Trial shows text messages improve malaria treatment
Text messages have proved to be a cheap and effective way of improving malaria care in African countries.
In the first study of its kind, daily text message reminders sent to health workers saw approximately 25 percent more children receive the proper treatment for malaria.
Researchers behind the project say text messages are a cost effective way of improving malaria care and the method would be easy to roll out across the whole of Africa as the use of mobile phones is rapidly increasing in developing countries.
READ MORE FROM THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK:
To read the latest edition of Healthcare Global, click here
- Food craving detect breast cancer
- Eating disorders postpone pregnancy
- Grapes protect against skin cancer and premature ageing
It is estimated that in Kenya alone, where the study was carried out, 86 percent of the population have access to a cell phone and there are 22 million subscribers to phone networks.
There has been concern over the success of malaria treatments in Africa because of low patient adherence rates to prescriptions.
Health workers therefore play a key role in administering malaria medications to sufferers; however other research found even their compliance to treatment guidelines is minimal.
As part of the study, text messages were sent to 119 health workers in Kenya for a period of six months at a rate of twice a day.
The health workers received advice and guidance on how to administer the anti-malarial medication of artemether-lumefantrine (AL).
An example of the messages sent is: “advise mother to finish all AL doses over three days even if the child feels better after two doses.”
When the study began only 20.5 percent of children were being treated correctly, but after health workers received the text messages this increased to 49.6 percent.
The cost of sending text message to one health worker for six months has been estimated at US$2.6 (£1.59).
Professor Bob Snow, who led the research, said: “The role of the mobile phone in improving health providers' performance, health service management and patient adherence to new medicines across much of Africa has a huge potential.”
“The simplicity and low cost of text messaging means that widespread implementation of an intervention that uses this technology can be done quickly and successfully,” he added.
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.”