From concerns surrounding privacy of contract-tracing apps to rapid deployment of mobile solutions, this week saw a number of important developments concerning digital responses to coronavirus.

Here’s a recap of our coverage on Digital Health News.

Southern Health deploys mobile capability for community nurses in 6 days

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of IT projects to be rapidly deployed. This was the case in Hampshire where Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust rolled out a mobile capability for its community nurses in six days.

Servelec and Totalmobile created the app which is called Rio Mobilise. The solution is being used by up to 500 community nurses to securely access and capture information.

Using the app, community nurses can access Rio (Servelec’s EPR system) anywhere, recording updates in real-time. As a result, nurses do not have to return to base as often.

NHSX must be ‘upfront’ about contact-tracing app, privacy group says

Elsewhere, privacy group medConfidential has said NHSX needs to be “upfront” about their plans for a coronavirus contact-tracing app and how it will be used.

The app, developed by NHSX, is set to be trialled in the North of England. It would allow people to input their own symptoms, alerting anyone they have come into contact with that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Sam Smith, coordinator at medConfedential, told Digital Health News that NHSX would not “get away without people noticing” if they altered the intended purpose of the app after it’s released.

Trial of machine learning tool to manage Covid-19 pressure launched

Another trial being carried out in the NHS is a system that uses machine learning to predict upcoming demand for intensive care beds and ventilators.

The Covid-19 Capacity Planning and Analysis System (CPAS) aims to support hospitals to more accurately plan and ensure resources are deployed where they’re most needed to treat patients.

The tool is designed to help hospitals predict how many patients may need an ICU bed, how many may require ventilators and how long patients are likely to be in hospital. First stage trials have begun in four hospitals.

Apple and Google join forces in fight against Covid-19

Two tech giants also announced they were joining forces to create contact tracing technology to enable the use of Bluetooth to help governments and health authorities track the spread of the virus.

The solution will be interoperable with both iOS and Android devices using apps from public health bodies, allowing health services to view data from every person who has opted-in to trace Covid-19.

In May, the companies will release APIs to enable this app interoperability as the first step in their partnership.

The following months will see Apple and Google collaborate to enable a “broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms”.

Patients now able to nominate pharmacy using the NHS App

Finally, patients across England are now able to choose a pharmacy to have their repeat prescriptions sent to directly, via the NHS App.

Previously patients would have chosen a pharmacy in their GP practices, pharmacies or via some GP and pharmacy online services, but this move means patients can nominate a pharmacy no matter which IT system their GP surgery uses and without having to leave home.

The NHS App is one of several digital tools being promoted on the NHS website through a guide to accessing NHS services online, entitled “Health at home”.

You can follow the latest news on digital responses to coronavirus on Digital Health’s Covid-19 Live Blog.

You can also find a list of our upcoming webinars on Digital Responses to Covid-19 on our dedicated page.