The latest Digital Health News industry round-up features news Push Doctor has partnered with Patchwork Health to improve primary care services, and ORCHA has called for long Covid apps to be developed.

Patchwork Health and Push Doctor partner

Healthcare staffing specialists Patchwork Health and digital healthcare company Push Doctor are launching a national partnership to help primary care services overcome the capacity challenges created by the combination of Covid-19 pressures and the vaccination roll-out.

GP practices and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) who are using Patchwork’s flexible temporary staff pools to fill short-term vacancies, can now also broadcast vacant virtual consultation shifts to digital locum clinicians through the Push Doctor network.

This means that when the demand for in-person or virtual consultations exceeds the capacity of available staff, rota gaps can be efficiently filled, and patient care can be delivered quickly and flexibly to all those who need it.

Dr Anas Nader, co-founder and CEO of Patchwork Health, said: “We’re excited to be launching this first-of-its-kind collaboration between Patchwork and Push Doctor, and to be facilitating the matching of additional GP workforce capacity with patient demand for virtual consultations.

“Our new partner GP practices will be positioned at the forefront of tech-enabled efficiency when it comes to delivering frontline care. Not only will making thousands of virtual appointments available directly benefit patients, it will also help to protect GPs from burnout and exemplify the merits of flexible working in the NHS.”

Wais Shaifta, chief executive of Push Doctor, added: “There has been a surge in demand for virtual GP consultations, as the pandemic necessitated a shift from face-to-face to telephone or video consultations. But beyond their use during the pandemic, the benefits of video consultations are clear for both patients and clinicians alike and must become a core part of the healthcare landscape in the future.

“Our mission is to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for patients and clinicians alike, and we’re excited to see the benefits that this partnership will provide.”

ORHCA calls for long Covid apps

Health app evaluation company ORCHA has called on developers to create apps to help patients with long Covid.

A report published by the company highlighted 10 apps that help patients manage symptoms as diverse as chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, depression and concentration difficulties.

But there were no apps designed specifically for long Covid.

Liz Ashall-Payne, founding chief executive of ORCHA, said: “There’s a sizeable opportunity for developers to work with patient groups and clinicians to meet this very particular need.

“And, for healthcare providers, specialised apps of this nature, designed to encourage self-management of very diverse symptoms, could offer a significant return on investment.”

Private Healthcare Information Network partners with London School of Economics for research into data

The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has announced a research partnership with the Department of Health Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

The partnership will look at maximising the use of PHIN data for understanding the quality of care within the private healthcare sector.

Research will draw upon a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and initially focus on three projects, including patient reported outcome measures, adverse events, and the substitution of care between the public and private healthcare sector.

Dr Jon Fistein, chief medical officer of PHIN, said: “PHIN has been collecting robust and detailed patient level data on activity, outcomes, patient satisfaction, and adverse events for several years creating significant opportunities for research. Our partnership with LSE will allow us to adopt an academic approach and understanding to our data insights.

“This is our first academic partnership, and we hope it will help us explore the value of our unique dataset and raise the profile of PHIN and our work within the academic community.”

Dr Michael Anderson, research officer at LSE and clinical fellow at PHIN, added: “There are only a few pre-existing studies which explore quality issues in the private healthcare sector in the UK, so this remains a gap in the literature and a relatively untapped area for health policy research.

“We are therefore very grateful to be one of the first research institutions granted access to PHIN data for this purpose.”

Sensyne Health launches Covid-19 risk factor algorithm

Sensyne Health’s SYNE-COVTM, a machine learning algorithm for Covid risk prediction, has achieved regulatory approval for use in the UK.

The algorithm analyses more than 60 variables in the patient electronic health record to generate a prediction of the likelihood of a Covid positive patient developing severe disease, requiring ventilation or admission to intensive care.

It provides the risk prediction, together with an explanation of the result, to help clinicians manage patients admitted to hospital with Covid infection.

It was developed in collaboration between Sensyne and the Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Lord Drayson, chief executive of Sensyne Health, said: “This is the first Sensyne Clinical AI algorithm to achieve regulatory approval that has been developed using our SENSE clinical AI platform.

“The SENSE engine is expected to be able to generate clinical algorithms across a range of medical conditions that will provide real-time clinical decision making support. Achieving the first regulatory approval is an important milestone for the Company and we look forward to being able to roll SYNE-COV out to the NHS.”

Dominic Conlin, hospital director at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We’re excited by the possibilities this offers.  This is individualised care by using patients’ own data to stratify risks and predict responses to clinical treatments, informing and supporting clinical decision making.

“This is a real step in taking forward digital innovation, data integration and analytics to enhance patient care in the NHS.”

Perfect Ward secures £4m growth capital

Perfect Ward, a digital quality inspection platform designed to support the health and social sectors, has secured £4 million investment from the Development Capital team of Octopus Investments, part of Octopus Group.

Perfect Ward is used across a rapidly expanding base of hospitals, care homes and other health and social care organisations in the UK and internationally. The software helps customers to continually drive improvements in quality and care, through the digitalisation of quality inspections.

The investment from Octopus will support Perfect Ward’s plans to grow its core territories through an increase in sales, marketing and customer support, as well as further expansion into international markets.

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