The latest Digital Health News industry round-up features news a Dartford trust is using VR for training and an industry first for care technology in Wales.

East of England trusts turn to tech to improve vaccine service

East of England trusts, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have implemented a collaborative bank, allowing reserve staff to move between trusts, widening their sourcing of staff trained to administer the vaccine.

The collaborative bank, which is enabled through Allocate’s CloudStaff solution, provides the trusts with the ability to share self-registered, skilled staff across the region to fill vacant shifts on the rosters without the influx of staff onto electronic staff records.

Nathan Bull, digital workforce business manager at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Covid-19 vaccination programme workforce models for our two vaccination sites have been complex to put together; and have meant we needed to draw on a pool of skilled, registered staff bigger than our own internal bank.

“Demand for the vaccine has also been huge and to ensure we had a skilled and robust workforce in place to keep up with this demand, we needed to widen our options and the support of the N&W Reservists has been invaluable.

“Using the CloudStaff platform to book, deploy and payroll Reservist Nurses, who are contracted outside our organisation, to our two vaccination sites has streamlined what could have been a complicated process.”

Darrent Valley Hospital turns to VR for training

Darent Valley Hospital, an NHS trust in Dartford, is pioneering the use of virtual reality for their safeguarding training.

Overseen by the safeguarding children’s team, Antser VR is being used as a training and development resource for the hospital workforce.

Antser VR offers accelerated learning and understanding of the experiences of children in abusive homes and the needs of those children in or from the care system, immersing the VR user into ‘real’ scenarios.

Sonya Stocker, senior sister for safeguarding, said: “I could quickly see how powerful the VR was and how the immersive experience would help staff understand and recognise certain situations with more empathy.”

Alison Alexander, strategic director at Antser, added: “We’re really excited to be working with the trust and welcome its innovative approach in how to assist their workforce to learn about the impact of trauma.

“Since working with Sonya, other NHS trusts have asked us to utilise the VR behaviour change programme to enhance their learning and development offer with health practitioners which is great news for the health sector.”

Wales delivers a first for tech-enabled care

West Wales has responded to growing pressures on the NHS and social care with new tech-enabled community support for older people and those with care or health needs at home.

The solution has reduced social isolation and helped avoid hundreds of ambulance callouts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Launched two weeks ahead of the first UK-wide lockdown in March 2020, it is the first project of its kind in the UK. The widespread rollout of digitally supported care has connected more than 1,800 vulnerable people to preventative care, with more than 18,500 proactive wellbeing calls made in just 3 months of the first lockdown and many more since.

The CONNECT project, is run by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Delta Wellbeing team. It is working with technology-enabled care specialist Tunstall Healthcare to identify potential health and wellbeing issues at the earliest opportunity and provide care and support where and when it is needed most.

Supporting technology includes easy-to-use video calling, Lifeline emergency alarm systems, fall detectors, GPS tracking and 24/7 access to the appropriate community response service.

The tech also supported more than 8,500 people shielding during national lockdown – ensuring they had access to food, virtual social contact and emergency assistance.

Liverpool 5G Create builds independent 5G network

Health, social care and education project Liverpool 5G Create has built a private, independent 5G network in and around Kensington, Liverpool that combines complementary technologies and uses unlicensed spectrum.

The project, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, means the team has the capability to run a 5G-supported public sector network independently.

It has been tailored to meet the unique needs of people relying on life-changing technologies, with reactive responses to problems, data security, and robustness. Meanwhile, operating in an unlicensed spectrum allows Liverpool 5G to offer free connectivity to people taking part in the project and using the technologies.

Liverpool 5G technical lead and Telet Research’s technical marketing manager, Andrew Miles, said: “The upgrades we’re currently making to our bespoke, 5G ‘network of networks’ means we can offer the same technical capabilities as more commercially orientated organisations: our own backhaul; core; sim; and commercial relationships with other operators, but can be more personally responsive to issues arising from people’s care issues.

