Your morning summary of digital health news, information and events to know about if you want to be “in the know”.   

👇 News

🧬 Rapid advances in genomic medicine – with the NHS now able to perform whole genomic sequencing – present many welcome opportunities but are also raising significant legal issues that need to be addressed, global law firm Kennedys has cautioned. The newly published second edition of Healthtech in the future – The legal ramifications demonstrates how technology is becoming increasingly embedded in the delivery of healthcare. The NHS reported in October 2022 that it now has the analytical capabilities to perform whole genomic sequencing (the human genome being complete genetic information about an individual). It is the first clinical service in the world to systemically offer this as part of routine care for patients. This provides the opportunity to positively change the landscape of diagnostics, but also gives rise to an increased liability risk.

🤖 AI can analyse X-rays and diagnose medical issues just as well as doctors, a study has claimed. Software was trained using chest X-rays from more than 1.5m patients and scanned for 37 possible conditions. It was just as accurate or more accurate than doctors’ analysis at the time the image was taken for 35 out of 37 conditions, the University of Warwick said.  The AI could reduce doctors’ workload and delays in diagnosis, and offer radiologists the “ultimate second opinion”, researchers added. 

💽 Data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) showed significant differences by ethnic group in the use and outcomes of fertility treatment. The average IVF birth rate per embryo transferred has increased across all groups, but Black and Asian patients aged 18-37 had the lowest birth rates (23 per cent and 24 per cent respectively) compared to white patients (32 per cent) between 2020 and 2021. 

📈 Shortly, after presenting Soturi at Frontiers Health 2023, Newel Health, a leading digital therapeutic solution provider, has announced that three centres are involved in the recruiting and onboarding for its clinical study, “NWL-SOT-CS-001,” aimed at leveraging Real-World Data to enhance Parkinson’s disease treatment. The study prioritises free-living data collection to understand patients’ daily challenges, symptoms’ patterns, adherence to medication and the overall response to medication to validate algorithms for treatment optimisation. With the recruitment phase started, the data collection phase is now underway, using the Soturi mobile app and a smart device for digital data capture over a six-month period. 

🏃 As a business, Everyone Active currently support more than 13,000 people affected by health conditions, disabilities, inequalities and multiple deprivation to get active and stay active every year, with projects such as its Exercise Referral scheme – supporting people with health conditions to increase physical activity levels and improve health – and Falls Prevention, supporting adults who have had or may be at risk of a fall. Through this new partnership, we will benefit from ReferAll’s data management platform to collate real-time information for our community health and wellbeing programmes. 

 Did you know that? 

New Research has discovered what time of year the most medical mistakes, or ‘Never Events’, are made in NHS hospitals, with October at the top of the list. October is the worst month of the year to need a doctor, with 346 medical errors in this month since 2015. Wrong site surgery tops the list as the most common mistake made by NHS hospitals according to the study, which used NHS data to determine the ranking. 

📖 What we’re reading 

The NHS got through 2023 with pressure rising and performance against key targets falling. With a general election getting closer, think-tanks and politicians started to speculate on the long-term causes of the problems, and identified a failure to invest in facilities and IT as a key issue. Meanwhile, strikes impacted NHS finances and digital funds were raided to shore up the frontline. Despite this, NHS England was able to claim that a key target for rolling out electronic patient records had been met. Review the year, as it unrolled in Highland Marketing’s Healthcare Roundup newsletter digest. 

🚨 This week’s events 

 23-24 December, Westminster Abbey, London – Festival of Lessons & Carols