RSM’s Medical apps: mainstreaming innovation with Matt Hancock

This event on 4 April run by the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Section continues the successful series started by this editor (now no longer involved) seven years ago. It will examine the growing role that apps are playing in healthcare delivery.

Join colleagues to hear renowned speakers, including the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, discuss the current and future part apps can play in the NHS and broader healthcare industry. We will hear Wendy Clarke, executive director at NHS Digital talk about the new NHS app. As apps move from concept to pilot to practice, demonstrating efficacy becomes increasingly important, so will be looking at how we can best assess clinical effectiveness. It is well recognised that poorly designed software can hamper rather than enhance healthcare. Matt Edgar Head of design for NHS Digital will talk of the importance of good design in medical apps, and how it can improve patient and clinician experience. The use of cutting edge technology in healthcare necessarily opens new regulatory and legal issues. We are pleased to have our legal counsel, Julian Hitchcock back to share his experience with this, with a particular focus on the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. We will also be examining the importance of interoperability, as medical apps become more mainstream, and how to make this happen. We have some presentations, too, from new and established medical start-ups, showcasing the transformative effects these new technologies can have. Finally, we will take a look at what the future may hold with futurologist Lewis Richards, Chief Digital Officer of Servest.

Aims:

This meeting aims to: 

  • Encourage clinicians to consider medical apps when deciding on an appropriate intervention
  • Aid understanding of the medicolegal issues around medical app use
  • Reduce the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the use of medical apps

Objectives:

By the end of this meeting, delegates will be able to,

  • Have an understanding of the current state of the art of medical apps
  • Explain the latest position on regulation and endorsement of medical apps
  • Have an appreciation of how to assess the clinical effectiveness of medical apps. 

Book here – best to book soon too, as currently the RSM has not allocated the largest lecture theatre to the event so it will almost certainly sell out.

A selection of short digital health items of potential interest

Editor Charles has taken time off recently from assessing mHealth apps to give us a selection of short news items and event notifications.

CE and FDA certification

This editor recently stumbled over the first list he’s ever seen of approved digital health medical devices. As of today there are some 151 products on there which is hugely impressive. One of the reasons for the relatively poor showing of CE certifications on the list is that there is no official list yet: latest forecasts for Eudamed, which will provide this, are Spring 2020 amid much uncertainty about whether enough Notified Bodies will be approved to certify to the MDR in time. Immediately spotted as a CE certification missing is Walk with Path’s Path Finder device for helping people with Parkinson’s to avoid a freezing of their gait (though CE certification is well hidden on their website) and doubtless there are others. Clearly the list points up potential benefits were it ever possible to harmonise the approval process across the Pond.

Longevity 

The first Longevity Leaders event took place on Monday, perhaps the first large event in the UK on that topic. Based on the enthusiasm of attendees, clearly it won’t be the last. Doubtless in due course it will fragment into a myriad of specialist topics though currently it is a fascinating combination of almost every medical/pharmaceutical and digital discipline, plus housing and a range of other considerations. Timescales varied widely too – for example I talked about the immediate benefits of digital health including keeping people in their own homes, thus minimising sarcopenia from being confined to a hospital bed and avoiding exacerbating dementia by a change of environment, whereas others spoke of how best to make DNA immortal and whether the first person destined to live to 1000 had already been born.

Clinical  Homecare

From the sublime (last item) to the The National Clinical Homecare Association‘s conference on 31st January, where this Editor also spoke on how digital health could help people to be treated in their own homes. Notable was the absence of any Twitter handle for the Association, no hashtag for the conference and just two people it seemed out of 250 using social media. Clearly there are huge opportunities here for digital health suppliers, particularly as so much of what was said by other speakers, and what was being shown in the exhibition was very much manually-intensive stuff: join the NCHA and start a revolution in clinical homecare! 

