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

👇 News 

📊 According to NHS Digital, approximately 1.17 million people in England have been diagnosed as living with COPD in 2021. It is estimated that a further 2 million remain undiagnosed. NICE’s medical technologies advisory committee has recommended two digital technologies – myCOPD and SPACE for COPD – to deliver pulmonary rehabilitation which are exercise and education programmes for people with COPD. Both digital technologies offer exercise programmes and education sessions to help with people with COPD manage their own condition in a place and time of their choosing. The two digital platforms could be appropriate for those people who do not have a service where they live, do not wish to be seen in person, or would prefer not to be treated in person for convenience. 

🔎 A new, systematic analysis of cancer cells identified 370 candidate priority drug targets across 27 cancer types, including breast, lung and ovarian cancers. By looking at multiple layers of functional and genomic information, researchers were able to create an unbiased, panoramic view of what enables cancer cells to grow and survive. They identified new opportunities for cancer therapies in a significant leap towards a new generation of smarter, more effective cancer treatments. 

📉 The Covid backlog has fallen for a second month in a row thanks to the huge efforts of NHS staff, new data shows today. Monthly performance data shows that the overall waiting list fell by more than 95,000 – down to 7.6 million in November from 7.7 million in October. Thanks to the measures set out in the NHS elective recovery blueprint, there were 60,000 fewer patients waiting for care in November (6.39 million) than in October (6.44 million) and 112,000 fewer than in September (6.5 million). The progress was down to NHS staff delivering more than 1.63 million treatments in November, the highest monthly activity on record and around 150,000 more than the same month before the pandemic (1.48 million in Nov 2019). 

📃 A new study by investigators from Mass General Brigham demonstrates that large language models (LLMs), a type of generative AI, can be trained to automatically extract information on social determinants of health (SDoH) from clinicians’ notes which could augment efforts to identify patients who may benefit from resource support. Findings, published in npj Digital Medicine, show that the finely tuned models could identify 93.8 percent of patients with adverse SDoH, whereas official diagnostic codes included this information in only 2 percent of cases. 

📈 MEDITECH announced today it had a record year for international growth for the Expanse EMR including go-lives, signings, and milestones achieved in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. MEDITECH signed the highest number of international customers to Expanse since the platform’s introduction. In 2023, several international customers also went live with Expanse, including Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust. The first trust live with Expanse in the UK implemented the EPR as part of its digital strategy for improved patient care and efficiency.

Did you know that? 

With many people across the globe having recently made New Year’s resolutions, and many now struggling to keep them, a new study has looked at the countries with the most addictive personalities. Experts at Go Smoke Free analysed factors such as alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and screen time; the study looked at the latest data from sources including the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Romania is the most addictive nation, with the highest score of 66.79. Its most prevalent addictive behaviour is alcohol consumption, with the highest intake per capita of any country at 16.99 litres per adult each year. Romania also ranks in the top ten for antibiotic consumption, with an average of 28.50 Defined Daily Doses consumed per 100,000 people each day. The UK ranks sixth overall with a score of 60.32. 

📖 What we’re reading 

AI Toothbrush to Hearing Glasses: CES 2024 Health Tech We Couldn’t Ignore – a round-up from CNET of some of the best and most interesting health and wellness technology that’s come out of CES this year so far. 

🚨 This week’s events 

Jan 9-12, Las Vegas – CES 2024 conference