Category Archives: Information Technology

Nick Bostock reports at GPonline that:

Under-pressure GPs are delivering ‘remarkable outcomes’ on cancer

You can read the complete article here. Nick reports:

GPs ‘can take a lot of credit’ for marked improvements in early cancer diagnosis and reductions in the proportion of cases detected as an emergency, according to a cancer expert.

In the year to March 2018, the proportion of cancer patients who first presented at hospital as an emergency fell to 18.8% – down from 21% in the year to December 2012.

Over roughly the same period, cancers detected at an early stage increased significantly – rising from 46% in 2013 to 52% by mid-2017, according to figures from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).

However: GPonline reported earlier this year on research showing that GPs were as good as consultants at making appropriate use of cancer diagnostic tests – and yet pledges to give GPs direct access to four key diagnostic tests – blood tests, chest X-ray, ultrasound and endoscopy – have not been delivered in many areas.

Isn’t it about time that GPs were also given access to the new technology for GP consultations via mobile and Skype? This is currently being ‘rolled out’ by GP at Hand. Here’s a transcript of the R4 Today programme 13 September at 6 mins to 9:00 am (I made this transcript and I believe it’s a fairly accurate job – but any mistakes are mine):

(Int) Interviewer

AP (Ali Parsa, CEO Babylon – parent company that runs GP at Hand)

RV (Dr Richard Vautrey, Chair GP Committee, British Medical Association)

SoS = Secretary of State

 

(Int): So Ali Parsa just explain to us how your App works.

(AP): So, we have a very simple service. So, what it does is allow patients to check their symptoms whenever they want. To make an appointment with a doctor within seconds, to be able to see a doctor within minutes. In fact, I was just checking my App and it says that if I want to see a doctor I can see one at 9 o’clock today, in the next few minutes.

(Int): You mean ‘see’ over the phone?

(AP): Over the phone. And if you want to see somebody physically then, you can go see them that very same day. It is open 24hrs a day, 365 days of the year. And it is available for the same price the National Health Service pays any other GP. What we have done is to solve the problem of accessibility and the continuity of healthcare – using technology and what the SoS and the NHS is doing today is celebrating that and promising it for the whole country.

(Int): And Richard Vautrey, this is something which patients complain about again and again, isn’t it, access to their GP, so is this kind of App the solution?

(RV): We have real concerns, as well as patients do, about the inability of many practices to be able to offer enough appointments and that’s simply because we haven’t had the funding over the last decade to support the expansion of the health service to be able to meet the growing needs of our patients. What General Practices are doing right now is seeing thousands and thousands – if not a million – patients today offering, you know, face-to-face consultations and seeing them in their surgeries, so that’s when patients approach them today. So that’s happening right now. What we haven’t got is the resources to be able to offer some of the IT technologies in every single practice. And the SoS’s commitment to IT is welcome, but we need to see that commitment translated into resources provided to enable every practice to offer this type of consultation.

(Int): But could this kind of technological approach actually help some of the pressure on GPs because people would consult a doctor over the phone rather than going to the surgery.

(AP): Well many practices, if not most practices, already offer telephone consultations. What they haven’t got is the IT kit to be able to offer smart phone consultations, or Skype-phone computer consultations, any many would like to be able to do that, if the technology was provided to them. But the other big difference is that every Practice that is open today will see any and every patient who lives within their area, and we have concerns about the model of which GP Hand has been built, which is primarily about looking at some of the relatively mobile healthy patients and not accepting every single patient who lives within their area.

(AP): I’m afraid Richard that is simply factually not true. We will ask when patients started the service, to ask patients to seek advice if they want to change their GP Practice to our Practice, if they have any clinical issues. Most patients seek advice and join us – we look after them, young, old, sick, healthy, our patients are across the border, and we don’t do that just in Britain, remember we look after one third of the population in Rwanda, and we do so in the United States, we do this in Canada. . .

(Int): But specifically, on this idea of whether you cherry pick patients, it’s likely that patients who don’t have very serious health problems, and maybe younger, are more likely to want to use an App on their mobile.

