November’s round up of industry news includes six healthcare executives being appointed to Dr Foster’s advisory board and a partnership between Health Enterprise East (HEE) and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Healthcare executives welcomed onto Dr Foster’s advisory board

Six healthcare executives have joined Dr Foster’s new advisory board.

The board will act as a consultative forum on key issues and trends in the health sector. It will also assist in the development and implementation of the company’s strategic direction.

The advisory board comprises leading figures and senior executives from the healthcare sector, as follows:

  • Simon Roberts, independent health consultant – NHS and private sector health, recent senior advisor NHS England System Transformation Group, NHS Non-executive director
  • Ruth Holland, deputy CIO at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Andy Haynes, executive lead at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System
  • Gregg Holland, CIO at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Paul Davies, independent consultant and managing director at Hilltop
  • Mike Farrar, former chief executive of the NHS Confederation

Jason Harries, Dr Foster’s chief executive, said: “The formation of the new advisory board is an exciting move for Dr Foster and will allow us to continue to enhance our products and services so that healthcare organisations can better meet population health needs.

“We look forward to working closely with board members to engage with key issues and challenges and hope to drive real change in the healthcare sector.”

Survey reveals NHS providers only type of organisation trusted to use data ethically

A new consumer survey from the Open Data Institute and YouGov has revealed 59% of people trust the NHS to use personal data ethically.

The NHS was listed as the only type of organisation trusted by over half of those surveyed with their data.

Less than one in three people trust central government (30%) and local government (31%) to use data about them ethically, and only 7% trust public transport providers to do so.

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the Open Data Institute, said: “The survey shows us that people quite rightly expect organisations to use their personal data ethically.

“Organisations need to respond to their concerns and be more trustworthy in how they collect and use personal data.

“This is not only the right thing to do, it will help organisations to keep benefiting from the data they rely on and retain the trust of their customers and employees.”

Health Enterprise East partners with St George’s

Health Enterprise East (HEE) has recently launched a partnership with St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help accelerate the development of innovative technologies.

The announcement comes as HEE marks its 15th anniversary as a pioneering medtech innovation partner for the NHS and the wider healthcare industry.

Working alongside researchers, scientists and clinical innovators, HEE will provide hands-on support to identify, develop and commercialise medtech innovations originating from trust staff to enhance the quality of care provided and the patient experience.

Dr Anne Blackwood, CEO of HEE, said: “Having reviewed over 2,000 innovations since HEE was first launched, it is clear to us that there is an abundance of creativity and innovation within the NHS.

“By working with partners like St George’s University Hospital, our aim is to support those clinicians who have bright ideas for medical innovations but who need practical guidance, not only on how to bring their ideas to life and but crucially on how to bring them to market.

“The fact that HEE is now in a position to support a trust such as St George’s, with its prestigious reputation for research, shows just how far we’ve come, and is indeed a privilege. What better way for us to celebrate our 15th birthday?”

Routine use of machine learning algorithms could dramatically increase AF detection

An artificial intelligence (AI)-based machine learning technique has demonstrated a greater predictive performance than other currently available risk-prediction models for atrial fibrillation (AF), according to the findings of a UK study published in PLOS ONE.

Current methods for AF detection, such as opportunistic pulse-checking in the over 65 years and over age group, mean that around 100 people are screened in order to identify one person living with AF.

The study tested whether AI was more accurate than existing risk prediction models using the health records of nearly three million people.

It found that adopting the AI algorithm could reduce this number to one in nine. The algorithm is potentially more precise than routine practices because it not only looks for risk factors, but also how they change, and can spot complex relationships between ‘risk predictors’ that cannot be readily identified by humans, such as subtle changes in blood pressure prior to diagnosis or frequency of GP visits.

The next stage of research is to validate how the algorithms perform in clinical practice with the hope being that it can reduce the number of patients needed to be screened.

“This AI technique represents quite an astonishing leap in precision,” said Professor Mark O’Neill, one of the authors and Consultant Cardiologist at St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College, London.

“The implications are huge, especially because ML can be so easily and affordably used in routine clinical practice with the potential to transform the diagnosis of AF. If we can find and treat people living unwittingly with AF, we can do a much better job of preventing complications like stroke and heart disease.”