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Digital Health Highlights

Care Connect disconnected
Bloody good ideas
We can work IT out

Welcome [*data('2.first_name')|html*] Issue No 692, 17 July 2015 twitter contact



Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the NHS is to have another digital champion – Martha Lane Fox. In a speech telling the health service that it faced a “reformation moment”, he also came up with a new buzzphrase – “intelligent transparency.”

This appears to mean that the NHS should not only release information, but direct patients to it, and help them to use it. So, crudely, GPs will not just be told to use the new e-Referral Service, but to tell patients about CQC ratings and waiting times.

Or, rather less crudely, patients will not only be directed to online information about their conditions but encouraged to use remote monitoring. The appointment of Lane Fox must have been intended to catch headlines – which otherwise focused on Hunt’s decision to take on the BMA over seven day a week working.

After all, the NHS already has a lauded digital guru in NHS England's Tim Kelsey. And civil servants might have thought twice about some of the flashier tech references, when a Digital Health News enquiry has confirmed that one of his big ideas, the 311-inspired Care Connect service, has quietly been shelved.

Otherwise, Hunt’s speech was interesting, in that it confirms he remains interested in technology, in how it is likely to impact on the NHS, and in how it can be used to reform it. But there’s a good chunk of underpinning work left over from his first stint at Richmond House.

Those electronic patient records that are going to be the foundation of “intelligent transparency”, for instance. Any news on how the gaps in them are going to be filled; and whether another round of tech fund money might be available to help?



Lane Fox to focus on digital health

Internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox will develop proposals to improve take-up of digital innovations in health, the health secretary has said.

Care Connect disconnected

NHS England’s patient feedback service Care Connect is not in use anywhere in the country, more than a year after pilots were completed.

Merseyside shares 5.5m records in a year

The GP records of patients in North Merseyside have been shared 6.5 million times amongst health and social organisations in the region as a result of the area's iLinks Transformation Programme.

Oxford cuts blood cost with e-requesting

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust saved £500,000 in the cost of blood products over a year after implementing an electronic blood requesting system.

10,000 patients using Emis PHR

More than 10,000 people are recording personal health data using Emis Health’s personal health record, which runs on Apple’s HealthKit platform.

Industry round-up

Digital Health News introduces the Industry Round-Up, a weekly digest of company announcements, appointments and product launches.

Quote of the week


“Intelligent transparency creates intelligent patients with healthier outcomes.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt argues that apps, wearables and other forms of information sharing will have an “impact as profound for humanity in the next decade, as the internet has been in the last.”




Bloody good ideas

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust recently reached the top of the CDMI. Digital Health news editor Rebecca McBeth went to see its most recent work on e-prescribing and blood tracking.

We can work IT out

The iLinks programme in Liverpool is sharing millions of records a year - but is looking to make a big leap forward this autumn. Thomas Meek reports from its annual conference.


Featured comment


“LOL. I expect the report of all that they learned from the project will be published shortly. Or perhaps not”.

By: JacquesOuze
Story: Care Connect disconnected




American researchers recently ran a series of ‘clinical vignettes’ through a range of US and European symptom checkers, including those on NHS Choices. One interpretation of the results would be that they were pretty good: NHS Choices picked out people needing emergency or urgent care 80% of the time – although it also ‘mis-triaged’ or erred on the side of caution when it came to less pressing conditions.

However, the Daily Mail and other papers duly ran headlines that screamed “millions” were at risk of getting the wrong advice on symptom checker websites. As NHS Choices’ own ‘behind the headlines’ feature points out, this is a bit of a stretch as the researchers were behaving like researchers, rather than patients, and there was no comparison between the performance of the symptom checkers and alternatives such as going to a doctor or random Googling. Or, indeed, picking up one of those big books of home medicine that used to line family bookshelves, which rarely attracted this kind of attention or concern.


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