(AP) . . . but, why is that? If the patient is not very mobile, if the patient is very old, if the patient can’t wait a few weeks to see their GP, they’re significantly more likely to use a service that is continuously available. Many of our patients have mental health issues – they can’t wait for a few days or a few weeks to see their GP. That’s why they switch to us. A thousand patients today will choose to apply to GP at Hand, and then switch their GP Practice – one every three minutes.

(Int): Richard Vautrey, some GP Practices are worried about the fact that if their patients sign up to GP at Hand they then lose that funding, don’t they?

(RV): That’s exactly right. And the way that General Practice is funded at the moment is a balanced mechanism, so those patients who use the service less, and there are many patients that use the service more, and that overall, that compensates one for another. What we have concerns about is that this would effectively replace a personal service with an anonymous call centre and patients don’t want that.

(Int): And finally, Ali Parsa, this was something that commissioning groups in Birmingham were worried about and that was clinical safety – isn’t it better to see a doctor the next day.

(AP): No, it wasn’t clinical safety, you do see a doctor, not a call centre, face-to-face on your mobile and then see one in one of our surgeries. We will open up across the country physical surgeries, their issue was not that. It was an IT hitch that doesn’t allow its screening to be done with your local hospital and that IT hitch has been fixed. This is the future, and I encourage more and more patients to join it.

(Int): Okay thank you both, we’ll leave it there, let us know what your think via twitter.

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Update 2/5/17: If you are concerned about GP records, see this post


In matters of health and care, your relationship with your doctor is based on a very human spirit of confidentiality. Not the cold law of data protection.

Any large, formal system is bound to breach the Hippocratic Oath; “First, do no harm”. Data doesn’t care. In a purely digital world, a thing either is or it isn’t – with no nuance. Smaller systems, talking to each other, offer more discretion for the humanity of your situation. It is  why fax machines still work better than e-mail for the NHS.

Patients routinely find themselves in one of the following three real-world scenarios. Human situations get ignored by the database designers’ visions, forgetting the real world::

  • When a doctor cannot tell their patient the full story without causing distress – such as when at test returns a  likely false positive result.
  • When a doctor cannot tell another doctor something – such as where  they’ve been asked not to by their patient.
  • When institutions cannot tell doctors relevant details – e.g. in situations where there is “too much data, but no clear information”.

When you are between diagnosis and treatment, which (if any) of these three apply may change hour-to-hour. Human choices are a reality, usually ignored by by those who want to copy records across a lifetime.

medConfidential defends the confidentiality you desire for your medical records.

Why is Confidentiality more than Data Protection?

“Data Protection” was a 1980s response to the advent of new computers and the copying of data. Transparency was the balance intended to ensure that processing is “fair”. When copying was limited to “faster photocopiers”, organisational boundaries were maintained, and confidentiality questions rarely engaged.

Modern communications has created the capacity to copy medical records at a scale that shatters confidentiality.

Confidentiality, and trustworthiness, is based on patients’ expectations of boundaries. And so, as data subjects, any processing that breaches duties of confidence cannot be considered Fair – so cannot be lawful.

medConfidential defends the confidentiality you desire for your medical records.

If you do have concerns, it is still safest to opt out now to exclude your data. You can always opt in later. For more information on what you can do, please visit our How to opt out page.

We also take donations.

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On 15 April 2018 Doctors of the World (DOTW) and the National AIDS Trust (NAT) issued a joint statement that called on NHS Digital to immediately stop sharing patient details with Home Office immigration authorities.

DOTW and NAT believe that sharing confidential patient information with the Home Office will deter vulnerable migrant groups from seeking antenatal care or urgent care for infectious diseases.

Here is the DOTW statement:

MPs repeat demand for an end to NHS Digital sharing patient data

The House of Commons Health & Social Care Committee has, for a second time, called on NHS Digital to immediately stop sharing patient details with the immigration authorities. Expressing deep concern about the Government’s approach to sharing confidential patient information, a report released by the Committee on 15 April stated: ‘we believe that patients’ addresses, collected for the purposes of health and social care, should continue to be regarded as confidential.’

The report also states the Committee’s lack of confidence in the leadership of NHS Digital, citing the failure of NHS Digital to act independently of Government and its disregard for the underlying ethical implications of this data-sharing.

