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

👇 News 

🧫 A new coalition of industry and health charities, led by the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and former Health Minister Maggie Throup, are raising the alarm over missed opportunities to tackle antimicrobial resistance in the UK. The cross-sector coalition of health and diagnostics organisations is calling for urgent action to adopt point-of-care diagnostics and end years of delay in implementing key recommendations for antimicrobial stewardship. The group has highlighted missed opportunities to use proven diagnostic technology to help reduce prescribing of antibiotics when they are not needed. 

👣 A new umbilical catheter – proven to reduce potentially fatal catheter related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) in pre-term NICU patients – is now being used by a number of NHS Trusts nationwide. Medical device company Vygon’s Expert Umbilica incorporates AgION, a globally recognised smart technology that activates to defend against microbes to provide long-lasting protection from infection. When the antimicrobial is impregnated onto an umbilical catheter like Expert Umbilical, it has been found to decrease the occurrence of CRBSIs, lowering rates from 22% to just 2% in a study published in Early Human Development. The technology was also found to result in shorter hospital stays and a lower case fatality rate. 

❗ Hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers are stuck in an insurance processing logjam after UnitedHealth Group disclosed a cyberattack within a recently acquired subsidiary that serves as a central hub for payments across the industry. The severity of the attack started to become more apparent last Thursday after UnitedHealth disclosed a “suspected nation-state” is behind the cyberattack, which began last week.  The disruptions in care from the system outage could result in “massively lost revenue,” avoidable expenses, and raised costs in the short term, said Tyler Haberle, associate chief health information officer at Intermountain Health. “This will have ripples for months, more than likely,” one hospital executive said. Read more  in STAT. 

🟪 The integration of blockchain technology in healthcare represents a significant leap forward in terms of enhancing data security, safeguarding patient privacy and improving supply chain management. This transformative technology is redefining the landscape of healthcare data management, according to an article in Mobihealthnews. 

👁 Artificial intelligence (AI) models can match or exceed fellowship-trained ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma and retina disease, according to new research. In the comparative cross-sectional study, GPT-4, a large language model (LLM) AI system, exhibited comparative diagnostic accuracy and completeness in both clinical questions and clinical cases to 12 attending specialists and three senior trainees in ophthalmology. 

❓ Did you know that 

Healthcare organisations are among those benefiting most from government grants to adapt to AI innovation, a new report has revealed. AI and analytics leader, SAS, analysed the grants awarded to businesses across 12 sectors to identify the industries which have secured the most AI funding, based on the average grant per company, per industry. A UK government report, published last year, found that there were more than 3,000 AI companies in the country, employing more than 50,000 people and contributing £3.7 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA). The national innovation agency, Innovate UK, offered companies within this industry an average grant of more than £500,000 each. 

📖 What we’re reading 

Biomarkers remain a crucial source of data and insight for early detection and diagnosis, assessing the response of treatment and prognosis1,2. However, with both the complexity and increasing demands for healthcare, research is increasingly exporting novel opportunities that augment and build upon traditional biomarker approaches. Digital Biomarkers’ (DBx) have emerged as a promising paradigm in healthcare to aid the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of various health conditions. The opportunity has been enabled partly due to a rapid increase in the volume, velocity and variety of data collected (images, text, audio and video), Dylan Powell writes in Nature.  

🚨 This week’s events 

1 March 2024, Westminster Health Forum – Next steps for respiratory health services in England