News round-up (30 April)

man looking at online news headlines
30th April 2021 about a 3 minute read
Another busy news week, another snapshot of some of the health tech stories that we thought were worth a read…. 

Pain assessment tool for use in social care settings

Med-Tech Innovation News reports that social care professionals in residential care and nursing homes are now using an AI-powered pain assessment tool.

PainChek analyses micro-facial expressions to assess pain. The technology was first developed to enable care workers to identify and manage pain in people living with dementia or cognitive impairments.

But it can now be used with care and residential home residents who can self-report their pain.

AI breakthrough could speed up lung cancer diagnosis – and save the NHS millions

iNews claims an exclusive for the story that more than 60,000 people a year could be spared the stress of unnecessary tests for lung cancer after a breakthrough in diagnosis using artificial intelligence.

The development also has the potential to eliminate about 3,300 unnecessary biopsies a year and to speed up diagnosis in a further 3,400 patients who have the disease.

The novel process uses a computer to compare large numbers of images at a time in order to identify traits of concern on scans. The programme was developed by analysing the development of nodules in more than 1,000 patients over time.

AI used to automate assessment of mesothelioma

In a similar vein to the story above, the University of Glasgow website highlights a study of patients receiving treatment for Mesothelioma, who are being assessed using AI. 

The initiative is part of a prototype imaging system which could revolutionise the way people with the disease are cared for. 

Scotland currently has the highest incidence of Mesothelioma in the world, a reflection of the historical use of asbestos in many UK industries, including shipbuilding and construction.

Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases

A survey by the World Health Organisation has found that, despite progress since 2020, more than a third of respondent countries (37%) are still experiencing disruption to their routine immunization services because of COVID-19.

Services have started to recover but the Vaccine Alliance has used World Immunization Week to highlight the urgent need for a renewed global commitment to improve vaccination access and uptake.

NICE signs up to join the GetReal Institute

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced it will join with nine other organisations to form the GetReal Institute as a founding member.

NICE’s new five-year strategy sets out how the organisation wants to have a leadership role in data, research and science. 

The strategy aim will involve driving the research agenda, using real world data to resolve gaps in knowledge and drive forward access to innovations for patients.

Modern tech helps NHS in North Wales conduct virtual consultations

The Welsh Government’s Help Us, Help You campaign, shows public confidence in platforms, including the online symptom checker is growing.

Over 139,500 virtual consultations took place in Wales over the last year through the NHS Wales video consulting service

As a result, 558,118 patient travel miles were avoided, amounting to 12,350 hours saved.

TEC Cymru, the organisation which pioneered the new systems, says remote options will become a “realistic and accessible” alternative to traditional face-to-face appointments in the years ahead.