Currently, the Home Office receives information about patients from NHS Digital, the body charged with safeguarding patient data. The data is used to trace migrants, which creates a climate of fear where vulnerable people – including pregnant women and those who have been trafficked – are too afraid to access healthcare.

DOTW (Doctors of the World) UK and NAT (National AIDS Trust) have been campaigning for an end to this practice since it came to light in 2014. Both charities gave evidence in the Health & Social Care Committee’s initial hearing on the issue.

Lucy Jones, Director of Programmes at DOTW, said: “In our clinic, day in day out, we see the incredibly harmful impact the data-sharing deal has on our patients. It has reached a point where people do not want to give the NHS their contact information out of pure fear. While confidentiality is in such a precarious state, mothers are not accessing the antenatal care they need, public health is put at risk, and we fear this is only going to get worse”.

“Doctors of the World UK stand with the Health Select and Social Care Committee in opposing this dangerous information-sharing deal between NHS Digital and the Home Office, and are thrilled the Committee has taken such a strong stance. This view is also shared by the British Medical Association[1] and the Royal College of GPs[2]. As a healthcare charity, we believe in the right to healthcare for all. Yet this immoral deal works to scare some of the most vulnerable people in society from seeing a doctor.”

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT said: “It is scandalous that our data is being shared and our privacy corroded with less and less justification. As an HIV charity, we understand the importance of treating infectious conditions and limiting the spread of epidemics. When people can’t trust the NHS with their data, that good work is undone and we face a public health risk. There is nothing to be said for this practice, which deters people from accessing healthcare.

“Data sharing should have been stopped when the Health & Social Care Committee first called for it, and it certainly should stop now they have, for a second time, demanded an end to this short-sighted and unethical practice.”

Sign our #StopSharing petition to support our NHS Doctors and tell NHS Digital they are NOT Border Guards:

https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/stopsharing-campaign

[1]https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2018/january/patient-information-shared-with-immigration-officials

[2]http://www.rcgp.org.uk/-/media/Files/News/2018/RCGP-letter-to-NHS-digital-from-chair-march-2018.ashx?la=en

The Commons Health Select Committee says:

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP (Chair): NHS Digital are an organisation that the public need to have absolute confidence will respect and understand the ethical principles behind data-sharing [and they] have not shown us at all that this is part of what [they] are considering’.

Dr Paul Williams, MP for Stockton South and a practicing GP, questioned “what advice would you give to clinicians about what they should inform their patients so that this information is classed “with consent”?’

Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool, Wavertree urged NHS Digital to reconsider, calling the deal ‘a matter of life and death’ for an extremely marginalised and vulnerable patient group. 

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Patient Information Forum

Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will have a greater awareness of:

  • their own knowledge and interactions with health information
  • the importance of health literacy and accessible information
  • good quality health information resources
  • resources and techniques to help assess the quality health information
  • supporting material and organisations

What is the Patient Information Forum?

  • The Patient Information Forum (PIF) is the ‘go to’ UK membership organisation and network for people working in, and involved with, healthcare information and support. We are not-for-profit and independent.
  • We have a network of over 600+ members, representing every kind of information and support producer and provider, including the NHS, voluntary, commercial, academic and freelance sectors.
  • 89% of respondents in the 2017 PIF membership survey said they strongly agreed or agreed that they would recommend PIF membership to a friend.

What does PIF do?

  • We provide support to individuals and organisations to help them provide the best health information for patients.
  • We deliver practical resources to increase expertise for all those who share our vision, including delivering events, online discussion groups and a weekly e-newsletter.
  • We influence to ensure improving the quality of health information is high up on the agenda across the whole NHS and health sector
  • We work on projects, with patients and clinicians, to map their perfect patient information journey
  • We provide a best practice toolkit and updates to support the creation of high quality health information.
  • We highlight research and reports on key health information topics.

Producing Health Information for Children

The information PIF sends out is wonderful and it lets me know that I am not alone and I get fantastic insights on what others are doing in the same areas of communication and engagement. Then it’s a case of not re-inventing the wheel. If anyone’s looking for help and information and education, this is a great organisation.

Perfect Patient Information Journey

Why do we do it? 

