Aug 26, 2020

Widget tackles rise in drinking since lockdown began

alcohol treatment
online tracker
Leila Hawkins
2 min
 Widget tackles rise in drinking since lockdown began
Tool is designed to act as a deterrent to excessive drinking...

An interactive tool is addressing the rise in alcohol consumption since the coronavirus lockdown began. 

The widget, called the 'Alcohol Demotivator' asks the user about their drinking habits. It then calculates how much they spend on average per year on alcohol, and what health risks are associated with the quantities they're drinking, such as the likelihood of developing conditions like cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. 

The tool has been developed by the Abbeycare Foundation, a group of drug and alcohol addiction treatment clinics in the UK. Most of the data has been provided by the UK's National Health Service (NHS). Once someone has used the widget, their IP is stored on the system temporarily to be able to deliver personal results; it is deleted after 30 days and Abbeycare assure it's not used for any other purpose. 

Since creating the tool it's been used by local government websites in the UK, as well as being featured as a resource overseas by the Tampa Bay Monitoring website based in Florida, and the The Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network. 

Abbeycare are promoting the tool since research has found that around 31.4% of people around the world have started drinking alcohol earlier in the day since COVID-19 restrictions began. This figure rises to 46.8% in the UK, which has seen the biggest rise in drinking, followed by Netherlands with 43.7%. Globally 30.5% of people have said they're drinking on more days of the week, while 16.2% have reported an increase in binge drinking. 

The treatment group hope the tool can be used as a deterrent to many people who don't realise the consequences of drinking, such as exactly how much money they're spending or how likely they are to succumb to liver damage, among other problems. They also advise that it be used as a reference tool that's part of a recovery programme with structured aftercare. 

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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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