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for  effectiveness “is based on 5 well-designed and well-reported randomised controlled trials and 1 large prospective unpublished audit” is still judged, in terms of clinical effectiveness, as “has potential to have a positive impact for adults with poor sleep compared with standard care.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 to get a weak endorsement after all that must be a major disappointment for other developers who either cannot afford, or physically cannot do, RCTs. Additionally, the failure to compare with face-to-face CBT-I is hardly a mortal blow as, even if Sleepio was not as good, there are not enough face:face CBT practitioners to deliver the service; they typically aren’t available at bedtime; and they cost an order of magnitude more than a year’s Sleepio does.

Talking of apps, IQVIA has just published a great study on the growing value of digital health in the UK that’s well worth a read, and Our Mobile Health has recently put out a call for apps to be assessed for a growing range of contracts – see here for more details.

Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival: as someone who has forever been seeking non-alcoholic drinks not drowned in sugar or unnatural chemicals, this editor is extremely supportive of  the mindful drinking movement. After the huge success of their summer festival, Club Soda, in association with Heineken® 0.0, is back with a festive twist for their second Mindful Drinking Festival – this time at Spitalfields Market. Celebrate the best in alcohol-free craft beers, wines, lower-sugar sodas and infusions and stock up for Christmas and Dry January. Grab a warming mulled drink or a delicious cocktail, check out some of the best brands on the market, enjoy some great music from local musicians, learn about and taste new products and visit one of the many inspirational talks from comedians, authors and mindful drinkers.

Place: Spitalfields, E1; dates Friday 24th & Saturday 25th  November 2017, times: Friday: 12 noon to 8pm. Saturday: 12 noon to 6pm. More details here.

One aspect of medical device regulation that so many people forget is the need to use good quality management processes in the development and supply of medical devices. Failure to maintain such a quality management system is serious, as GI Dynamics has recently discovered with the recent removal of their CE certification.

This editor was invited to a fascinating talk by Dr Sam Myers of the Planetary Health Alliance at the Academy of Medical Sciences this week. This organisation is producing evidence that population health and the state of the planet are closely linked, to apply pressure to policymakers and identify appropriate research opportunities. You can sign up for their newsletter here and navigate to more engagement opportunities. 

The Royal Society of Medicine’s Robocare: the ethical and practical issues of using robots in caregiving on 4th December 2017 will prepare you for the tsunami of care robots shortly to appear on the UK scene. Medical apps: mainstreaming innovation, on 19th April 2018 is the sixth annual mHealth apps event run by the RSM, organised by this editor. It will feature all the key UK participants in the mHealth app world and will take place just after the NHS has put in place its first primary care technology tariff. Finally for your diaries, the RSM has yet to open booking for its Recent developments in digital health 2018 on 27th February – booking will be available here, shortly. As the RSM is a charity, and as good speakers are always keen to add presentation there onto their CVs, you can rely on them always to produce excellent events at very low cost.

This Editor is a great fan of Julian Patterson at NHS Networks, and of online GP services, so this week’s column, entitled “the Road to Rummylon” is recommended as a particularly welcome, and amusing, read.

DHACA has its next event on 10th January at the Digital Catapult Centre in London with a veritable cornucopia of interesting speakers, and a major debate on evidence mediated by Medcity, at which the recent NICE briefings will doubtless be discussed. For more details and to book go here.

Disclosure: this editor has fingers in many pies and is to a greater or lesser extent involved in all but three of the above items.


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