  • We believe high quality health information is the cornerstone of achieving the best experience for patients, and putting them in control of their well-being, treatment and care.
  • We know that getting health information right is good for the patient and good for the NHS. It improves patients’ outcomes and saves the NHS money.

Our 2013 report, Making the case for information, outlined tangible benefits of investing in high quality patient information, including reduced GP demand.

Is knowledge power?

Patient views on the information they were given

  • 36% felt they were not given helpful information at first diagnosis
  • 32% find it difficult to access trustworthy information on their condition
  • 20% felt they did not have enough information to feel confident in discussing decisions about their treatment with their doctor

I wasn't a typical case

I wasnt given enough information to make a choice

I ask a lot of questions

Providers of online health information need to be aware of the searching behaviour of patients and their carers. Access, or lack of, to online health information and the literacy to be able to understand it, is causing a disparity in health outcomes.

  • Access to the Internet
    • UK has highest proportion of households with Internet access (82%)
  • Searching behaviour
    • More likely to search if they have chronic conditions
    • Disparity due to poverty and lack of Internet access
    • Knowledge of clinical terminology
  • Quality of online health information
    • Incorrect information leads to poor decisions
    • No requirement to adhere to quality standard
  • Shared decision-making
    • Involved patients are more likely to be compliant

Accessible Information Standard

  • From 1st August 2016, all organisations that provide NHS care and / or publicly-funded adult social care are legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard.
  • The Standard sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

Quality tools

The Information Standard Information Standard

Kitemark launched in 2009 – Now owned by NHS England

Six aspects of producing good quality information

  1. Information production process
  2. Evidence sources
  3. User understanding and involvement
  4. End product
  5. Feedback
  6. Review

discern online  – Assessing quality

  • Checklist of 16 questions
  • Authorship – Who wrote the content and what are their credentials? Are they qualified to provide this information?
  • Attribution – is it clear how the information was generated, e.g. is it referenced?
  • Disclosure – is the web-site sponsored by anyone who might have a commercial gain? When did they write it? Who did they write it for?
  • Currency – is there a date to indicate age of the content?

Consumer health information sources

PIF resources

PIF supports members with a range of events, a weekly e-newsletter which rounds up health information news, and resources including:

  • PIF website and Toolkit – which includes resources on communicating risk
  • Accessible Information Group – established to support people involved in implementing the new mandatory NHS England Accessible Information Standard (AIS)
  • Events – Shared Decision Making, Digital Health Information, Communicating Risk

Presented at our conference Empowering Patients with Information Technology

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NHS England are seeking views on the impact of data-sharing arrangements under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the health and healthcare-seeking behaviour of migrants.

This consultation closes at 5pm on 30 March 2018

Evidence can be:

peer-reviewed publications
narrative accounts
case studies
more formal analyses using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/data-sharing-mou-between-nhs-digital-and-home-office-call-for-evidence

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LIMS or Laboratory Information Management System is a program that helps labs to run more efficiently by integrating the various tasks relating to labs like inventory, quality control and testing into a centrally established database. Most of the labs have some type of LIMS systems customized to accomplish their individual tasks. The small and medium scale enterprises still have a dilemma in deciding whether it would be beneficial to implement such a system in their lab. For those in confusion, should know the various benefits and the possible drawbacks that such s system can provide to enable them in making a selection.

Though implementing and maintaining comprehensive LIMS software can be a largely time-consuming and expensive process, but once implemented it can save a substantial amount of time for the user as all the tasks are integrated into a central location. Before making an approach to various vendors for quotations the set of user requirements should be clearly defined. The user requirements can be estimated from the features available and while the most basic and inexpensive LIMS possess the basic features certain customization is necessary to fit the requirements of the laboratory.

The potential benefits

The benefits obtained from the use of LIMS are inclusive and not exhaustive depending on the laboratory requirements. The first and foremost benefits provided through this system is the electronic capturing and transmission of data which not only saves time and compliance related work but also eliminates the requirement of any storage space. Another benefit is the automatic calculation of data which is performed through this mechanically developed software. This reduces both time and possibility of error or crosscheck for the viability of data. Since the necessary are stored electronically analysis of information or preparation of necessary reports can be done with just the click of a few buttons.

