This Digital Health News industry roundup includes a completed project to make London North West University Healthcare paperless, bioniq acquiring Vaha, and an AI heart diagnostic tool developed by Sheffield experts.  

Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB and The Disabilities Trust launch new tech-enabled nursing home

Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board and The Disabilities Trust are working together to open a new care home that will provide neurobehavioural rehabilitation for adults with complex needs following a brain injury.

The 15-person residence will use smart lighting, AI tech, virtual reality and the Internet of Things (IoT) to support optimum functioning and long-term independence for residents.

The facility’s designers will team up with prospective service users and clinical staff to incorporate the smart technologies and carefully-considered sensory experiences.

Irene Sobowale, chief executive at The Disabilities Trust, said: “As part of this development, The Disabilities Trust will carry out further specific research into psychologically-informed environments for people with a brain injury, which takes into account the psychological and emotional, as well as physical, needs of an individual.

In the case of this new facility, this approach will soften the harder edges of a traditional care home environment to aid rehabilitation and recovery. We are delighted to be working with pioneers of this concept, accessible design specialists, WWA and Motionspot, to develop a space that will influence the wellbeing and progress of the residents, whilst supporting the Government’s agenda for increased independent living that decreases reliance on the NHS.”

The new care home will be in the former Nightingale Nursing Home and is set to open in late 2024.

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust goes paper-free

Following a two-year project to digitalise 210,000 patient records, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust is now paperless for its patient records.

The trust has turned to MediViewer, from IMMJ Solutions, to allow clinical staff to access patient information quickly and digitally. The system has replaced a paper system that dated back more than half a century.

The project involved more than 54 millions pages of notes being scanned, and 108 million medical images being securely hosted.

Not only does the trust anticipate saving more than £10 million in storage space and associated costs over the next five years, but the new streamlined records will help improve efficiency and patient care.

Mary Cahill, associate director digital service delivery, said: “It was a huge team effort and everyone involved should be proud of themselves.

“The icing on the cake is my team successfully applied for higher banded roles elsewhere in the trust and within medical records.”

North West trusts collaborative staff bank expands to reach 24 trusts

A flexible staffing initiative pioneered by St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust has now expanded to encompass 24 trusts – in what is the largest collaborative staff bank in the UK.

Since first launching in 2020, the North West Doctors in Training Collaborative Bank has saved the NHS £1.2 million on agency spend and retained £6.2 million of staffing costs.

The collaborative staff bank was built in partnership with tech-enabled healthcare workforce expert Patchwork Health. It broadcasts available shifts to a network of 6,000 clinical trainees based in the north west of the country.

The technology allows approved doctors in training to safely and compliantly passport their credentials between the 24 trusts in the bank. This allows them to complete shifts outside of their host organisation without the need for checks or paperwork to be repeated.

Catherine Lothian, assistant director of HR at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: We’re so proud to see our work with Patchwork Health and our colleagues across the North West delivering genuine transformation and benefits for our clinical trainees and workforce management teams.

“This collaboration is helping to unlock increased flexibility for staff and providing managers with greater predictability and workforce oversight.”

Dr Anas Nader, co-founder and CEO of Patchwork Health, added: “Collaboration has never been more important in the NHS, and this initiative is proving just how powerful it can be in supporting a healthy and adaptable workforce geared towards the ever-changing healthcare landscape.”

Bioniq acquires Vaha

UK health tech company bioniq has acquired Vaha, an interactive home fitness mirror, in a move that will help create a global health optimisation platform.

Vaha is an AI-driven home fitness technology that can access millions of workout-related data points. This technology will now be available to bioniq members, to provide them with personalised home training and biomechanical analysis.

bioniq provides nutritional recommendations, dietician consultations and personalised supplements to its members, following a comprehensive 50-parameter blood test and biochemical analysis.

Co-founder of Vaha and newly appointed CTO of bioniq, Calin Popescu, said: “It has always been a top priority for me to make health and wellbeing more accessible. I strongly believe the future belongs to precision health and by combining personalised home fitness with bespoke supplements we create an incredible global health  platform to continuously innovate  and build life-changing products.’’

bioniq CEO, Vadim Fedotov, said: “This is a glimpse into the future of personalised health in the form of tailor-made wellness solutions and home fitness driven by data and innovation.

“bioniq is built upon precision, quality and research; our core belief being that innovation should first and foremost impact quality of life and wellbeing. Health has many crucial drivers, one of the main being daily activity and so we are incredibly proud to welcome VAHA to the bioniq global platform to enhance the daily progress of our members.”

The acquisition supports bioniq’s expansion plans. The company plans to move into four more countries including the USA by the end of 2023.

New AI heart diagnostic tool developed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has worked with the University of Sheffield to develop an AI tool that can provide fast and accurate measurements of the heart’s function.

The tool is able to speed up the diagnosis of thousands of NHS heart patients, as in a significant number of cases it doesn’t require a lengthy manual analysis of results. It also provides more detailed information about the heart’s function and allows doctors to read results from MRI heart scans within seconds.

The technology automatically detects chambers of the hearts on  MRI images in seconds – a task that would normally involve lengthy manual analysis. The previous resource-intensive process would require doctors and imaging specialists to draw contours on the scanned images. With this task automated, results are processed much quicker.

Researchers estimate that the AI tool could save up to 30 minutes per scan, freeing up NHS resources and supporting earlier diagnosis.

Consultant cardiothoracic radiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield Dr Andrew Swift said: “Obtaining complex measurements showing how well both the left and right side of the heart is pumping is a time-intensive manual task. The AI segmentation of cardiac MRI to automate the measurement of cardiac function and volume technology overcomes this problem.

“It has the potential to free up hospital staff to deal with more patients rather than spend time on image analysis. This is an excellent example of innovation from within the NHS and a proud legacy of the clinical and technical expertise we have here in Sheffield.”

The tool has been awarded £5,000 of funding from a Medipex NHS Innovation Award.