News round-up 24 June

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24th June 2022 about a 4 minute read

The latest example of how digital technology shapes the way care is delivered comes from Cardiff University, where researchers have shown that a mental health app can be as effective at treating PTSD as a face-to-face course of therapy. Meanwhile, IT experts have called for a “clinical satnav”: a digital tool that can give guidance to doctors about diagnosis and treatment that could improve patient care. NHS leaders, speaking at last week’s NHS Confed Expo, have said that patients should be more involved in the NHS’s adoption of digital technology.

New virtual treatment for people with PTSD

Researchers from Cardiff University have developed a new form of virtual treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The team carried out a clinical trial, the results of which have been published in the British Medical Journal.

Nearly 200 adults with a diagnosis of mild-to-moderate PTSD took part in the randomised controlled trial, which compared traditional face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions with a guided web and app-based therapy called Spring, devised by Cardiff University. The virtual therapy consists of an eight-week programme, but includes guidance and support from a therapist.

The results showed that more than 80% of people in both groups no longer had PTSD by the 16-week mark. Professor Jonathan Bisson from Cardiff University’s National Centre for Mental Health said that the trial found that “guided internet-based CBT is clinically effective, cheaper, flexible and as effective as face-to-face treatment.”

Report calls for doctors to have ‘clinical satnav’ to improve care

A new report from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says that a “clinical satnav” for doctors could help improve patient care.

The report, entitled Building a ‘clinical satnav’ for practitioners and patients, looks at how providing better computerised advice for routine medical decisions could save lives and help to solve problems like over-prescription of antibiotics

It argues that a “clinical sat-nav” at the doctor’s fingertips could give them guidance on which tests to order, how to evaluate the results and possible diagnoses, as well as offers options for care and treatments.

To achieve this, the report says it is necessary to develop accurate, standardised, computable forms of clinical guidance and systems that are able to talk to each other across the UK.

Public should be involved in digitisation, say NHS leaders

A panel of NHS digital leads at last week’s NHS Confed Expo said that the public and patients must have a say in the NHS’s adoption of digital technology.

In a session called Levelling Up: making the best use of digital technology to support the delivery of efficient, effective and safe care, panellists emphasised the importance of including patients. Luke Readman, regional director of digital transformation at NHS London, said that “systems we implement have to be useable, useful and include the public in the process”. He also stressed the importance of collaboration and avoiding “reinventing the wheel.”

In the same session, Jo Dickson, chief nursing officer at NHS Digital, said that: “frontline digitisation would mean a big improvement from a patient perspective. Using digital well means patients can be more involved and that’s what must happen – patients and clinicians involved together.”

MHRA to play greater role in setting global standards for medicines and medical devices regulation

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been accepted as a full member of three international work-sharing partnerships.

The three partnerships are the International Medical Device Regulatory Forum (IMDRF); the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH); and the Medical Devices Innovation Consortium (MDIC).

The first two are focused on improving the harmonisation and convergence of medicines and medical devices regulation globally. The third is a US-based public-private partnership that aims to shorten the path from innovation to safety to access, enabling patients to receive the medical devices they need more quickly.

NHS launches allied health professionals strategy

NHS England has published a new 2022-2027 strategy for allied health professionals, the third largest workforce in the NHS, representing 14 different occupations, such as art therapy, podiatry and radiography.

The strategy, which is based on a consultation with more than 3,200 registrants, has five areas of focus: people first; optimising care; social justice: addressing health and care inequalities; environmental sustainability; and strengthening and promoting the AHP community.

Noting that Covid-19 has increased social and health inequalities, it emphasises the importance of “supporting more equitable access to AHP services for lower socioeconomic groups, ethnic minority groups, people living in rural areas and other specific disadvantaged groups, and people with mental health problems.”