Sample testing can also be efficiently scheduled through LIMS and minimizing the occurrence of errors, thereby showing the most appropriate results. The benefits of tracking the status of reagents and chemicals or linking an instrument to each test can be availed by incorporating such software in the laboratory. It can be configured to work with any kind of lab, be it medical, geological or fertility lab. Since the software is sold it modules the user needs to pay only for the services availed and not for the entire package as a whole.

Making the right selection

There are several versions of the software available in the market with each one quoting a different price. The cost of the LIMS software depends on the number of modules required in the lab and whether hosted web-based service if availed or self-installation is opted for. While the web-based service requires some high initial expenses in addition to a regular monthly fee, the self-installation options cost relatively cheaper. Before deciding on which software to choose it is advised to consult with the concerned IT department or similar section of the lab and choose any online service only after conducting proper research and analysis work.

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SHA deplores the weekend actions of computer hackers that caused the paralysis of large parts of the NHS in England and Scotland, placed patients at risk, and in some cases brought to a halt some ongoing operative and diagnostic procedures. SHA pays tribute to the NHS staff that coped so magnificently with such interference and those who toiled over the week end to restore services.

SHA notes that the Welsh NHS was not especially affected and believes that this is due in no small measure to the integrated way in which  primary and secondary care services are planned, delivered and supported in Wales which removed the internal market and its damaging effects over a decade ago. SHA also understands that the technical resilience of NHS Wales was in no small measure due to the priority given, over a number of years, to investment in NHS Wales IT systems and to the role of its central NHS IT support team.

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In 2015, the government made a pledge to assist UK patients to access more online pharmacy services to help the NHS save money. It also made attempts to examine the payments of the sector to ensure the presence of efficiency, innovation and healthy competition. Today, the pharmacy is a major foundational pillar of modern medicine.

In the UK especially, competition has grown with intensity, revenues are now capped, and many expect the pharmacies to begin managing chronic conditions. For a long time, independent pharmacies have been the backbone of the country’s community, but are at risk of being rendered obsolete as more major players surface and capture the market’s value.

Intention to Purchase Online Increases

The industry has continued to consolidate gradually with the rise of supermarkets and out-of-town shopping that present intense competition in the pharmacy landscape. The pharmacy models are also changing with community dispensing dominating in commodity generics. In the modern world, mail-order and internet services are strongly taking over the distribution of pharmaceuticals, and this has seen the growth of online pharmacies in the UK. With the rise of internet savvy consumers, brick and mortar pharmacies will no longer be the only option for consumers to receive their medication.

Today, consumers want it all, from personal care products to prescription services, with their only worry being convenience, expertise and accessibility. This leaves the community pharmacy in a tricky position. As dispensing continues to be a commodity, online pharmacies have developed a sustainable revenue stream that focuses on monetising their role in healthcare.

Online Pharmacies Save Time and Money

In England especially, online pharmacies play a great role in helping patients save both time and money on their prescriptions. An experienced pharmacist provides quality healthcare and uses their clinical expertise and practical knowledge to advise consumers on common problems such as aches, coughs, colds and healthy eating. They can also advise patients to visit a health professional when need be. For patients with a long-term condition under new prescription, online pharmacists are always ready to explain and advice on how the medicine should be taken and the side effects associated with it.

Patients tend to gather more confidence when dealing with online pharmacists, whom they have been noted to talk about very personal and sensitive symptoms and matters, unlike is the case with community services. Typically, it is safe to say that the rise of online pharmacies has changed the norm of medicine in the UK. With the rise of the online market, what should consumers know?

Online Pharmacies Facts

First, consumers need to steer clear of unregulated websites as these are common causes of fake medicine distribution that could potentially harm their health. In the UK, only selected few online pharmacies are regulated to offer online prescriptions. The regulation is designed to assure patients that the pharmacy meets certain standards in terms of who can legally dispense medication. The General Pharmaceutical Council has the responsibility of regulating online pharmacies to ensure that only generic medication is being delivered to consumers.

Normally, UK online pharmacies offer their medication at relatively low prices and in greater quantities. Patients also benefit from the anonymity, giving them the chance to describe embarrassing health conditions.

