Nov 30, 2020

uMed raises funds to grow automated platform for research

clinical research
Automation
COVID19
Leila Hawkins
2 min
uMed raises funds to grow automated platform for research
The platform aims to help healthcare providers conduct clinical research studies more efficiently...

Research technology company uMed has raised £3.7 million in funding to grow its platform for clinical research. 

uMed aims to help healthcare providers in the UK and US, including GPs, hospitals and health specialists, run patient research more efficiently while safeguarding data. 

The platform automates the clinical study process, creating patient registries that meet regulatory compliance, and combines electronic health data with data captured from each patient that can include genomic and biomarker samples.

This automation allows various healthcare providers, whether small doctor practices or large hospitals to participate in multiple research programmes simultaneously, without increasing overhead or burdens on clinical teams. 

The company already delivers its technology to a number of clinical research studies including the University of Oxford-led RAPTOR-C19 study, part of the national platform evaluating the use of Covid-19 diagnostics in different settings. With these findings scientists hope to better understand and control the transmission of the virus. 

The uMed process works in three stages. First the platform integrates with the healthcare provider’s EHR or data lake to match eligible patients to studies; then the uMed dashboard triggers the automated outreach and remote consent of patients on behalf of their recognised provider; and lastly data is captured remotely from both the patient, the EHR and where necessary the clinician, linking this data back to the study dataset. 

uMed’s founder and CEO, Dr Matt Wilson, a former NHS anaesthetist and Medical Officer in the Royal Marines, created the technology platform to connect life science researchers with healthcare providers and their patients. 

“Our technology can support healthcare providers in finding appropriate patients to participate in medical research including large scale patient registries which usually demands laborious, manual processes on top of their already complex and heavy workloads" he said. 

 “As our technology is uniquely able to reach back compliantly from the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to the patients, the process for building research registries can be heavily automated. It means clinicians can focus on patient care, while patients are given the opportunity to participate in many more studies from home with full transparency over use of their health records.” 

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Jun 23, 2021

NHSX releases new data plans, experts call for transparency

medicalrecords
patientdata
NHS
privacy
3 min
NHSX has published a new strategy for patient data sharing, with experts calling for transparency

Patients in England will get "greater control" over their health and care data according to new proposals set out by the government. 

In a new draft strategy called "Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data", Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says that more effective use of data will deliver better patient-focused care. "This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position." 

Under the new plans people will be able to access their medical records from different parts of the health system through different applications, to access test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans. 

The strategy, published by NHSX, the government department that sets policies for the use of technology within the NHS, follows delays to the creation of a central database of patient records amid concerns over data sharing and a lack of transparency, with critics saying that only a small proportion of the public were made aware of the plans and the choice to opt out. 

Kevin Curran,  senior member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Ulster, says that moving health records online raises concerns. "The move to an online app does seem like a natural progression, however there is a difference between having computerised records within our healthcare IT infrastructure and having those records reside on a public facing server. 

"Having records inhouse limits the range and type of access – it's far more difficult for remote hackers" Curran said. "There are techniques that healthcare organisations can use to reduce the risk of future data breaches. One way is to make it ‘opt in’, so patients have the choice to decide whether their medical information is moved to a public facing service so that they can access it. 

"However, those who do not opt in or download the app instead should have their records hosted in a non-public-facing cloud service. This way, if a data breach does occur, those who never used the app, or not wanted to, will not have had their details released." 

The new strategy has been welcomed by some, with an emphasis on the need for transparency.  Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said: "Health data has played a critical role in the last year – from tracking COVID-19 outbreaks and developing treatments, to getting people booked in for their vaccines. It is critical that the use of data is accelerated if the NHS is to tackle the backlog of care and address the massive health challenges facing the country. 

"It is particularly positive that the government has committed to building analytical and data science capability in the NHS and to improving data on social care. To ensure the full potential of data can be realised, the government must ensure transparency on how it will be used and the rights and options people have, as well as engaging with the public and health care professionals to build trust and show people how their data can improve the NHS and save lives." 

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