Recent developments in AI

Since this editor stopped active involvement in conference organisation for the Royal Society of Medicine it is encouraging to see that the younger generation has picked up the baton and is running even harder, such that the above event, on 26th February, has proved so popular that it has been moved to the largest (300 seater) lecture theatre at the Society, and on current sign-up rate will sell out.  Speakers from Babylon, Ada Health, DeepMind, Kheiron Medical, BenevolentAI, UCL Life Sciences & Alan Turing AI partnership, and many more will ensure that delegates gain a comprehensive understanding of how AI is being used across healthcare. Book here to experience the delights of the new RSM all-new website which makes signing up for an event so much easier than in the past. Fear not though: the RSM’s legendary low ticket costs are maintained!

Wayra and Novartis

A most exciting event this week was the announcement of the joint Wayra and Novartis health call now looking for their next cohort of remarkable start-ups to join their new programme called The Health Hub. This is built together with their new partner Novartis, one of the leading pharma companies. Their focus is on how healthtech can be used drastically to innovate long-term disease management. Apply here, by February 17th. Hat tip to Professor Mike Short for this item and other observations in this post .

Rewired Pitchfest

Early health tech entrepreneurs should consider taking part in the Rewired Pitchfest at the Digital Health Rewired Conference and Exhibition, Olympia London on 26 March. Sponsored by Silver Buck, this provides the opportunity for early stage digital health start-ups to showcase their disruptive ideas and prototypes to NHS IT leaders. Applicants will compete before a judging panel featuring investors and successful start-up founders. It’s a great way to gain significant exposure and make connections with a diverse range of UK digital health leaders…and the winner will be announced, and congratulated, by Matt Hancock himself! There is also the chance of winning a mentoring programme with the experts on the judging panel and PR features in Digital Health News. (Disclosure: this editor is on the Programme Committee of Rewired, as well as being a Pitch judge)

Punning headlines

It’s rare that a single item is worthy of its own paragraph on TTA these days however an exception must surely be made for one of the few punning headlines to be found in digital health, especially as it’s for such an old – and until now undelivered – idea: “Smart toilet seat is flush with possibilities to monitor patients’ health”

The most important event in two weeks’ time: the Future of Medicine on June 13th at the RSM!

In two weeks’ time, Donald Trump may meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore and the World Cup will begin, though even more importantly the Royal Society of Medicine will be holding its fourth Future of Medicine event in partnership with the Institute of Engineering and Technology: on June 13th to be precise.

The full title is the Future of Medicine: the role of doctors in 2028.  The conference will explore just how far the delivery of health and care will be improved by the availability of new technology over the next decade, and what the latest predictions are by those working in the field of how this will change the way medicine will really be practised. It is aimed primarily at senior executives in the health and care world whose decisions today will hasten – or hinder – the arrival of improved technology-enabled care, though it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in knowing what’s happening at the cutting edge of how medical technology is changing medicine.

One area of focus will be training doctors to work in this new world: Professor Joanne Martin will describe how Barts are tackling this, and Dr Jean Nehme will describe how technology can specifically help train surgeons. Dr Harpreet Sood (not yet in the published programme) has kindly offered to talk about how the NHS Digital Academy fits into the picture. The future of the profession will be explored by Dr Will Cavendish, now at Arup,  and Professor Pali Hungin.

AI is a key topic running through the event, for which Dr Clare Novorol of Ada.com and Dr Richard Dybowski of Cambridge University will offer contrasting views and Dr Vishal Nangalia will look specifically at its impact on surgery. Promoting innovation is clearly key, and our distinguished ‘regular’, Professor Tony Young will give another of his high-intensity presentations on it.  Speakers on specific key relevant topics will include Professor Rachel McKendry on rapid diagnostic tests, Dr James Wollard on changing the way mental health is managed and Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu on the future of nanomedicine. Finally, wrapping it all up, Andy Wilkins, Consultant, and Chris Burghes, CEO, The Royal Free Charity, will describe the new vision they have been developing of the future of person-centred care. 

Another great day, in short, and at the usual very low cost RSM rates!

For more information, and to book, click here.

(Disclosure, this editor was involved in putting together this conference.)

Upcoming London events–a few suggestions

Here are three upcoming events in London that readers may be interested in.