The other positive side of online pharmacies is that they have the capacity to provide rationed medicines that are not often provided in National Health Services such as facial hair reduction creams. Patients also prefer online services as they can obtain non-prescribed medicines. With the high rise of online pharmaceutical services, it is necessary to find out if the provider is regulated to avoid falling into the hands of a quack.

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It’s no secret that the general population is growing at a rate faster than ever before. As it stands, the UK has a population of 64.1 million – a number which is predicted to reach 70 million mid-2027, just 10 years from now.

The world’s population is expanding at a similar rate, with more than 7 billion people on the planet currently and urban populations rapidly developing and branching out.

The healthcare systems supporting these huge urban populations will find themselves under strain, as more and more health issues arise due to people living in such close proximity to each other and the pollutants existing in such cities.

Slums are being erected more and more in some of the world’s largest countries, such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico – the number of people in the world living in slums reached 863 million in 2014 – and these have significant effects on the environment and the people who live in them. In turn, healthcare services for those who can afford it are being impacted and, due to poor sanitisation, such close confinements and the sheer number of people in one place, there are a number of cases of serious illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea.

In China, the air pollution in the country’s large cities is causing serious respiratory issues as breathing the air in Beijing is likened to smoking 40 cigarettes a day. Therefore, healthcare services in the country are significantly under strain as the population suffers due to the radical urbanisation the country is undergoing.

Focusing on the UK alone, the strain such a huge population can have on a free health service is threatening to its ability offer the best care. The NHS currently deals with more than 1 million patients every 36 hours and is already under great strain. As the population grows, this issue will only increase along with it. Patient safety is currently the major issue, as under strain and overworked staff make decisions that could further jeopardise health because they are unable to think clearly.

The strain extends further than patient care too, supply and demand for items such as medical supplies and protective equipment will rise and there could also be a threat to the amount of available antibiotics and medicines to treat injuries and illnesses.

So what can we do?

It’s important we act now, to lower the potential strain on health services in the future, here are a few key ways to do this:

  • Encourage healthier living – obesity is rising in the world and this is one of the major contributing factors to the strain healthcare services are currently experiencing. Eating well and exercising more will improve general health across a population.
  • Businesses can implement healthcare plans in the workplace – many people get ill but their symptoms worsen because they do not want to pay for a check up at the dentist or antibiotics from the doctor. A healthcare service such as Bupa can cut costs and ensure people remain healthy.
  • More free phone services – People who simply want to talk about their symptoms should be able to call and speak to an advisor. The NHS 111 service took 1,351,761 calls in December 2016 alone, suggesting more support is required for this service.
  • Stronger support for mental health services and charities – Support for those suffering with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can find that their symptoms worsen if they don’t seek help, but the current healthcare system isn’t prepared for this. Free advice services and support networks can lighten the load on healthcare providers such as the NHS, as well as offering people the help they need.

The growing population will continue to have a significant impact on the healthcare services around the world, with the above points implemented we can help reduce this strain.

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Healthcare technology continues to evolve and impress us every year. This year won’t be any exception. Innovations in patient monitoring devices hope to improve both care given to patients and the manner care is provided. It also aims to improve prognosis and quality of life. Here are the latest innovations in patient monitoring devices.

 

NHS England Explores More Patient Monitoring Solutions

Just November of last year, the UK National Health Service started working with Reliq Health, a company that creates telemedicine and mobile health products for community-based care. The goal is to explore different remote patient monitoring solutions and see how Reliq Health’s platform can help in improving health outcomes and reduce costs for individuals that have chronic conditions.

The platform makes use of a secure cloud-based software, sensors, and voice technology to support patients and their caregivers in proactively managing chronic conditions at home, thereby minimizing exacerbations and complications. It also decreases healthcare costs and improves patient satisfaction.

Reliq’s platform is currently enrolling patients from the Imperial College Hospital in London. The platform emulates a hospital to create a fully automated “virtual ward” in a patient’s home. It tracks vital signs and medication adherence. It also gives alerts for different tasks, from taking medications and vital signs to performing their prescribed exercises or activities. Educational materials are also provided so patients and family members can have a better understanding of the condition and manage it in a better manner.

