TTA’s summer startup #2: controversy around NHS’ GPDPR patient database, Babylon Health’s likely SPAC, Tunstall buys Secuvita, more!

 

 

Weekly Alert

A ‘shortie’ this short week for many of us, especially this Editor. Our highlight is the breaking news our UK Readers may have missed on NHS’ controversial GPDPR implementation–and why it’s significant to everyone. Plus Babylon and Tunstall news.

Tunstall Group acquires Secuvita (NL) (Bucking up their Benelux business)
NHS Digital GPDPR medical database plans criticized by Royal College of GPs, privacy advocates (updated) (Data use and patient privacy issues here have resonance everywhere)
Babylon Health going the SPAC route with Alkuri Global: reports (Surprising it hasn’t happened earlier)

A bumper crop as we ease into the unofficial start of summer and wind up May

ATA2021 coming up (virtually) starting 1 June (At least you don’t have to get the jab before attending!)
News and deals roundup: CoverMyMeds ‘big bang’, Noom’s $540M Series F, insurtech Bright Health’s IPO, Grand Rounds-Included Health, GoodRx, Cedar-OODA, Huma, Bluestream Health’s outreach (So many we had to ‘short take’ them!)
UK news roundup: West Wales’ CONNECT project, WelcoMe app for disabled access, X-on Surgery Connect expands, Arc Health in 46 care homes, Alcove’s £75M contract with Suffolk County Council (Things moving along smartly)
An unappreciated long term pandemic health effect? Increased frailty among older adults. (Making up for lost time and health not easy or quick)
The Theranos Story, ch. 72: a little lifestyle and celebrity is admissible at trial–but not too much. And no profanity, please! (Hold the popcorn till Labor Day)
News and deals roundup: SCP Health-SOC Telemed, Epion Health-MSU, Sensyne Health’s new data agreements, Geisinger’s RPM app (Definitely ‘springing forward’)
Survey: 80% of Americans believe telehealth can provide quality medical care–up 23 points from 2020 (More confirmation of five years of progress in one)

From last week’s mini-update–our ‘top of the pops’ 

Tunstall excluded from Sweden’s framework agreements for municipal alarm and technology procurement (A software update that went sideways affects contracts in over 200 municipalities)

A small bombshell in the traditional PERS world (yes, it’s still there) is Philips’ sale of Lifeline to Connect America–which two years ago bought Tunstall Americas. Teladoc gets into the cognitive therapy app business–and sends a message–in a big way.

Connect America acquires Philips’ Aging and Caregiving, including Lifeline (Big news in aging services, though it’s Old Tech. And another Philips North America divestiture.)
Teladoc integrates the myStrength cognitive mental health app with their telehealth network (Sending a message to the smaller players?)

 

May may be chilly where you are, but we serve up some hot news in funding, wobbly Walmart’s dive into telehealth, Germany’s DiGA, a OnePerspective around stroke care, and a free webinar on what public health may look like post-Covid. And kicking off the month–a Theranos hearing (remember them?)

The Theranos Story, ch. 71: Holmes appears in court, lawyers argue celebrity, lavish lifestyle, Silicon Valley ethics (The consequences of ‘faking till you make it’)
News and funding roundup: Vida Health’s $100M Series D, Kry’s $316M raise, CVS and Advocate Aurora’s fresh funds, Boost Mobile offers K Health symptom checker (Substantial raises and more funding on the table)
Walmart Health moves into the hot telehealth area with MeMD buy (Continuing to be a puzzle)
What you need to know about Germany’s new DiGA fast tracking for health apps (New R2G research)
Webinar: Public Health and Responsible Innovation in a Post-Covid Europe 20 May
OnePerspective: Covid-19 accelerates digital stroke care for the East of England (Stroke Telemedicine Partnership with Visionable)

And of continued interest–

Breaking: NHS Digital appoints Simon Bolton interim CEO

2021 UK-RAS Network Robotics Summer Showcase 5 May-30 July and UK Festival of Robotics 19-25 June (If you’re interested in healthcare or other robotics, this is the place–and not just for the UK)
David sues Goliath: AliveCor claims patent infringement by Apple–ITC filing requests bar on Apple Watch US importation (Bring the popcorn, but it’s serious)
Amwell debuts new telehealth platform, Converge; previews Carepoint for hospital care into the home (Carepoint is the ‘stealthy’ move)
News roundup: Buddi’s £500M LSE float, Accolade to buy PlushCare for $450M, Teladoc adds chief innovation officer, Tyto Care’s Italy expansion (Buddi a huge float for the UK)

