The latest Digital Health News industry round up includes a win for a digital patient observation app, a partnership to empower users to take charge of their health and the NHS savings for one staff bank.

Video coaching for children’s EpiPen use study shows promising results

Cardiff University has been studying the effectiveness of an avatar-led, interactive information programme for children using an EpiPen with promising results.

The intention of the study was to compare how an animated video coaching primary school children to use their EpiPen was able to help them retain the information, in comparison to the traditional face-to-face training.

With the limitations around in-person contact due to Covid-19, the study was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the remote training. The content was accessed via a smartphone or tablet and measured against five criteria: being able to identify where to place the EpiPen; using a fist grip around the pen; removing the safety cap; using the ‘place and press’ technique and hearing the pen click; and holding the pen in place for three seconds.

Dr David Tuthill, consultant paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital for Wales, said: “We are really pleased with the results from this pilot study, as it showed that children can be taught how to use EpiPens in a new way. They were also better able to remember to hold their EpiPen on the thigh for longer. We hope in the future that this novel way of delivering care will mean primary school children can be taught remotely about EpiPens.”

The results showed that 80% of the children could recall the ‘hold for three seconds’ message after watching the video, compared to just 57% with the standard method. Additionally, 96% of children stated they would like to watch other interactive videos on other topics like this.

XMED iQ launches digital hospital sourcing platform for medical supplies

Digital health tech start-up XMED iQ is launching an AI-assisted platform enabling hospitals to purchase medical supplies around the clock.

By bulk-purchasing products from European corporate headquarters, rather than nationally, XMED iQ is able to negotiate the best possible prices for clients. XMED iQ’s fully digitalized purchasing platform handles all steps of the transaction process from tendering, to trading and invoicing. All processes are compliant with EU regulations.

The digitalised buying and selling process allows for product delivery without the need for in-house warehousing. Hospitals are able to make their requests through an AI-assisted digital pooling. Offers are then obtained via the digital platform, before EU-compliant tenders are awarded.

Ada and Bayer announce partnership

Bayer, the global pharmaceutical and life sciences company, is forming a partnership with Ada Health so its customers can use Ada’s AI-based symptom assessment tool.

The move is designed to empower users around the world to take charge of their personal health, and learn more about the potential causes of their symptoms and possible care options.

Ada’s health assessment platform uses an advanced algorithm to prompt users with personalised questions. Based on users’ responses to questinos on individual health, risk factors and current symptoms it will deliver data-driven insights and actionable next steps. The tool will be available to visitors to Bayer’s websites and will include information on relevant Bayer OTC products.

David Evendon-Challis, chief scientific officer of Bayer’s consumer health division, said: “One of the exciting frontiers in healthcare is giving people the right tools, information, advice and medicines to move from a reactive to a proactive approach to their own health.”

He added: “our shared goal is to enable anyone to take more ownership of their health via credible, science-based information delivered through products they know and can rely on.”

Daniel Nathrath, CEO and co-founder of Ada Health, added: “More and more people are turning to digital health tools like Ada for personalised insights and actionable medical guidance—especially for problems that may at first glance seem insignificant or too intimate to talk about comfortably. We are proud to launch this pilot in partnership with Bayer to explore opportunities for people around the world to take more ownership of their health.”

Dia fertility app launches

A new app for women has launched, which will guide users through their monthly cycles, track health, provide a fertility forecast and deliver personalised health education.

The free app allows women to track a range of measurables including: period, basal temperature, weight, discharge, energy, sleep, exercise, water, mood, cramps, sex drive, medical appointments and medications.

Launched by TFP Fertility Group (formerly The Fertility Partnership), Dia will also connect to wearables and gives the option for women to book an appointment with a fertility specialist at a nearby TFP clinic if required.

As well as educating women on their health, it also helps users to identify patterns in their data which can help improve their understanding of how their bodies work. The unique Fertility Forecast is verified by TFP doctors and aims to give women an idea of their current fertility status and the options they have in relation to this.

Chakameh Shafii, creator of Dia and director of digital experience at TFP, said: “TFP’s motto is to help change and create lives. We not only help both men and women through their fertility journey, but also educate them at the same time.

“The development of this app has been a passion project of TFP that not only gives women the knowledge to understand how their cycles and hormones can impact their daily life, but also the power to take control of their bodies and health.” 

 ORCHA launches training portal

ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps) is launching the UK’s first online training portal designed to strengthen the digital capabilities of healthcare professionals.

The Digital Health Academy has been developed off the back of research that highlights the need for better training to help build a digital-ready workforce. Recent research from ORCHA and Boehringer Ingelheim revealed that 86% of surveyed health entrepreneurs didn’t believe healthcare providers have the resources and confidence to access, use and recommend digital health technologies to patients.

Dr Neville Young, director of enterprise and innovation, Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, said: “A digital health academy is a must, because, although it’s great that healthcare providers are continuing to invest in digital health, it’s vital that we also provide our brilliant health and care professional staff with the right knowledge to enable them to use the tools on offer to deliver the best care for patients.”