The NHS Is Ready to Roll Out Two Apps for Better Care Management

The UK’s NHS is ready to roll out two applications that will allow the healthcare team to gather clinical data from patients at home. The program is currently being tested at four hospitals around Oxfordshire and could extend to four other NHS districts over the following year. This is the first time the NHS is testing a platform that gathers information directly from an mHealth device, instead of depending on the data sent by a patient to a provider.

The app is expected to provide medical-grade data that is crucial in providing proper care. Since the home is quickly becoming a primary care setting, more and more healthcare providers are utilizing connected care to minimise visits to the emergency department and reduce readmissions.

The apps have been developed over the last eight years and target chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and gestational diabetes.

Close Monitoring of People Suffering from Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a hard habit to break. And those who are undergoing treatment for the addiction often experience relapse. Close monitoring allows for early intervention, which is why two companies are currently working on improving remote patient monitoring to improve care given to people who have alcohol use disorder.

Soberlink, creator of a remote breathalyzer approved by the FDA, will partner with MAP Health Management, provider of a remote platform. Together they will launch a pilot program this coming April. MAP’s platform focuses on improving financial and clinical results for chronic behavioral health disorders, such as substance use disorder. Those who will participate in the program will be provided with a Soberlink device which will be linked to their MAP profile.

The breathalyzer makes use of facial recognition technology to confirm the user’s identity. It will also send real-time information to MAP’s platform in case the user tests positive for alcohol, misses scheduled tests, or does a test with negative results.

The platform is capable of notifying the appropriate healthcare team members if it thinks that the patient is at risk for relapse. Team members will also be notified if the person is using alcohol.

MAP Health and Soberlink work with various treatment programs separately, but combining both technologies is a new innovation for the population. Although remote patient monitoring has become a norm for chronic conditions such as diabetes, it is something new to the substance disorder scene.

Improvement of Cardiac Monitoring System

patient monitoring

Endotronix, maker of cardiac monitoring systems, has added more money to fund the development of its remote cardiac monitoring system. The system known as Endotronix’s Cordella Heart Failure system is made of a wireless pulmonary artery sensor and a cloud-based patient management system. Endotronix is currently focusing on improving their clinical program so the product can soon be used commercially.

Monitoring any changes in a person’s heart rate is the best way to recognize a worsening heart failure. However, such observation was only available in clinical settings until recently. Endotronix’s system is different from other implantable devices as it allows patients and healthcare team members to see the data and come up with customized plans depending on the changes. The system is believed to play an important role in streamlining care and improving outcomes. It can also reduce healthcare costs.

Healthcare technology continues to play an important role in patient care, whether they are at home or in the hospital. And this year the world will see new technologies being tested and hopefully will create significant changes in the healthcare scene.

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With nearly all industries moving toward a more digital presence, it is no surprise that healthcare has taken a similar turn. Patients are demanding greater access to care in the UK, and online service providers are making an effort to meet this growing need. Just like brick-and-mortar health facilities, like dentists, hospitals, care homes, and specialists have an obligation to abide by standards set by the Care Quality Commission – the regulator of all health and social care services in England – online healthcare services must do the same. Unfortunately, a recent report published by the CQC highlights the perils some patients face when trusting the digital trend sweeping healthcare providers.

Dangers in Unsuitable Prescriptions

Errors in prescription medications take place in traditional pharmacy settings and doctor’s office around the world, but the anonymity of online pharmacies creates a higher probability of errors taking place. The most recent CQC report focused on digital healthcare service providers highlights some of the most glaring examples of substandard care in prescribing medications to patients. First, a widely known online pharmacy was found prescribing a large number of opioid-based medications without having a foundational system in place to confirm patients’ medical history or prescription track record. The CQC issued a restriction on the company, forcing it to limit its prescriptions until a sustainable system was established.

