News round-up (24 September)

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24th September 2021 about a 3 minute read

Some exciting news on artificial intelligence, with a new algorithm that can predict the oxygen needs of Covid patients, and an announcement of a 10-year AI strategy from the government.  Meanwhile, patients in Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from a remote diagnosis tool that reduces the need for outpatient appointments.

AI tool can predict COVID patients’ oxygen needs

Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have collaborated with 20 other hospitals worldwide in using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the oxygen needs of Covid-19 patients.

The researchers used an algorithm to analyse chest X-rays and anonymised electronic health data from hospital patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The results were used to create an AI tool called EXAM, which was able to predict patients’ oxygen needs within 24 hours of their arrival in the emergency department, with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of over 88%.

NHS trusts in Yorkshire and Humber sign telehealth deal with TytoCare

The telehealth company TytoCare has signed a deal with 14 NHS trusts within Yorkshire and Humber, following a successful pilot with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The TytoCare solution includes an all-in-one device that can be used to examine patients’ heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat, abdomen and body temperature. An expert based remotely can then access this information over video link.

It will be deployed in 70 care homes, as well as a number of hospitals, including Leeds Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital. In Leeds, for example, the device will take high-quality images of babies with cleft lip. Surgeons can then view the images remotely, removing the need for an outpatient appointment.

Government prioritises health in its new AI strategy

The government’s new 10-year plan for artificial intelligence (AI) focuses on climate change and public health. The strategy recognises that AI technologoies “have the potential to improve health outcomes for patients and service users, and to free up staff time for care.”  Plans outlined in the strategy include creating a programme to develop AI in sectors outside London and the south east, launching a consultation on copyright and patents for AI and piloting an AI standards hub.

CQC says maternity units aren’t improving fast enough

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a report into safety in maternity units. Its inspection of nine units has found that “there has not been enough learning from good and outstanding services – or enough support for that learning from the wider system.” Issues identified in the report include the quality of staff training; poor working relationships between obstetric and midwifery teams; a lack of robust risk assessment; and a failure to engage with and listen to the needs of local women. All these “continue to affect the safety of some hospital maternity services,” the report said.

Apple launches feature to share health data

The latest version of Apple’s iphone operating system, iOS, includes a feature that enables users to share their health data with doctors.

Users of Apple’s iPhone Health app in the US could already view data about immunizations, lab results, medications and vitals directly in their health app, as long as their health care provider participated in the scheme. Now they will be able to send their own data to their electronic health care record, including heart rate, detected falls, hours of sleep, or minutes exercised.