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.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex AHSN is kindly offering SME readers a free two stage innovation surgery on 23rd November. More details and to apply are in this DHACA flyer.

When talking to people from overseas about the NHS, this editor often finds that they view it like a large whale, so I use a patiently-put-together slide of a large whale-shaped shoal of fish to ask if that is what they mean and then move to the next slide which has some fish swimming in all directions as perhaps more accurate.  However the Kings Funds animation of how the NHS works is on a different level altogether – if you’ve not watched it yet, do check it out!

On behalf of the New NHS Alliance, James Linden of ITN got in touch with this editor to ask if DHACA was interested in participating in a video they are producing entitled “in search of wellness”. It will apparently premiere at the New NHS Action Summit on 6th December 2017. As always of course, money is required to participate, and DHACA has none as we are currently without sponsor (sob), so I agreed to invite anyone keen to promote their organisation and who does have money, to email James.Linden@itnproductions.com.

The MHRA has recently updated their medical device regulation information which is truly excellent and will hopefully help aspiring proposal writers seeking funding from the pitfall of failing to recognise this key risk area. Hat tip to S Kelleher for pointing this out.

Meanwhile in the US, the FDA finalised new guidance to support medical device innovation and ease the burden of software updates. However the lawyer who most commonly comments on FDA announcements, Bradley Merrill Thompson, observes that the guidance documents, although helpful to industry, won’t change regulations.

Which reminds that Our Mobile Health (disclosure: with whom this editor works) has a call to developers for apps for their contract with EMIS if you want to get your app potentially onto the desktop of their 4500 GP surgery customers and also for the London mental health project. Details here.

It’s always good to see confirmed benefits from a digital health intervention, so many thanks to Prof Mike Short for pointing this editor to an NHS Digital item showing how electronic prescribing has now saved the NHS £130 million over three years. Sadly this editor has had no end of trouble recently with his online pharmacy, and so has high hopes of the new Echo app once it works with his antique Samsung S4.

At a recent RSM Innovation event, this editor was introduced to Harri Lahtela of OURA Health whose Finnish company product is a chunky and stylish ring that is a full fitness tracker. He is selling it in the UK now and looking for more outlets. Details here.

Finally no blog like this would be complete without a plug for a Royal Society of Medicine event. Their robocare: a multidisciplinary view of practical and ethical issues is booking well on 4th December. 

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