News round-up (June 18)

man looking at online news headlines
18th June 2021 about a 3 minute read

The exciting news for us this week was our very own Dr Peter Bloomfield and Dr Josefine Magnusson had a paper published in the special issue of Big Data & Society sponsored by the World Health Organisation.

Communicating public health during COVID-19, implications for vaccine rollout  is a follow-up to our work with IpsosMORI  last summer drawing on social media data to better understand the UK public’s experience of the coronavirus pandemic.

The research examined the role of official UK Government messaging and the influence of public figures in the spread of online information during the public health emergency.

Meanwhile, in other news, here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week…

What’s the Evidence that Health Apps Work? A Scoping Study of Evidence of Effectiveness for Direct-to-Consumer Apps on the App Store

The SSRN research network website features an Oxford study looking at claims by the increasing numbers of health related apps. 

The authors express surprise that policymakers, regulators and legislators seem to have paid so little attention to the way new technologies – particularly health apps which make various claims – are changing the medical evidence landscape.

The results suggest that the evidence available to support claims made by the health apps analysed is often “unavailable or of questionable quality.”

BIVDA Launches ‘The Digital Revolution’ Strategy Paper

BIVDA, the in-vitrio diagnostics (IVD) technologies industry body, has published a paper aimed at ensuring the digitisation of IVD and the breakthroughs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic turn out to be lasting changes.

The last year has demonstrated that the IVD industry has the ability and capacity to transform healthcare through an early diagnosis culture which prevents the public from becoming patients.

Rapid, mass testing has become part of life and the general population is more informed and familiar with IVD than ever before.

The paper recommends a series of actions to ensure that the advances in digital diagnosis are embedded in the health service as we emerge from the pandemic.

The role of the arts and humanities in thinking about artificial intelligence (AI)

An interesting blog on the Ada Lovelace Institute website discussing the contribution that the arts and humanities can make to our engagement with artificial intelligence. 

John Tasioulas, Director of the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford, argues that it’s important to identify the choices around AI to frame them in the right way. Only then can we ask the question: who gets to make those choices and how?

He says that the arts and humanities need to be democratised if they are to advance the agenda of ‘humanistic’ AI ethics.

The rise of innovation and technology in Danish healthcare

There are some interesting comparisons with the UK in an article on Health Europa about the Danish health system.

During the pandemic, public healthcare authorities, private companies and universities in Denmark joined forces to combine their resources to step up capacity to handle the crisis.

As a result of these public-private partnerships, a number of new initiatives were developed and implemented. These ranged from initiatives to reduce personal contact to avoid further spread of the virus, to increasing hygiene measures to remove the virus from physical items.