Mayo Clinic creates AI-powered clinical decision/diagnostics support platform, two digital health portfolio companies (What Dr. John Halamka’s been up to)
A new event–and not all virtual! HLTH and CHIME to launch ViVE in March 2022. (Another sign of normal business)
Good news! Eight software functions no longer classified as medical devices under FDA. (One for the techies. And anything you don’t have to clear with FDA makes for a good day.)

Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? Free listings available to match our Readers with the right opportunities. Email Editor Donna.


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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

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NHS Digital GPDPR medical database plans criticized by Royal College of GPs, privacy advocates (updated 8 June)

What our UK Readers may have missed on the long bank holiday weekend. And why this matters outside the UK.  NHS Digital is being roundly criticized by privacy advocates, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), and individual GP surgeries on plans for creation of the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR).

The GPDPR will compile information on 55 million patients–every patient in England registered with a GP surgery–into a database available to academic and commercial third parties for research and planning purposes. NHS has been collecting patient data on patients in a database, the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES), for the past decade. The GPDPR will replace it. Data collection on patients in England starts 1 July. What will be collected is at the end of this article as background.

The objections center on the sensitivity of the data, the short window of notification to patients, the lack of a clearly notified opt-out with sufficient time, and how it will be used.

  • The data apparently can include mental and sexual health data, criminal records (!), and other sensitive information. 
  • The short time–six weeks–between the announcement in late April (a low key affair with Matt Hancock-signed blog posts on the NHS Digital website, YouTube videos, and flyers at GP surgeries), and the start of data collection from the surgeries
  • How many patients are actually aware that this is happening and of their options is debatable. (See next two bullets)
    • If a patient didn’t pick up on it in the six-week window ending on 23 June (and go to the page with the Type 1 Opt-Out), a patient can opt out for data going forward, but cannot withdraw any data collected into the database prior to that date.
    • If a patient is in the National Data Opt-out program, their medical data will be collected anyway, since it applies to only identifiable and confidential patient information.
  • Many GPs are concerned about further erosion of the physician-patient relationship and the lack of communication to patients on how the data will be used, the ethical questions around the organizations to which it will be sold, and how patient privacy will be preserved.

The blackest mark here on NHS Digital is that the groups ostensibly involved in the development of the database–the RCGP and the British Medical Association (BMA)–are the ones sounding the alarm, along with the aforementioned DAUK and privacy groups such as MedConfidential and Foxglove. There is also a rebellion starting among London GPs. Reportedly, 36 doctors’ surgeries in Tower Hamlets, east London, will withhold data. An email is circulating to about 100 surgeries in north London questioning the legitimacy of the NHS data collection. This is despite penalties if they don’t submit.

Why does this matter if you’re not in England? Medical data–collecting, manipulating it, connecting it, finding insights, and selling it–is the Gold Rush of the 2020s. Pharma and payers as markets are just the start. Nearly every Roundup or deal this Editor covers has companies with a chunk of this gold rush. Why are telehealth companies worth their IPO/SPAC/funding prices? Why is McKesson ‘big banging’ four separate businesses into one division? Why do we follow ‘data warehouses’ like Sensyne [TTA 26 May],  Mayo Clinic’s big bet on a multi-line Remote Diagnostics and Management Platform [TTA 23 Apr], and virtual pharmacies like Capsule?  Why are insurtechs like Oscar and Bright Health hot? Why is it the #1 target of hackers?

It’s not altruistic. Services can be duplicated. Companies can be a hair away from failure. But ah, their data…the data has huge market value, even if its potential is not fully understood yet. Ask any data analytics person. Ask China, probably the most aggressive nation in collecting the health and personal data of its citizens, with Chinese capital for years now leading investment in global health tech companies.

In an article back in October 2015, this Editor described the many ways that deidentified patient data, in this case genomic data, can be identified by researchers through cross-checking via research database “beacons”, a network of servers. Referring to the 23andme and Ancestry.com collection of innocently given genomic data from consumers, this Editor proposed a Genomic Bill of Rights in 2018 and again in 2020. If this Editor, no data geek, can deduce it (hat tip to Toni Bunting back in 2015), this information has to be well known to researchers and to privacy advocates.

