Cloud computing reaches the healthcare industry
A London hospital is taking part in a pilot scheme which could revolutionise communications between doctors and patients.
The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is testing cloud computing to see how it can act as an online health platform to provide shared access to patient files and information.
It is thought that integrating cloud computing into the healthcare system would speed up patient-doctor communications and give patients more control over who can access their records.
The pilot scheme is set to launch in July this year and comes after 18 months of development by Flexiant, a company which specialises in cloud computing.
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Flexiant have said that security will be paramount to the success of the project which will implement a multi-factor authentication process.
The hospital is also working closely with researchers at the Edinburgh Napier University to discuss how cloud computing will replace the traditional system of paper medical records.
Professor Bill Buchanan, from the University said that the current medical record system in the UK often meant that data was not shared effectively between patients and among healthcare professionals.
He said in an interview: “Our system allows for data to be stored with its context, such as where it was captured, and then used in whatever way is necessary through well-managed clinical services.”
Ultimately, the use of cloud computing is likely to empower patients as they will be able to exercise full control over who has access to their results.
They will be able to invite people they trust to view their results, individuals such as GP’s, carers and family members, those who need to know their results.
The project has been funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”