The Royal Society of Medicine’s mHealth Apps conference, 19th April

This, the sixth such annual event, brings together the good and the great in the medical apps world to inform you of recent and expected developments in evaluation, regulation, legislation, behaviour change and assessment, as well as some heartening stories of successful apps. Presenters will include Alexia Tonnel of NICE, Neil McGuire from MHRA and Hazel Jones from NHS Digital alongside Prof Jeremy Wyatt, giving an academic view, Julian Hitchcock, a European regulatory view and Dr Richard Brady his not-to-be-missed “Bad Apps” exploration of the dark side of medical technology.  Book here.

Bridging the Gap, 2nd May, Wellcome Collection, London

Join Commercial Directors from across the AHSN Network on Wednesday 2 May 2018 for a range of 1:1 advice sessions, workshops and networking opportunities at the AHSN Network’s fully subsidised “Bridging the Gap” event that’s open to all health technology companies.Delegates will be able to get advice about how to make their engagement with the NHS sharper and more cost effective. That means understanding how decisions are made in the NHS, who makes the decisions and how to get their attention. They’ll also provide opportunities to test and and develop your value proposition, budget impact model and your approach to evaluation and case study development. Book here.

Confirmed AHSNs taking part include: Eastern, HIN, ICHP, Kent Surrey Sussex, South West, West Midlands, West of England, UCLPartners, Yorkshire and Humber. National organisations also taking part and supporting the event include: NHS England, NICE and NIHR.

The Future of Medicine; the role of doctors in 2028, on 13th June

This, the fourth annual event on this topic from the RSM, will focus on how technology is likely to change the way medicine is delivered over the next ten years. This year we have three speakers focusing on how technology is affecting the way medicine is taught, and how medical students are being taught differently, to enable them to be most effective in this new world. Should be essential attendance for digital health executives looking for new inspiration!

Presenters include Professor Jo Martin, Professor of Pathology, Queen Mary University of London, Director of Academic Health Sciences, Barts Health NHS Trust, and President Royal College of Pathologists, and Will Cavendish who was the senior Civil Servant in the Office of Life Sciences (OLS) when George Freemen (a previous presenter at this event) was heading the OLS. Book here.

Disclosure: Charles Lowe is ex-President of the RSM’s Telemedicine Section and was involved in setting up both the above RSM events.

A fistful of topical events

The London Health Technology Forum has just announced the details of its Christmas evening meeting on 13th December. Star turn will be the seasonally-appropriate Andrew Nowell, CEO of Pitpatpet who has a brilliant story to tell of how an activity tracker can unlock so many revenue sources. Attendees will also unlock mince pies, courtesy of longstanding host Baker Botts, and a roundup of key digital health changes in 2017 from this editor.

NICE Health App Briefings: NICE has finally published the end result of its review of three health apps on their Guidance & Advice list. Given that digital health is so much faster moving than pharma, it is disappointing that these apps appear to be being judged to a very high level of evidence requirement.

For example Sleepio, whose evidence for  effectiveness “is based on 5 well-designed and well-reported randomised controlled trials and 1 large prospective unpublished audit” is still judged, in terms of clinical effectiveness, as “has potential to have a positive impact for adults with poor sleep compared with standard care. There is good quality evidence that Sleepio improves sleep but the effect size varies between studies, and none of the studies compared Sleepio with face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT‑I).”

This editor is unaware of any other app that has five good RCTs under its belt so (more…)

A blogger’s lot is not a happy one

Who would want to be a digital health blogger? Seconds of inspiration lead to minutes of typing which lead to hours of making sure you have the right URL embedded, the right layout, put in the right tags, tipped your hat to everyone who has helped, not caused offence (well not too much anyway), and so on. And for what? Occasionally you run into someone at a show who says how much they like a post, and that’s it. Well not quite, because there’s a wonderful sense of release when you’ve got something burning inside you out in the open, even if nothing comes back to you.

