Healthcare workers say better tech needed to save lives
A global survey of healthcare workers has found that over half believe that having better technology could help save lives.
The survey by SOTI, an IoT management provider, was carried out among homecare workers and nurses in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, US, Canada and Australia. Its aim was to understand how technologically equipped they are, the key mobility challenges they are experiencing on the frontline, and how well their organisations have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entitled the Critical Technology for Critical Care: The State of Mobility in Healthcare 2020/21 Report, it found that 55 per cent of respondents think that investment in new or better technology is necessary to save lives. This figure rose to 68 per cent among healthcare workers in the UK.
Additionally 63 per cent of the respondents said they experience IT issues during their normal working week, with only a third of their time actually spent helping patients.
The survey also found that 54 per cent of healthcare workers said that trying to use their employer’s technology wastes valuable time they could have spent helping patients. They said 44 per cent of their time was spent helping patients, with the rest spent on activities like accessing and updating patient records, and recording information for administrative purposes.
The research also looked at the impact of COVID-19, and how many healthcare providers have turned to technology to continue treating patients while enforcing social distancing measures. It found:
- 33 per cent of healthcare workers said that new systems and/or technology have been introduced by their employer during the pandemic
- However only 22 per cent said their technology systems were prepared to manage any situation related to COVID-19
- 26 per cent said their existing systems and technology have been unable to cope
- 73 per cent agree that their employer needs to invest in new or better technology to prepare for any future health crises.
Commenting on the survey results, Stefan Spendrup, SOTI's VP of Sales for Northern and Western Europe, said: “With healthcare budgets consistently stretched, but the expectations higher than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s of little surprise that frontline healthcare workers are coming up against significant barriers.
“SOTI’s research shows that healthcare workers are wasting time on admin tasks which could be simplified with integrated mobile technology. Frontline staff are also impacted by legacy or outdated technology and with 68 per cent of UK healthcare workers agreeing that better technology could help improve patient care, it is a clear sign that the time for smarter technology adoption is now.”
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
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.”