“We’ve built the network from scratch, which means we’ve been able tailor it to meet these really specific, really human needs. Liverpool 5G doesn’t have a legacy of connectivity in people’s homes to support (such as 3G technology, which has historically presented a problem), so can look at disruptive new models to what’s currently available in this space.”

Lifelight secures £1.2m Innovate UK loan

Lifelight has secured a £1.2m Innovate UK continuity loan to fast-track safe remote patient monitoring of vital signs.

The novel technology that allows a smartphone or tablet device to measure blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate simply by a patient looking into the device’s built-in camera for 40 seconds.

Lifelight’s chief executive and founder Laurence Pearce said: “Providing remote patient monitoring and enabling clinicians to understand how their patients are doing remotely is crucial in a post-pandemic world.

“Lifelight is at the forefront of this shift and we are delighted to be recognised in this way by Innovate UK.”

Innovate UK received 373 applications, about triple the usual number, and were able to fund 18 projects.

“This is an exciting and crucial step towards changing the scope of care and outcomes for population health in the UK and beyond, combining remote patient monitoring and AI to make healthcare accessible for all via a standard smartphone or tablet device,” Pearce added.

Thrive app receives £2.5m funding

Thrive Therapeutic Software has closed its latest round of funding in a record 10 days, raising a total of £2.5m.

Thrive is the only wellbeing app for the workplace to be approved by the NHS and provides whole-person solutions for workplaces and individuals to help them overcome periods of stress and care for their long-term mental health.

The latest round of funding included investment from similar firms including Sumerian Foundation and Treebeard Trust. Investment platforms Syndicate Room and Wealth Club also contributed, with Wealth Club members investing nearly £1.5 million over eight days.

Dr Andres Fonseca, chief executive officer at Thrive Therapeutic Software, said: “We’ve been blown away by the level of interest in the funding round. We quickly raised £1m from existing investors – both domestically and abroad – which was a real vote of confidence in our model – and we made up the additional £1.5m in just ten days.

“Crucially, we’ve been able to bring on board partners whose principles mirror our own, and are looking to use their investment to benefit society. Being so oversubscribed with interested parties was a really promising sign too, emphasising that the improvement of mental health provision is being taken seriously by the investment world.”

Hospital Services Limited joins NHS Commercial Solutions Framework Agreement

Hospital Services Limited (HSL) has joined the NHS Commercial Solutions Framework Agreement for Provision of Patient Healthcare Communications and Related IT Services.

It will enable the specialist distributor of medical and surgical equipment, consumable products and healthcare IT solutions to sell its video solutions to the healthcare sector across the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Through the Framework, HSL will sell its highly secure and innovative video conferencing systems including its bespoke virtual clinics which can be implemented by inpatients, outpatients, administrative and clinical services across multiple locations in a way that is easy to understand and navigate for all patients and healthcare professionals.

It is one of 15 organisations across the UK on the framework.

Sensyne Health signs deal with Colorado Centre for Personalised Medicine

Sensyne Health has signed its second strategic research agreement in the US with the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM), a partnership between non-profit health system UCHealth and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The agreement will enable the ethical application of clinical AI research to improve patient care and accelerate medical research. This is in line with Sensyne’s strategy of building a world-leading health data platform with industrial scale and robust patient data protection.

The uptake of Sensyne’s model in the US represents a growing appetite for more advanced ethical data sourcing supported by patient information protection.

Under the terms of the agreement, should the medical research undertaken by Sensyne using CCPM’s data lead to medical discoveries commercialised by Sensyne, CCPM will share a proportion of Sensyne’s revenues generated from that research.

Paul Drayson, chief executive of Sensyne Health, said: “This agreement with Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, covering both genomic and electronic health record data, will enable us to undertake research aimed at a deeper understanding of disease, and to accelerate the development of novel medicines in collaboration with our pharmaceutical partners.

“I’m delighted to be working with CCPM and excited about the capability that our growing international data collaborative now offers to the global life sciences research community.”