Short takes: £150 million for UK social care tech out of £1 billion, bias by design in medical device use investigated, Netsmart buys Remarkable Health, Vinehealth seed rounds £4.1 million

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has presented to Parliament a £1 billion, three-year healthcare system reform plan. The white paper, People at the Heart of Care, highlights the following as part of a larger 10 year program:

  • £300 million in housing investment for supported housing
  • new technology and digitization backed by at least £150 million to improve care quality and safety, support independent living and allow staff to provide focused care where it is needed 
  • £500 million for 1.5 million adult social care workforce career training and qualifications 
  • £70 million to assist local authorities and improve the delivery and standard of care
  • up to £25 million to support unpaid carers

Part of the tech upgrading includes 80% of social carers having digitized care records that connect to a shared care record by March 2024. The improvements will be funded through the 1.25% Health and Social Care levy., HealthcareITNews

The UK DHSC is investigating whether the design and use of medical devices such as pulse oximeters could be potentially biased by race. This stems from the disproportionate death rate during COVID-19 of blacks, Asians, and other minorities. The review announced will look at whether AI tools can be biased in their algorithms and whether pulse oximeters may be inaccurate due to darker skin color. HealthcareITNews

Behavioral health continues its hot streak, with specialty EHR provider Netsmart acquiring Remarkable Health, a practice management software developer for behavioral health. Their CT|One electronic health record (EHR) and Bells, the first virtual clinical documentation solution created for behavioral health and human services organizations, will be integrated into Netsmart’s EHRs. Acquisition cost and management transitions were not disclosed. Release

UK-based Vinehealth, an oncology support app that also gathers patient-reported outcome (PRO) data for drug development and clinical trials, closed a seed round of $5.5 million (£4.1 million). Expansion plans include an introduction in the US. Funders were led by Talis Capital with participation from previous investors Playfair Capital and Ascension, plus an extensive list of angel investors including KHP MedTech Innovations, a collaboration between King’s College London, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. The Vinehealth app has had 15,000 downloads since January 2020. TechCrunch

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