This came to mind recently because another drawback of being a blogger is that people send you stuff they think is important and get quite irate if you don’t agree (and so don’t blog it). One such piece is the announcement last week that David Allison, Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation and former Chief Operating Officer for Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is joining Draper & Dash to add “to their stellar executive board team dedicated to enabling world-class digital analytics platforms”. I’ll say straight away that I don’t know why someone with such impeccable-looking credentials is taking essentially what used to be called a “desk job”, so I mean nothing personal by picking this example. It just happened to be the one that spurred me into action.

It does worry me though that (more…)

A few short topical items: NHS Digital, DHACA, IET, more

Rob Shaw, NHS Digital’s Deputy CEO, gave a welcome talk at EHI Live on Tuesday encouraging the NHS organisations to become “intelligent” customers. To quote “We have got to make it easier for suppliers to sell into health and social care”. Let’s hope that the message is received and acted on! Until it is, the Kent Surrey and Sussex AHSN is offering help to SMEs to make that first sales – how to book, and to get more details on the event on 23rd November go here.

DHACA’s Digital Health Safety event, in partnership with Digital Health.London on 7th November is proving extremely popular, to the point where it may be oversubscribed soon, so if you want a seat for this really important event for all digital health developers and suppliers, book now.

The IET is running a TechStyle event on the evening of 22 November entitled the world of wearables aimed at people “between 14 and 114”. For today only (1 November) they are offering a special “2 for 1” deal making the already tiny cost essentially insignificant. Book here.  Hat tip to Prof Mike Short.

Prof Short has also highlighted a recent report from Agilysis looking at the role digital technology can play in delivering the vital step change our nation’s care services need. It concluded that: 

  • Leading digital professionals say lack of digital skills biggest risk to transforming care services fit for the 21st century;
  • Lack of knowledge of digital tools is largely responsible for delays in embracing new ways of working;
  • Believe digital technology could cut costs associated with social care delivery and therefore address the number one issue affecting UK social care today;
  • Digital technology can help local authorities manage both demand (improved customer satisfaction) and supply (improves multi-agency working).

There’s a great (more…)

A random selection of what’s crossed my screen recently

One of the signs of autumn for this editor is the first email from Flusurvey. This is a brilliantly simple system that sends you an email every week asking if you have flu-like symptoms, then produces a map of the UK that gives advance warnings of epidemics. It costs nothing to join and is a great contribution to public health so why not sign up?. (They also have some exciting developments that may surface soon such as a small device that you blow into the connects to a smartphone and can tell almost immediately if you have flu’.)

Increasingly of concern to this editor, due to his deep involvement in digital health regulation, is who is working out how to regulate self-learning algorithms. It is therefore good to see the issue breaking cover in the general press with this article. For what it’s worth this editor’s view is that as technology begins to behave more like humans, albeit in a much faster, and narrow, way by learning as it goes along, perhaps an appropriately adapted use of the way human clinicians are examined, supervised and regulated, might be most appropriate. Sitting next to an AHSN CIO interested in the topic at a Kings Fund event last week, I was pleased to hear him offer precisely the same suggestion, so perhaps there is a little mileage in the idea. 

DHACA (disclosure: run by this editor) has just renewed its website after a long delay, and will be updating content over the next few weeks. First off is the events page advertising:

Our Digital health safety conference on 7th November at Cocoon Networks, London, is being run jointly with DigitalHealth.London – the MHRA has now confirmed they will present so we have almost all the relevant organisations and experts in the UK speaking at this event which should be essential attendance for all involved with the development and use of digital health & care. Attendance has increased substantially in the past few days so do book soon to be sure of securing a place. Much more, including an almost-finalised agenda, is here.

DHACA Day XV – we are back to our usual location at the Digital Catapult Centre on 10th January where are building an agenda of some extremely interesting speakers. To check out the agenda development and to book in advance, go here.

