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

👇 News 

🦻 EarSwitch, a UK-based healthcare innovation company, has secured a £1.2m investment led by the GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura. The fund is managed by Praetura Ventures, which is known for providing More Than Money to businesses and invests in early-stage businesses and SMEs to boost life sciences innovation. The fund is supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire & Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech. This investment will aid the development of EarSwitch’s in-ear biometric sensor technology, EarMetrics, which aims to equip patients and healthcare providers with credible, real-world health data.  

💪 A new study led by researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands has shown that AI can significantly improve the outcome of colonoscopies. With the help of an AI-powered computer, doctors were able to detect 37 percent more adenomas per colonoscopy in the same amount of time as a standard colonoscopy. The study, published in The Lancet Digital Health, involved 950 patients that were scheduled for a colonoscopy across 10 hospitals in the US, Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.  

📞 Assisted reproductive service provider Virtus Health is taking its customer relations management to the cloud, enhanced by AI. It has chosen American company RingCentral to deliver an integrated communications and contact centre solution across its 62 fertility clinics, day hospitals, and diagnostics centres worldwide, mostly in Australia. Featuring RingCentral MVP and Contact Centre, the solution will consolidate and combine Virtus’ telephony and contact centre functionality and the ability to manage call flows and queues centrally. Deployment, which began at its Complete Fertility Centre in Southampton in the UK, will be conducted systematically over Virtus’ global SD-WAN in the next six months, based on a media release. It will also involve the integration of RingCentral for Salesforce, ensuring calls are routed to the appropriate clinics and teams while making patient information readily accessible. 

🧠 Thousands of children and young people will receive earlier, easy access mental health interventions at 24 hubs in local communities. The drop-in centres offer mental health support and advice to young people without a referral by a doctor or school. Services provided include group work, counselling, psychological therapies, specialist advice and signposting to information and other services. The government announced in October 2023 that £4.92 million would be available for 10 early support hubs. It is now providing an additional £3 million to expand the number of hubs to 24 across the country – ranging from Exeter to Liverpool. The £8 million overall package will improve access for children and young people to vital mental health support, offering early interventions to improve wellbeing before their condition escalates further, which will also reduce pressure on NHS services. 

👩‍⚕️ Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has launched an initiative offering patients, relatives, and carers 24/7 direct access to senior clinicians, “if they are concerned that ward staff aren’t recognising that a patient’s condition may be getting worse”, Health Tech Newspaper report. When a call is received, the critical care outreach team or site nurse practitioners will assess the urgency, and visit the ward to assess the patient where necessary. The initiative recognises that friends, relatives, and patients may be capable of spotting signs of deterioration before they become evident to staff, HTN highlight. The trust reports that the launch follows learnings from “patient safety incidents”, as well as seeing the benefits of the service in trusts such as Royal Berkshire. 

Did you know that? 

Digital Health Rewired 2024 starts one week today! Join us 12-13 March at the NEC in Birmingham for the premier educational conference and networking event for health IT, featuring an unmissable CPD-accredited programme, inspiring keynotes, national speakers, digital NHS best practice presentations and multiple networking opportunities. 

The full programme is available here. To attend, register here. 

📖 What we’re reading 

8 nonclinical AI applications on which physicians are especially keen, according to the AMA – Emphasising that it uses AI to stand for augmented intelligence, the American Medical Association lays out eight in-demand AI use cases for which the organisation says it has heard physicians “express particular enthusiasm”. 

🚨 This week’s events 

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