The controversy is just starting to ramp up. And it should. It’s about time there was a reckoning. The Guardian 30 May, 1 June

More background. According to the NHS Digital page on the GPDPR, patients will be anonymized by a process where de-identification software will replace their NHS Number, date of birth, and full postcode with unique codes produced by de-identification software. The data collected from GPs in England starting 1 July will be on: (more…)

Breaking: NHS Digital appoints Simon Bolton interim CEO

Breaking News: NHS Digital announced today the appointment of Simon Bolton, currently chief information officer of Test and Trace, as interim chief executive officer effective on 4 June. He will be replacing Sarah Wilkinson, who was CEO since August 2017 and resigned on 26 March [TTA 26 Mar]. The NHS Digital release confirms her departure as of June and that the two will be working ahead of time to effect the transition.

NHS Digital provides and supervises information, data, and IT systems for the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.

Mr. Bolton was the former CIO of Jaguar Land Rover and joined Test and Trace last August. His LinkedIn profile also includes CIO and senior IT positions at Rolls-Royce and AkzoNobel. He holds a board position at Tech Partnership Degrees and is an independent governor of the University of Derby.

The NHS Digital Board will be conducting an open competition to recruit for the role on a permanent basis later this year. 

Breaking: Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, resigns, to depart by summer

Breaking News. NHS Digital announced Friday afternoon (UK time) that Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital since August 2017, has resigned and will be departing her post this summer. The rationale given in the release is to carry forward the work of NHS Digital after the COVID pandemic:

“As the work associated with the pandemic starts to stabilise, and planning commences for the ambitious program of transformation over the next few years, I have come to the conclusion that it would be better for a new CEO to step into the role now so that they can provide continuous leadership over the programs of that post-Covid agenda, and now is an appropriate time for me to leave the organisation. That new CEO will be able to build upon strong foundations in an organisation that knows what it can do, and I will work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership for our programmes, products, and people.”

NHS Digital is seeking an interim CEO to transition the position from Ms. Wilkinson. The NHS Digital Board will start the open search for candidates to permanently fill the position later this year. NHS Digital provides and supervises information, data, and IT systems for the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.

Ms. Wilkinson came to NHS Digital from the chief information officer (CIO) position at the Home Office (2015-2017) and previously from the banking sector with technology titles at Credit Suisse, HSBC, and UBS. Her board positions include NatWest Markets and King’s College London.

Certainly more to come from this!

News, moves and M&A roundup: Appello acquires RedAssure, Shaw departs NHS Digital, NHS App goes biometric, GP at Hand in Manchester, Verita Singapore’s three startup buys, Novant Health and Tyto Care partner

Appello telecare acquires RedAssure Independent Living from Worthing Homes. A 20-year provider of telecare services to about 700 homes in the Worthing area in West Sussex, the acquisition by Appello closed on 1 October. Previously, Appello provided monitoring services for RedAssure since 2010. Terms were not disclosed. Release.

Another NHS Digital departure is Rob Shaw, deputy CEO. He will be leaving to pursue a consulting career advising foreign governments on national health and care infrastructure. He is credited with moving the NHS Spine in-house and establishing NHS Digital’s cybersecurity function. The Digital Health article times it for around Christmas. Mr. Shaw’s departure follows other high-profile executives this year such as former chief digital officer Juliet Bauer who controversially moved to Kry/LIVI after penning a glowing article about them [TTA 24 Jan], Will Smart, Matthew Swindells, and Richard Corbridge.

One initiative that NHS Digital has lately implemented is passwordless, biometric facial or fingerprint-based log in for the NHS App, based on the FIDO (Fast-Identity Online) UAF (Universal Authentication Framework) protocol (whew!). NHS Digital’s most recent related announcement is the release of two pieces of code under open-source that will allow developers to include biometric verification for log in into their products.

