May 17, 2020

Checking emails could be bad for your health

University of California
2 min
Checking emails can increase stress
Checking your work email could be bad for your health and your productivity, according to new research by the University of California, Irvine. Accordi...

Checking your work email could be bad for your health and your productivity, according to new research by the University of California, Irvine.

According to the study, which connected heart rate monitors to office workers, checking your emails constantly puts people in a state of ‘high alert’, giving them a very constant heart rate. Those who had their emails taken away however, experienced more natural, variable heart rates.

Those participants who didn’t have access to their emails also reported feeling ‘better able to do their jobs’, staying on tasks longer with fewer interruptions. The participants without emails also switched windows half as much- only 18 times an hour compared with 37 for those checking their emails.

 “We found that when you remove email from workers’ lives, they multitask less and experience less stress,” said UCI informatics professor Gloria Mark. Being on a state of ‘high alert’ is often linked to high rates of the hormone cortisol, which is linked to stress. Stress in the workplace is often related to a variety of health problems, such as an increased likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.

The findings have prompted a range of ideas to decrease the levels of stress induced by emails. Professor Mark said the findings could be useful for boosting productivity and suggested that controlling email login times, batching messages or other strategies might be helpful. “Email vacations on the job may be a good idea,” she noted. “We need to experiment with that.”

While participants without email were healthier, however, they did report feeling ‘more isolated’. While those kept ‘out of the loop’ relied on colleagues for critical information, not having email can make people feel less included in a group. However, this feeling could be relieved by more personal interaction.

According to Professor Mark, “participants loved being without email, especially if their manager said it was OK. In general, they were much happier to interact in person.”

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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