Welcome to the 100th edition of Digital Health Coffee Time Briefing, published every weekday morning. Here’s to the next 100!

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

👇 News 

💷 Small and medium sized firms innovating within the healthcare technology sector are being invited to access up to £35,000 of expert commercial, technical and academic support to scale or get their projects to market, following the launch of a new life sciences programme. Applications have opened for the ‘Healthcare Technologies Capability Connector’ (HTCC) Accelerator, a life sciences partnership led by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with Imperial College London and Cranfield University. 

🤔 Clinigen, the global pharmaceutical services company, today launched a new campaign called ‘What is Possible?’ to help empower patients and medical professionals to ask what more is possible in the treatment of rare diseases. There are over 7,000 rare diseases impacting over 300 million people globally, and yet only 5% have a licensed treatment. The campaign, complete with a newly launched webpage, aims to support and educate both patients and clinicians about potential routes and solutions for rare disease treatment, through its Early Access Programs.   

🧑‍💻 Today, DeepHealth, one of the leading providers of radiology informatics and AI solutions, and Incepto, Europe’s leading platform for AI solutions applied to medical imaging, announced they are partnering to deliver expanded access to DeepHealth clinical AI and radiology informatics software. The announcement took place at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR 2024) in Vienna, Austria. Radiologists across Europe will be able to access DeepHealth OS, a cloud-native operating system that orchestrates clinical and operational workflows, and AI technologies, through Incepto. Incepto-curated AI solutions will be deeply integrated into the upcoming DeepHealth OS. The aim is to provide access to a wider AI-powered portfolio with integrated AI clinical solutions and workflow tools to address multiple challenges faced by radiologists and staff. 

🧫 The microbiome can identify those who benefit from combination immunotherapy across multiple different cancers, including rare gynaecological cancers, biliary tract cancers and melanoma. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Australia, and collaborators, have identified specific strains of bacteria that are linked with a positive response to combination immunotherapy in the largest study of its kind. The study, published Friday in Nature Medicine, details a signature collection of microorganisms in an individual’s gut bacteria that may help identify those who would benefit from combination immunotherapy and help explain why the efficacy of this treatment is otherwise hard to predict. 

🦷 Award-winning digital dentist Toothfairy has partnered with leading employee benefits provider Unum UK as part of a boosted dental offering. To better support its customers’ oral health during the current dental care crisis, from 1st May Unum is introducing Toothfairy to all new and renewing Unum Dental clients. The easy-to-use bespoke Toothfairy app provides insured employees with a single entry point to high-quality dentistry services, support and guidance for everyday preventative dental care and routine treatment, plus Unum’s wider services. The integration of the Toothfairy app into the Unum Dental offering is an exclusive arrangement within the dental insurance market. Services include: unlimited use of a 1-2-1 chat helpline, with qualified dentists; virtual exam and real-time dental symptom checker; and video consultations.  

❓ Did you know that 

More than a billion people are affected by obesity, which is now the most common form of malnutrition in most of the world, a study published in the Lancet has found. While the proportion of children that are underweight has fallen by a fifth in girls and a third in boys in the past three decades, obesity in children and adolescents was four times higher in 2022 than it was in 1990. For adults, obesity rates more than doubled in that period, the review by more than 1,500 researchers found 

📖 What we’re reading 

In a recent working paper, the Improvement Analytics Unit, a partnership between the Health Foundation and NHS England, analyses aggregate national data on virtual wards to describe what virtual wards currently look like across England and discuss the effects of virtual wards on patients, staff and hospital capacity, as well as the gaps in the evidence. 

🚨 This week’s events 

5 March, Policy forum online – Next steps for establishing a National Care service for Wales