give DeepMind's Streams app, which helps doctors and nurses to monitor patients with a severe kidney condition, the resources it needed to expand internationally. The Streams app had caused quite a stir when it was revealed that it used the data of about 1.6 million patients, without asking permission. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ruled that the hospital involved in the research - the Royal Free in London - had not done enough to protect … [Read more...]

Accredited suppliers for electronic patient records launched by NHS

A list of accredited suppliers of electronic patient record solutions has been published by the NHSX and NHS England. This gives purchasers in the NHS more security in their digitisation endeavours. A new section has been developed in the Health Systems Support Framework by NHS England and NHSX to help integrated care systems and organisations get the best value when purchasing new software, digital services and infrastructure. Eight companies are on the Lot 1 framework list after being evaluated to deliver the best systems. They meet a vast range of criteria, including being able to operate with other IT systems. Trusts and other NHS entities are able to digitise quicker because of the framework that was created to support delivery of integrated care. All supplier systems were able to meet the Global Digital Exemplars (GDE) standards. Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX, said: “Helping clinicians access and share data effectively is crucial for patient safety. … [Read more...]

Hospitals in England set to receive £850m revealed

Twenty hospitals in England due to receive an extra £850m funding for upgrades to outdated facilities and new equipment have been revealed. Image copyright EPA Prime Minister Boris Johnson will formally announce the plans - part of NHS spending pledges totalling £1.8bn - at a Lincolnshire hospital on Monday. Projects the £850m will pay for include a new women and children's hospital in Cornwall. But a healthcare charity said the money risked being a "drop in the ocean". The funding pledge comes during a week of health policy announcements by the government, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock expected to announce pension changes aimed at ending staffing problems. 'Extra life-saving equipment' The £850m is to be spread out over five years, with the remaining £1bn intended to tackle a backlog of hospital upgrades this year. It comes on top of an extra £20bn a year by 2023 announced by former prime minister Theresa May last year. Is NHS buildings boost all it … [Read more...]

Pledge to end smoking in England by 2030

The government is pledging to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to tackle the causes of preventable ill health. Promoting physical activity, developing guidelines on sleep and targeting those at risk of diabetes are also set out as priorities in the green paper. The policy document aims to reduce the number of years spent in poor health. Currently men and women spend over a fifth of their lives in ill health - 19 years for women and 16 for men. Those in deprived areas experience the longest periods of poor health.   The green paper, which will now be consulted on, proposes a number of ways of tackling this. They include: Ensuring any smoker admitted to hospital automatically gets offered help to quit Extending tooth brushing schemes in nurseries and primary schools Reviewing the evidence on sleep and health with a view to developing clear national guidance on daily recommended hours of sleep Encouraging … [Read more...]