(more…)

Regulation, safety and sustainable development: three short important updates

Erik Vollebregt has just released a blog that should be read by anyone with a medical device or whose technology is likely to be classified as a medical device under the new Medical Devices Regulation (MDR – Regulation 2017/745/EU) which replaces the MDD in early 2020. It makes scary reading as to what will need doing to comply with the new regulations as approval under the MDD will no longer apply (no ‘grandfathering’). MedTech Europe has helpfully produced a flowchart describing the necessary steps. Advice from official sources given to this editor is that, as the MDR already applies in the EU, its continued application in the UK after Brexit is not in serious doubt, so UK companies should not delay.

The Digital Health & Care Alliance (disclosure; that this editor manages) and DigitalHealth.London are jointly running a digital health safety conference on 7th November. Key players in the UK are on the agenda (including the CQC, MHRA, HSIB, NHS Digital/England, Datix, Vitalpac etc.). This is a topic that requires the attention of all developers and providers of digital health, as new technology, being unfamiliar, is inherently risky. It is therefore really key for everyone involved to share experiences, understand the risks and carefully plan avoidance and mitigation.  The draft agenda and booking details are here (there is a small charge for lunch).

For those who have doubts about the benefits that mobile communications can bring at times, a read of the GSMA’s 2017 report on mobile’s contribution to the UN’s sustainable development goals will fill you full of optimism of what technology can do, for health and many other aspects of life. Beautifully presented and full of interesting facts: recommended! (If you’ve not enough time, the summary is here.) Hat tip to Prof Mike Short. 

TSA’s International Technology-Enabled Care (ITEC) Conference 16 & 17 October 2017

The TSA is holding its annual conference on 16 & 17 October – one of their key issues will be the analogue to digital phone service shift which poses huge risks and opportunities for the TEC sector. The TSA will be unveiling their white paper on the topic at the conference – a great reason to attend! 

Even if that’s not uppermost on your mind, ITEC has much to offer – from politics to health science, demographics to robotics, many factors combine to shape new models of care nationally and internationally: find out how TECS fit into the bigger picture and how the sector can flourish within this complex and uncertain landscape!

Book here.

(Disclosure, this editor is presenting at the conference on a very important topic – be sure to say hi after his presentation!)

 

TSA appoints new chair

Paul Shead has succeeded Andrew Gardner as Chair of TSA. He has worked closely with the TSA and its membership since the organisation’s inception, and has been on the TSA’s board of directors since May 2012. He will chair the board for the next 12 months, working to develop strategy, monitor performance and extend the organisation’s sphere of influence. Paul’s experience of the telecare industry spans more than 20 yearsCurrently he is Managing Director of Verklizan, supplier of the UMO telecare and telehealth monitoring platform to housing associations, local authorities and private companies in the UK.

Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: ‘Social care and health are facing unprecedented pressures. The need effectively to commission, procure and quality-assure technology enabled care (“TEC”) has never been greater. The shift of analogue to digital also presents huge opportunities and risks. The fast-changing pace of TEC means that a new audience of digital health companies is springing up alongside more traditional telecare organisations. I’m keen to ensure that TSA can support and inspire every part of the UK’s diverse technology enabled care sector. I look forward to working alongside the TSA Board, Chief Executive, President and staff to ensure that we respond effectively to challenges, make the case for TEC and work to shape future policy. We must provide our growing and diverse membership with the knowledge, intelligence and ideas to sell their products and take the sector forward.’ (more…)

Free individual advice and guidance to SMEs wanting to sell to the NHS

Here is your opportunity as an SME to get advice on selling to the NHS. Specfically, DHACA and Kent Surrey & Sussex AHSN have joined forces to help you to prepare a more compelling and comprehensive value proposition as part of your market access strategy. (SMEs don’t need either to be in the KSS AHSN catchment areas, or members of DHACA, although the latter is free to join and has lots of useful digital health resources, so why wouldn’t you?) 

There will be two sessions, both of which you should be able to attend if you apply. These will be held at the Royal Society of Medicine (close to Oxford St and Bond St tubes). That on 20th July will be about 90 minutes. In that time you will hear and be able to discuss:

  • How current NHS finances and cash flow may impact on your service/product uptake
  • How to improve your value proposition for NHS audiences

This will help you prepare for the second stage, on 27th July, which will be an individual Innovation Surgery. These will last 1 hour and cover aspects from the market access briefing. They will be specific to your product as well as covering the technical and market potential of your product/service.