Another online pharmacy was cited for prescribing a high number of asthma inhalers, not in line with best practices of traditional providers. The company failed to implement a review system for new prescriptions, putting patients’ lives at risk. In this case, the CQC issued a warning to the online pharmacy to update its practices immediately. Other online providers were cited for not adequately reviewing patient medical histories prior to approving a requested prescription, and accurately identifying GP assessments before prescribing medicine to certain patients. Although the published reports from the CQC are helpful in bringing to light the risk patients face in using online healthcare services, there is only so much the organization can do to stave off potentially fatal issues that arise due to nonexistent safeguards among companies operating online.

How Patients can Help

The risks of using pharmacies and other healthcare services through a digital platform are growing as more individuals seek out immediate care for health-related issues. A representative from a team of medical negligence solicitors dealing with cases of prescription claims and those where harm is caused due to medication mistakes explains the most significant issue online providers present to the public. In essence, the same standard of care should extend beyond traditional settings in which doctors, nurses, specialists, and pharmacists are providing care face-to-face to those who offer medical guidance online. Patients deserve the highest quality care available, and online companies along with the people who work for them have an obligation to protect those who seek their services. That can be done by abiding by the best practices laid out by the CQC, including understanding the medical history of the patient, other medications the patient may be taking, and the recommendations of the patient’s GP.

Patients using online healthcare providers have a responsibility to do their due diligence when working with a primary care, pharmacy, or specialist company. The best step to take is to ensure that the organization is registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA by searching the company name, number, or website online. Additionally, any website that sells medicine to the public is required to show the EU common logo for potential patients to see. As the Care Quality Commission continues its objective to maintain a safe and high-quality healthcare environment for patients in England, individuals can do their part by being knowledgeable of the risks they face when conducting medical business online.

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Technology has long been a force for change in dentistry. Think back twenty, ten or even just five years ago, the industry looked drastically different and day-to-day work involved tasks that have since been replaced by processing power and some clicks. The dental industry is advancing rapidly. In this article, we will be discussing the advanced technology in dental industry and its effectiveness.

dental industry

Dentists working from a digital platform can instantly share patient information among staff members, transfer files to the lab, and help increase case acceptance by visually showing patients areas of diagnosis and proposed treatment. With these new capabilities, digital practices are experiencing greater productivity, better communications with patients and a more satisfied staff.

Smart Toothbrush

This technology is made to change tooth brushing habits of children and adults by motivating individuals to brush better through games (for kids) and coaching (for adults) that guide them toward improved dental hygiene. This product includes sensors that can identify the area of the mouth in which the user is brushing. This powerful technology also has the ability to store data, and create a personalized visual check-up to show where the user brushed and missed over a 7-day period.

3D Printing Makes the Digital Physical

A digital platform in dentistry means that all patient information, imaging systems, and CAD/CAM data work together in a connected pattern. Because of the real-time flow of information, the practice with a digital platform is capable of operating more efficiently with the quicker delivery of procedures and a higher level of productivity. Uses of 3D printing include the production of drill guides for dental implants, the production of physical models for prosthodontics, orthodontics, and surgery, the manufacturer of dental, craniomaxillofacial and orthopedic implants, and the fabrication of copings and frameworks for implant and dental restorations. 3D printing is also likely to revolutionize the design of dental mouthguards, particularly those that are designed to be worn with braces and fitted specifically to the patient’s mouth.

Lasers

Lasers in dentistry have seen a tremendous rise and fall in use and popularity. All lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. When used for surgical and dental procedures, the laser acts as a cutting instrument or a vaporizer of tissue that it comes in contact with. When used for curing a filling, the laser helps to strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth.

Some dentists are using lasers to treat:

  • Tooth decay.
  • Gum disease.
  • Biopsy or lesion removal.
  • Teeth whitening.

Intra-Oral Camera

The camera’s unique liquid lens technology works like the human eye to ensure effortless image capture to deliver clear, detailed images patients can really understand. This camera is having six long-lasting LEDs around the lens provide balanced. Your technology treatment plan will become clear and will be far more customized to your needs than a simple formula for equipment purchases.

Today’s patient is exposed to advanced technology every day and expects to find the same high-tech welcoming environment at the dental office. Advances in dental equipment are rapidly making this high-tech practice a reality, with innovative equipment increasing efficiencies and delivering better services to patients. Digital practices are experiencing greater productivity, better communications with patients, and a more satisfied staff.

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