Babylon Health’s GP at Hand plans Manchester expansion. The formal notification will likely be this month to commissioners of plans to open a Manchester clinic as a center for GP at Hand’s primarily virtual consults. This follows on their recent expansion into Birmingham via Hammersmith and Fulham CCG which will be notified. How it will work is that patients registering in Manchester would be added initially to a single patient list for GP at Hand located at Hammersmith and Fulham CCG. Babylon is now totalling 60,000 patients through GP at Hand.  GP Online

Singapore’s Verita Healthcare Group has acquired three digital health startups. The two from Singapore are nBuddy and CelliHealth, in addition to Germany’s Hanako. Verita has operations in Singapore, the US, Asia-Pacific and Europe, with 35 alliance partnerships with medical clinics and hospitals across Australia, Southeast Asia and Europe. Mobihealthnews APAC

Novant Health, a 640-location health system in North Carolina, is introducing Tyto Care’s TytoHome integrated telehealth diagnostic and consult device as part of its network service. Webpage, release

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.

News roundup: FCC RPM/telehealth push, NHS EHR coding breach, unstructured data in geriatric diagnosis, Cerner-Lumeris, NHS funds social care, hospital RFID uses

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]FCC backs post-discharge RPM plan. The “Connected Care Pilot Program” proposed by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr would provide $100 million for subsidies to hospitals or wireless providers running post-discharge remote monitoring programs for low-income and rural Americans such as those run by the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The goal is to lower readmissions and improve patient outcomes. The proposal still needs to be formalized so it would be 2019 at earliest. POLITICO Morning eHealth, Clarion-Ledger, Mobihealthnews

NHS Digital’s 150,000 patient data breach originated in a coding error in the SystmOne EHR used by GPs. Through the error by TPP, SystmOne did not recognize the “type 2 opt-out” for use of individual data in clinical research and planning purposes. This affected records after 31 March 2015. This breach also affects vendors which received the data, albeit unknowingly, but the duration of the breach makes it hard to put the genie back in the bottle, which NHS Digital would like to do. Inforisktoday, NHS Digital release

Unstructured data in EHRs more valuable than structured data in older adult patient health. A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society compared the number of geriatric syndrome cases identified using structured claims and structured and unstructured EHR data, finding that the unstructured data was needed to properly identify geriatric syndrome. Over 18,000 patients’ unstructured EHR notes were analyzed using a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm.

Cerner buying a share in population health/value-based care management company Lumeris through purchasing $266 million in stock in Lumeris parent Essence Group Holdings. The angle is data crunching to improve outcomes for patients in Medicare Advantage and other value-based plans. Lumeris also operates Essence Healthcare, a Medicare Advantage plan with 65,000 beneficiaries in Missouri. Fierce Healthcare

NHS Digital awarding £240,000 for investigating social care transformation through technology. The Social Care Digital Innovation Programme in 12 councils will be managed by both NHS and the Local Government Association (LGA). Projects to be funded span from assistive technologies to predictive analytics. Six winners from the original group of 12 after three months will be awarded up to a further £80,000 each to design and implement their solutions. New Statesman

Curious about RFID in use in healthcare, other than in asset management, access, and log in? Contactless payments is one area. As this is the first of four articles, you’ll have to follow up in Healthcare IT News

WannaCry’s anniversary: have we learned our malware and cybersecurity lessons?

Hard to believe that WannaCry, and the damage this malware wreaked worldwide, was but a year ago. Two months later, there was Petya/NotPetya. We’ve had hacking and ransomware eruptions regularly, the latest being the slo-mo malware devised by the Orangeworm hackers. What WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya had in common, besides cyberdamage, was they were developed by state actors or hackers with state support (North Korea and–suspected–Russia and/or Ukraine).

The NHS managed to evade Petya, which was fortunate as they were still repairing damage from WannaCry, which initially was reported to affect 20 percent of NHS England trusts. The final count was 34 percent of trusts–at least 80 out of 236 hospital trusts in England, as well as 603 primary care practices and affiliates. 

Has the NHS learned its lesson, or is it still vulnerable? A National Audit Office report concluded in late October that the Department of Health and the NHS were warned at least a year in advance of the risk.  “It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice.” There was no mechanism in place for ensuring migration of Windows XP systems and old software, requested by April 2015, actually happened. Another basic–firewalls facing the internet–weren’t actively managed. Worse, there was no test or rehearsal for a cyberdisruption. “As the NHS had not rehearsed for a national cyber attack it was not immediately clear who should lead the response and there were problems with communications.” NHS Digital was especially sluggish in response, receiving first reports around noon but not issuing an alert till 5pm. It was fortunate that WannaCry had a kill switch, and it was found as quickly as it was by a British security specialist with the handle Malware Tech. 

