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for effectiveness “is based on 5 well-designed and well-reported randomised controlled trials and 1 large prospective unpublished audit” is still judged, in terms of clinical effectiveness, as “has potential to have a positive impact for adults with poor sleep compared with standard care.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…)
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.
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.)
Our Mobile Health is seeking to identify the best digital behaviour change interventions aimed at helping people diagnosed as pre-diabetic to reduce their risk of onset of Type 2 Diabetes. They are working with NHS England and the Diabetes Prevention Programme to identify the best 4-5 of these that are suitable for deployment to around a total of 5000 people across England. The aim is to build up an evidence base for digital behaviour change interventions for people diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
Organisations with suitable digital behaviour change interventions are invited to submit their solutions for inclusion. These should be either actually deployed or will be ready to be deployed within three months. They should be suitable to be, or have been, localised for the UK market, and they should not be dependent on any further integration with the UK health system for deployment. Shortlisted digital behaviour change interventions will be invited to participate in Our Mobile Health’s assessment process; the final selection will be made based on the results of that assessment.
The deadline for submissions, which can be made directly online is midday on Wednesday 15th March. NOTE THIS IS A CHANGE FROM THAT PREVIOUSLY ADVISED. There is more about the programme on the NHS website.
(Disclosure: this editor has been asked to assist with the assessment process referred to above)
This series of posts covers some work I have been doing over the past three months: attempting to answer the question of how best to improve the perception by clinicians and patients of the efficacy of health-related apps. This work has been done for the i-Focus project, part of the Technology Strategy Board’s dallas programme.
Part I attempted to summarise the EU regulations covering health-related apps. The point was made that any health-related app must comply with data protection and consumer protection requirements, irrespective of whether the risk level is sufficient for it to be classified as a ‘medical device’. Where an app is classified as a ‘medical device’ it also has to be classified so that the appropriate adjudication work can be determined for it to receive a CE mark (Class I, lowest risk, requires least investigation; Class III, highest risk, requires greatest investigation).
This post summarises the principal findings from discussions with a very wide range of potential stakeholders, (more…)