More details and how to apply are available in the DHACA Briefing and Surgery Flyer

Note that although the flyer says you need to email vivienne.gray3@nhs.net by the end of Thursday 6th July to apply, Vivienne will be happy to accept late applications, though do please get them in soon!

(Disclosure: this editor is Managing Director of DHACA)

 

Some London events (to 5 July) and an opportunity to monetise your expertise

To respond to a recent contract Our Mobile Health needs to expand its pool of paid expert app reviewers. Applicants should be proficient health app users, professionally qualified, articulate and able to assess academic papers that justify app effectiveness.  Reviews are done remotely (though reviewers must use the English version of apps) and offer an opportunity for reviewers to position themselves as digital health pioneers. Apply here.

Also, if you’re free in London, here are some events you may wish to consider:

Midsummer’s DHACA Day is at the Digital Catapult Centre, Euston Road, London on  21st June. It is aimed very much at digital health developers, with presentations on IP, new business opportunities, the new medical devices and data protection legislation and much more. DHACA membership remains free; entry to the event, which starts at 10 am for 10.30 am, is just the cost of lunch. Book here.

NICE is launching a new evidence tool for “medtech product developers” on 3rd July at the Royal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, London. Attendance is free though expect it to sell out soon! Book here.

The next Health Technology Forum meeting near Bank tube in London is on 5th July at 6.15 pm for 6.30 pm, starting with Giovanna Forte’s epic story of how to sell to the NHS – it’s really not to be missed! There’s also an important digital health dimension as she is looking for a partner to develop her innovation into an integrated service. This is followed by a talk on using digital health to provide acute paediatric care remotely. It’s free to attend though, if you book here, do please come along as otherwise it messes up our host Baker Botts’ kind and generous hospitality arrangements.

(Disclosure: this editor has an involvement in the majority of the above.)

 

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust – 2018 Travelling Fellowships

Here’s a great opportunity to get funding to go and investigate a health & care innovation elsewhere in the world – there are plenty of them!

Do you have the drive and determination to undertake global research? If so the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust funds UK citizens to investigate ground-breaking practice in other countries and return with innovative ideas for the benefit of people in the UK. Whatever your background, they can help you bring positive change to your community, sector, or profession.

They are looking for people who are passionate about making a difference in their field – that means just about every TelecareAware reader! (Though note sadly only UK citizens can apply.)

Grants cover return and internal travel, daily living and insurance within the countries visited. Apart from UK citizenship, there are no other required qualifications.

Categories include (directly health-related in bold):

  • Environment, Conservation and Sustainable Living
  • Education
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Mental Health – Community Based Approaches
  • Migration – Living Well Together
  • New Approaches to Social and Affordable Housing
  • Nursing and Allied Health Professions
  • Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Supporting Vulnerable Children following Bereavement

Apply before 5pm on 19th September 2017.

For more details please go here.

Digital health & insurance: perfect partners?

The BMA is claiming at their annual conference today that GPs are struggling with workload. Once upon a time, everyone thought digital health alone was one answer to reduce that workload. However until we have better algorithms to sort the signal from the noise, many doctors claim that more data is contributing to the problem rather than solving it. So how to get patients to use digital health data to take more responsibility for their own health? In technical terms, how to raise their patient activation measure (PAM)?

One way of improving the effectiveness of digital health might therefore be to add incentives to become more activated; insurance could provide such an incentive. The Royal Society of Medicine has therefore put together, as a ‘first’, an event on 1st June to explore this combination (disclosure: organised by this editor).

The speakers have been chosen to cover the full spectrum of participants in this field. Beginning with the software, Caty Ebel Bitoun from the Netherlands will describe software she builds to support health insurers, and Justin Lawler from We Savvy in Ireland will describe how that software can be configured to deliver maximum benefit.

Guy Gross will explain how careful segmentation of insured populations by PAMs can substantially reduce (more…)