Tests run since WannaCry have proven uneven at best. While there has been reported improvement, even head of IT audit and security services at West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and a penetration tester for NHS trusts, said that they were “still finding some real shockers out there still.” NHS Digital deputy CEO Rob Shaw told a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in February that 200 NHS trusts tested against cyber security standards had failed. MPs criticized the NHS and the Department of Health for not implementing 22 recommendations laid out by NHS England’s CIO, Will Smart. Digital Health News

Think ‘cyber-resilience’. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Healthcare organizations are never going to fix all the legacy systems that run their world. Medical devices and IoT add-ons will continue to run on outdated or never-updated platforms. Passwords are shared, initial passwords not changed in EHRs. Add to firewalls, prevention measures, emphasizing compliance and best practices, security cyber-resilience–more than a recovery plan, planning to keep operations running with warm backups ready to go, contingency plans, a way to make quick decisions on the main functions that keep the business going. Are healthcare organizations–and the NHS–capable of thinking and acting this way? WannaBet? CSO, Healthcare IT News. Hat tip to Joseph Tomaino of Grassi Healthcare Advisors via LinkedIn.

UK roundup: CCIO Simon Eccles warns against ‘shiny objects’, NHS Liverpool CCG award to Docobo, 87% concerned with NHS info security

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]NHS Digital CCIO doesn’t like ‘shiny objects’. Dr. Simon Eccles used his first NHS Digital board meeting as national CCIO to encourage delivering the current agenda first and not getting distracted by the ‘shiny objects’ of new innovations which also divert funding. “It is our collective challenge to make sure that doesn’t happen to things that are valued by the NHS – to do what we said we’d do and not be too distracted by new and shiny things.” This seems to be at odds with non-executive director Daniel Benton, who “suggested that NHS Digital needed to become more flexible as an organisation so that it was in a better position to roll with the punches in future.” Digital Health News

Docobo announced their win of the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group‘s scale up of telehealth as part of the Healthy Liverpool program. The three to five-year contract has a maximum value of £11.5 million. The current Mi Programme (More Independent) partly funded by the Innovate UK dallas initiative and using Philips equipment is at 900 patients with 5,300 total patients since 2013. The plan is to scale up the program to 4-5,000 patients a year and support new clinical pathways and conditions including lung conditions, heart failure, and diabetes. Docobo’s platform is Doc@Home which uses patient information from the CarePortal device or their own digital devices. Docobo release. NHS Innovation Accelerator, Digital Health News

A survey of 500 British adults conducted by UK IT VAR Proband found that perceptions of public sector information security are poor. 87 percent were concerned about the security of their information with the NHS. Of that 87 percent, 34 percent were ‘very concerned’ about their cybersecurity. Taking this with a grain of salt, 80 percent distrusted security at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and 78 percent on data held by the police. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can’t come too soon [TTA 17 Feb] — but are you ready? More in Proband’s Online Security Audit (PDF).

Tender Alert: NHS England, London South Bank, Univ. of Leeds, NHS Digital, Halifax, Healthy New Towns

We have a specially wrapped and large present from Susanne Woodman, our Eye on Tenders. Some are high value, all have short deadlines, so read up!