The academy is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and supports the NHS Long Term Plan and What Good Looks Like Framework. By improving the skills and confidence of healthcare workers when it comes to digital health technologies, the academy can accelerate digital transformation in the NHS.

Content has been developed in partnership with NHS clinicians, universities and experts at ORCHA. It will include two foundation modules which will be delivered in five-minute videos to best fit around the working lives of busy professionals.

Liz Ashall-Payne, founding CEO of ORCHA, said: “Busy healthcare professionals may recognise the potential of health apps, but their hectic schedules can make it really tough to learn digital skills. Many of us at ORCHA have experienced exactly this whilst working in NHS roles. We believe passionately in the potential of health apps to support the NHS and hope that giving easy access to top-quality training will make a big difference.”

The Digital Health Academy is CPD accredited and is being piloted with existing ORCHA users. Access for all HCPs in primary and secondary care will be available from March 2022.

North West Collaborative Staff Bank saves NHS £3.4m in first year

An initiative led by St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has been able to retain over £3.4m in staffing costs for the NHS, in its first year alone.

The North West Collaborative Staff Bank was launched to help reduce pressure on the NHS workforce and to minimise external agency staff spending in the region. The solution works by broadcasting available shifts to a regional pool of doctors in training and making it simple for them to book shifts in different hospitals.

Claire Scrafton, deputy director of HR at the trust, said: “We’re delighted with how the North West Collaborative Bank has been embraced across the region. Seeing the data around the money retained within the NHS, the shifts filled, and the doctors in training who have signed up is a fantastic endorsement of the flexible, regional approach to staffing we’re aiming to build.”

The tech-powered solution was designed by Patchwork Health. It allows registered doctors in training to safely passport their credentials between the 22 trusts already engaged with the Collaborative Bank. Managing credentials, pay, annual leave entitlements, and hours works are all handled through one centralised system.

Dr Anas Nader, CEO of Patchwork Health, said: “This tech-powered initiative is reducing reliance and spend on agencies, it’s offering staff more flexibility, and it’s helping ensure wards are safely and compliantly staffed at all times.”

eObs wins NDL Digital Project of the Year award

A Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust patient observation app has won this year’s NDL award for Digital Project of the Year.

The low-code tool has been able to reduce the time taken for observation data to be digitised by 15 days per mental health patient observation, and minimised admin overheads too. As well as proving to be more efficient and convenience than previous paper processes, the digital app also allows access anywhere, anytime.

The technology means clinical staff are able to deliver more consistent checks on their patients to support the wellbeing of those in their care. It also means consistent data records, improved record keeping and data quality as well as better workflow visibility.

eObs provides a detailed overview of each patient’s observation requirements and guides clinicians through the paper-free processes. The solution pulls patient information from the trust’s Electronic Patient Records (EPR) system, RiO, and records information into its own SQL database.

Following successful eObs trials, the system was deployed to a further 11 wards, with plans to roll it out to the remaining wards in the coming weeks.

The NDL Community Awards recognise the best use of transformational technologies with social purpose. Winning Digital Project of the Year is recognition of eObs digital-first approach that has led to major administrative challenges.

Jack Gould, senior IM&T project manager at the trust said: ‘It’s brilliant that the work undertaken by the eObs Project Team has been recognised at the NDL Community Awards, it has been a great team effort from all involved. eObs has been one of the trust’s key digital innovation projects over the last year and has brought a number of benefits with it.”

EMIS powers 75m Covid-19 vaccinations

Health tech provider EMIS has helped to power and record more than 75 million Covid-19 jabs in England, since the vaccination roll out started a year ago.

The company was the first UK provider to launch a clinical software system to support the NHS in mobilising the largest vaccination programme in its history. For the first seven months it remained the only provider of the technology needed by GP practices pharmacies and mass vaccination centres in order to drive and record vaccination data.

Of the 98.9 million doses administered in England, EMIS has supported 77% of them.

EMIS initially delivered the programme within an eight-week timeframe and using the IT system Outcomes4Health. Once a vaccination is received, the patient record is collated and shared through interoperability to the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) and GP clinical systems within hours.

Richard Jarvis, chief technology officer at EMIS, said: “When the NHS asked for our help we mobilised a programme to support them. The team worked extremely hard to develop a point of care system that could be ready by day one of the vaccination roll-out. It’s now a year since the first vaccination was given and it’s rewarding to see how that hard work has helped so many millions of people in England.”

ONCOassist launches new features

ONCOassist has rolled out a new feature that will enable doctors to identify blood diseases in a matter of minutes.

The integrated software platform for oncology professionals is already used in over 150 countries, including the UK. The app aims to improve cancer care globally by bringing together a range of tools to help professionals stage, determine a prognosis, discuss adjuvant benefits and more.

It includes the The Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) criteria as well as a drug intervention checker and drug information.

The platform has over 20 interactive formulas and ensures oncology professionals have the information they require at the point of care. Notable formulas include BSA, Corrected QT Interval (QTc) and BMI formulas.

To help save healthcare professionals valuable time, ONCOassist includes the ability to switch between units (SI/US) and is available offline too.