How online service 'What's Up Doc' will provide affordable healthcare to refugees
In an effort to provide frontline medical assistance to refugees and low-income families living within the country’s borders, a group of doctors in Lebanon have created the nation’s first internet-based service called ‘What’s Up Doc.’
The initiative was developed through a collaboration of medical experts in Beirut hospitals, with a goal of targeting thousands of refugees in and around Lebanon. It will use the internet as a way to communicate and diagnose patients, while also using its funds to further facilitate access to the service through online platforms.
‘What’s Up Doc’ aims to connect patients to qualified physicians through a low-cost phone call or video call that will be directed to an online application on its website. It can also be followed by an affordable house call if necessary.
Patients with serious health concerns that can’t be treated locally may find it difficult to reach the closest proper medical facilities due to a high cost of transportation as well as other external factors.
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According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Lebanon has already accepted over one million Syrian refugees, most of which are receiving little to no medical assistance and are living in sub-standard conditions.
“It is not a secret that a majority of the Lebanese people and refugees rely on self-prescriptions instead of seeking professional medical help, simply because it is either not easily accessible or affordable for them,” said Radwan Massoud, one of the group members.
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“Our project makes medical assistance available for those who need it for a fair price at the touch of a button.”
With over 80 percent of Lebanon able to access the internet, service is readily available. In addition, other options include mobile medical units provided by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which are able to be transported from one area to another during times of need.
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.”