  • NHS England: This is through the NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit and is for a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for the procurement of online consultation systems. It is for a little over two years starting January 2018 and valued at £45 million. Closing is 29 December. Details at Gov.UK.
  • London South Bank University: This is for a Summative Assessment (Evaluation) of Simulation for Digital Health (SimDH). This would result in three reports to delivered electronically to be reviewed by the project team (LSBU) and project funders (GLA & ERDF). This is deadlined on Thursday 14 December, but an inquiry on this might invite further dialogue. Value is £13k. Gov.UK
  • University of Leeds: This is for an app specification and design, to engage participants in clinical trials, to thank and build relationships with these 600,000+ people in the UK. Again, an early close of 20 December, valued at £100k – £500k. Gov.UK
  • NHS Digital: The De-identification Project will implement a strategic approach to de-identifying data flowing into or out of NHS Digital or requiring linkage with NHS Digital data. Status is ‘open early engagement’ which means they are judging interest from potential suppliers. Another early closing of 18 December. Gov.UK
  • Borough of Calderdale, Halifax: Seeking provision of a community alarm and mobile response service; comprising of a community alarm – call monitoring centre, mobile response, and the installation of various pieces of assistive technology, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. The contract is for 36 months with extension up to 24 months. Value excluding VAT: £2,250, 000. Deadline is 10 January 2018. TED
  • NHS England–Healthy New Towns: This program is to support a vision of healthcare in a Healthy New Town. Responses should include: rationale for system transformation, key challenges and priorities for the healthcare sector, barriers to implementation and overcoming them, and the role of the Healthy New Towns programme in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and Business Plan. This NHS England link may not work, so see attached PDF for requirements (thanks Susanne!). Deadline is 19 January 2018. Here’s more on it: 
    • As set out in the Specification of Requirements, the desired outcomes of the Healthy New Towns programme and the guidance are that: (A) Neighbourhoods, town and cities built in England after 2019 have:
      • populations with reduced levels of preventable disease;
      • communities with improved health and wellbeing; and
      • health and social care provision that is more effective and better for users
      (B) The guidance that this commission helps deliver has played a major role in achieving the above, because:
      • the guide and the process of developing it have built momentum and support; and
      • the guide collates good practice and shares it in a compelling, highly useable way.

      In a context of pressure on the NHS caused by preventable disease and changing demographics, how, in your role as New Care Models support partner for the Healthy New Towns programme, will you help us achieve these outcomes?

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.

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Updated 15 May: 20% of NHS organizations hit by WannaCry, spread halted, hackers hunted

Updated 15 May: According to the Independent, 1 of 5 or 20 percent of NHS trusts, or ‘dozens’, have been hit by the WannaCry malware, with six still down 24 hours later. NHS is not referring to numbers, but here is their updated bulletin and if you are an NHS organization, yesterday’s guidance is a mandatory read. If you have been following this, over the weekend a British specialist known by his/her handle MalwareTech, tweeting as @malwaretechblog, registered a nonsensical domain name which he found was the stop button for the malware as designed into the program, with the help of Proofpoint’s Darien Huss.

It looks as if the Pac-Man march is over. Over the weekend, a British specialist known as MalwareTech, tweeting as @malwaretechblog, registered a nonsensical domain name which he found was the stop button for the malware, with the help of Proofpoint’s Darien Huss. It was a kill switch designed into the program. The Guardian tagged as MalwareTech a “22-year-old from southwest England who works for Kryptos logic, an LA-based threat intelligence company.”

Political fallout: The Home Secretary Amber Rudd is being scored for an apparent cluelessness and ‘wild complacency’ over cybersecurity. There are no reported statements from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. From the Independent: “Patrick French, a consultant physician and chairman of the Holborn and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party in London, tweeted: “Amber Rudd is wildly complacent and there’s silence from Jeremy Hunt. Perhaps an NHS with no money can’t prioritise cyber security!” Pass the Panadol!

Previously: NHS Digital on its website reported (12 May) that 16 NHS organizations have been hacked and attacked by ransomware. Preliminary investigation indicates that it is Wanna Decryptor a/k/a WannaCry. In its statement, ‘NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and ensure patient safety is protected.’ Healthcare IT News

According to cybersecurity site Krebs on Security, (more…)

Calling all digital health people in the North of the UK (and the South)

Sadly the DHACA Day in Leeds on 27th April had to be cancelled because of competing events on that day – readers are reminded of the next DHACA Day now in London on 21st June – agenda still to be set.

Elsewhere, Nesta has updated its European Digital City Index, showing the position at the end of 2016
of the top 50 cities in Europe for start-ups. Not digital health-specific though very interesting, nevertheless. TechCity have produced a more detailed website exploring why the UK is the Tech Nation of Europe, which is excellently animated. Though with little mention of digital health it is nevertheless an excellent read, and resource…and something to make those of us who are involved in the UK digital scene proud of our achievements. And if you are a supplier looking for opportunities to capitalise on the UK’s standing, what better than to attend Healthcare UK and NHS Digital’s International Digital Health Opportunities event in London on 25th April?

If you are still feeling international though less interested in exporting, perhaps you might like to attend (more…)