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

👇 News 

💪 NEC Corporation and Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have developed a technology to support self-care for chronic non-specific lower back pain (CLBP) by using AI to analyse image and interview data taken with smart devices. This will enable individuals with chronic back pain to easily check their lower back condition and to see possible causes and recommendations for customised exercises, regardless of the time or location. NEC and TMDU aim to verify the effectiveness of this technology through testing at an NEC care center in Tokyo and other facilities during fiscal year 2024. In the future, NEC and TMDU plan to expand the scope of the application of this technology from CLBP to neck and shoulder disorders. 

🧠 Cambridge Cognition Holdings plc, which develops and markets digital solutions to assess brain health, has announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board. This expert board will provide scientific guidance and valuable market insights, primarily focusing on addressing emerging trends such as the integration of blood-based biomarkers, the collaborative possibilities for computerised cognitive assessments, and the benefits of diverse populations and patient meaningfulness for clinical trials. It will also review and advise on product strategies, scientific approaches, and evidence-generation for regulatory and data strategies. The advisory board combines expertise covering CNS-related disorders, clinical development, and academia with a shared dedication to propelling brain health forward. With a wealth of experience in clinical development programmes, the board will support Cambridge Cognition in exploiting market trends effectively and ensuring its services and technologies continually adapt within the intricate and changing landscape for life science companies. 

🤝 Signicat, Europe’s leading provider of digital identity solutions, has announced the acquisition of SmartWorks, Iceland’s largest provider of digital identity and fraud prevention in electronic signing. With a Europe-wide presence and global coverage, this strategic operation aims to strengthen Signicat’s presence and expand its reach in Iceland. With this acquisition, Signicat will offer its comprehensive portfolio of digital identity solutions. It expects to increase sales and expand its reach in Iceland not only of Dokobit by Signicat, but also of other Signicat products. 

🖥 Radiologists and radiographers at Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust have become the first in Greater Manchester to use the Sectra picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to report on diagnostic imaging. Deployed as part of an enterprise imaging agreement signed with Sectra in 2020, the PACS is already used by clinicians in NHS hospitals, who are part of the Greater Manchester Imaging Network across the region to view, analyse and interrogate millions of patient scans including x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs. For the first time, and as part of the same agreement, it is now also being used to report on radiology examinations. Reporters at Northern Care Alliance’s Bury, Rochdale and Oldham site are now able to use a single platform where they can both view and report on imaging, rather than previously having to navigate a separate system to complete important reports that inform patient care and diagnoses. The trust’s Salford site will soon follow before a phased go-live of PACS-based reporting takes place in all eight NHS trusts across Greater Manchester throughout 2024. 

💰 UK start-up Presymptom Health has raised £1.5m in follow-on seed and grant funding that will help accelerate time to market of its AI-driven sepsis and infection tests – with the company aiming to roll-out its technology to the NHS from mid-2025. Presymptom’s infection test was recently earmarked by the UK Government as a ‘breakthrough’ medical device under its £10m Innovative Devices Access Program. The funding round includes investment from UKI2S, an investment fund that provides seed funding to science & technology start-ups and SMEs, Ploughshare, the company that finds new and inspiring uses for government inventions and MedtechToMarket. Innovate UK provided additional funds through an Investor Partnership Grant. The funding will help accelerate product development, support clinical trial activity and allow the company to secure UKCA accreditation by mid-2025. 

❓ Did you know that? 

A new study by personal injury expert reveals that NHS Gloucestershire patients have to wait the longest for a GP appointment in the country. The study analysed NHS data from England’s 42 Integrated Care Boards (ICB) on GP appointments from July 2021 to December 2023 to identify the one with the longest wait times based on the percentage which took more than 22 days.

NHS Gloucestershire is first on the list, with 590,950 appointments that took over 22 days to occur, which translates into 12.29% of all appointments. The percentage is well above the other regions below, with almost a 3% difference between the first and second spots.  Second is NHS Dorset with 9.57% of appointments that took over 22 days. NHS Norfolk and Waveney takes third place with 524,411 appointments over 22 days over a total of 6,455,359, resulting in 8.12%.

🔊 What we’re listening to   

Digital Health Unplugged: Navigating career paths in NHS leadership In the second episode of the Digital Health Unplugged Networks series, Jordan Sollof is joined by Shera Chok, Ben Jeeves, Portia Eze and Andrew Griffiths to explore the dynamic landscape of career development in digital health. 

🚨 This week’s events 

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