This week’s health IT round-up covers a new cross border partnership in Ireland and some big wins for Civica in social care.

Agfa picked for cross border PACs scheme in Ireland

Agfa Healthcare imaging software has been deployed at Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland health organisations simultaneously, allowing better integration across the border.

Saolta University Health Care Group and Western Health and Socal Care Trust, which runs Altnagelvin Hospital, has selected Agfa’s Xero universal image viewer for their joint radiotherapy treatment project.

Saolta runs seven hospitals across the Republic of Ireland while Altnagelvin is an acute hospital that hosts one of Northern Ireland’s five cancer units.

The cooperation allows patients in County Donegal, in the Republic, to access radiotherapy service in nearby Altnagelvin Hospital across the border in Derry.

Previously patients from Donegal had to travel to Galway University Hospitals to get radiotherapy treatment, rather than attend the much closer Altnagelvin across the border. This has reduced their trip from seven hours to 40 minutes.

To make that change possible, bi-directional sharing or clinical images between hospitals in both countries was required.


Civica wins contract with MHA

National care home charity MHA has signed a five-year deal with IT supplier Civica to provide care and business digital services and software.

Civica will replace 13 different IT systems currently used by MHA, covering care, assets, data analytics, and finance. MHA cares for about 17,000 older people through community support services and residential care.

Civica also announced two other deals to deploy its care management product, Coldharbour, with Voyage Care and Retirement Village Group.


GE Healthcare buys UK maternity supplier

US giant GE Healthcare has acquired Monica Healthcare, a Nottingham-based company that makes wearable fetal monitors for expecting mothers. The wireless patches, known as Novii, are used in about 1000 hospitals around the world and monitors the heart rate of the both the mother and child, as well as other uterine activity.

GE has been working with Monica Healthcare since 2015 as its distribution partner in North America. The company did not disclose how much it had paid for Monica Healthcare.


Charities ask Hunt to set-up health data lab

Twenty-four charities have signed a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, calling for him to back a health data lab. The letter, coordinated by charity think tank NPC, says with health and social care creaking under massive demand, better data was need about what interventions worked.

The NPC said a health data lab would help the NHS, and charities better understand the impact of interventions and plan their activities accordingly. However, much of the valuable data already gathered was not being used and needed to be “unlock”.

The government is currently developing a new model for collecting and sharing patient data, built around regional collection schemes feeding into a national “data lake”.