May 17, 2020

NHS pledges £1.5mn to digitise the information between adult social care and health providers

Digital health
Catherine Sturman
3 min
NHS Digital has announced that it is set to provide three streams of funding to invest in the need for integrated care to ensure positive patient experi...

NHS Digital has announced that it is set to provide three streams of funding to invest in the need for integrated care to ensure positive patient experiences across the entire healthcare spectrum of services.

Local authorities will work alongside adult social care services and academics groups and can apply for funding to enhance data sharing capabilities across the healthcare industry.

The first £1.1mn funding stream will be provided for ‘demonstrator areas’ to adopt or develop digital products and services which can transfer information from clinical into adult social care settings, with the goal to increase both quality and efficiency of care, NHS Digital has stated.

Organisations will also be encouraged to utilise existing technologies, such as secure email service NHSmail and the online Medical Discharge Summary (MDS) given upon patient discharge.

A second £233,000 funding stream will be for providers who wish to look deeper into how, and what information moves from one stream to the other, and the ways in which data sharing can be improved to provide a seamless pathway.

Applicants from both adult social care with voluntary or charity sector status and local government authorities in partnership with adult social care are invited to participate in the funding rounds, but must be committed to the project.

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The third £250,000 funding stream will be provided to local authorities and research organisations to look at how predictive analytics can lead to enhanced prevention, or prediction of long-term patient needs, particularly for those with long-term health conditions.  

Additionally, organisations will be required to look at the ethical implications in relation to the use of predictive analytics in social care, with regards to patient confidentiality and human rights laws.

“Demonstrators will be chosen on the basis that their work could be replicated easily to deliver benefits quickly for the system and pave the way for a truly integrated future,” explained James Palmer, Programme Lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital.

“The work that we’re asking applicants to undertake on predictive analytics is significant given its potential to support people at earlier stages. We know that this is an area fraught with ethical considerations.

“Through the provision of this funding, we want to begin to understand both how predictive analytics could and should be used in the provision of social care.”

Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department for Health and Social Care, added: “Timely access to accurate information is essential to supporting the efficient co-ordination of person-centred care.

“This can all be delivered much more quickly and accurately by the digital transfer of records through secure channels, or by more intelligent use of data, whilst maintaining privacy, respecting confidentiality and upholding people’s rights.”

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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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