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

👇 News  

🖥 The NHS is “completely in the dark” about the scale of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in the UK due to a failure to collect patient data on the condition, according to a leading charity. New research by OCD Action has found NHS planning bodies across the UK are failing to collect data on people treated for OCD, meaning they have no clear understanding of the condition’s prevalence, population treatment needs, waiting times or treatment outcomes. The charity says the data gap reflects a system that “dismisses and trivialises OCD” and its impact on individuals and their families. It is calling on the next government, following a general election this year, to put an end to this failure by committing to improving data collection and ensuring timely access to treatment. 

💉 US regulators approved a label expansion for Novo Nordisk’s obesity drug Wegovy to tout its benefits for the heart, a move that could boost demand and insurance coverage for the already highly popular treatment, reports STAT’s Elaine Chen. The new label indicates that Wegovy can reduce the risk of major heart complications — including heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular-related deaths — for people with overweight or obesity and existing heart disease, Novo said in a statement on Friday. Novo said it has also filed for a label expansion in Europe and expects a decision this year. 

👍 Mayo Clinic researchers recently invented a new class of AI algorithms called hypothesis-driven AI that are a significant departure from traditional AI models which learn solely from data. In a review published in Cancers, the researchers note that this emerging class of AI offers an innovative way to use massive datasets to help discover the complex causes of diseases such as cancer and improve treatment strategies. 

🙁 Sheba Medical Center, a leading Israeli hospital, is collaborating with ARC Innovation Center and KPMG to develop a generative AI platform named “Liv” aimed at transforming mental healthcare accessibility. “Liv” is an interactive conversational platform utilizing natural language processing to engage users in a personalised experience. It captures intake sessions through voice and written conversation, adhering to established protocols and guidelines, including the DSM-5 (diagnostic manual for mental disorders). Its benefits include reduced intake time, increased efficiency and accessibility and enhanced user experience. 

🛌 A sleep study which is looking at how to improve insomnia caused by sleeping problems faced by people with complex mental health conditions is being launched. St Andrew’s Healthcare is working in partnership with Loughborough University on the research, which will involve following the sleep patterns of some of the patients who are currently being treated by the Northampton mental health charity. It is hoped the research programme – which is being launched on World Sleep Day on Friday 15 March – will help identify key factors which might improve the quality of sleep among patients. 

❓ Did you know that  

A new survey from Taking Care has found that only two in five people have talked to their elderly parents about their care requirements, despite the UK’s ageing population.   

Some other key stats from the survey include: 

  • Two in three people are too “scared”, “anxious” or “uncomfortable” to discuss elderly care with their elderly parents   
  • 58% of people haven’t talked to their parents about plans for when they get older  
  • 33% said they “don’t want to think” about their parents getting older and more frail 

📖 What we’re reading 

Over the last decade, a variety of groundbreaking digital therapeutics (DTx) have emerged to provide effective management of a range of conditions, including substance abuse, sleep disorders, depression, ADHD and more. As the population ages, DTx are poised to offer innovative and cost-effective solutions to address the inevitable increase in chronic disease that will follow. Yet despite positive efficacy and economics, healthcare professionals have been slow to prescribe or even recommend DTx products to their patients for a variety of reasons. This article in discusses what can be done. 

🚨 Upcoming events 

22 March, online – The role of the independent sector in healthcare delivery