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Movers and Shakers news roundup

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The end of June saw the announcement that Peter Thomas would be stepping into the chief clinical information officer (CCIO) role at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in August. The consultant joined the trust in 2017 and took a special interest in machine learning and artificial intelligence, pioneering the hospital's use of digital medicine and telemedicine. In his capacity as CCIO, Thomas will be in charge of raising awareness of clinical informatics as an important element in safe, high-quality patient care. He said: "I am delighted to be offered the role of chief clinical information officer at Moorfields and I hope to use this opportunity to use digital medicine in innovative ways to help our patients receive the best care possible." University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has announced Richard Mitchell will take up the position as the trust's chief executive from Autumn 2021.


Technology as Empowerment 5G for Good

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Why is it that innovation always seems more possible during a crisis? Reflecting on this year and all that has been achieved, technology as empowerment has deservedly become centre stage. Indeed, this is a global imperative embedded in the must-have achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals 2030. From the NHS in the UK building a 4,000-bed hospital in just 4 days, to the global HPC Consortium advancing vaccine development by years through AI/ML technology and researcher collaboration - the acceleration of innovation has seen digital transformation programs exceed all expectations. So, how can we sustain the'art of the possible' made real over this time, in our everyday, for every day, for everyone.


Letting AI hold the public purse?!

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Each year, national and local governments determine the relative priorities of services to allocate funding. How would AI spend the cash? What makes more sense for a vibrant society -- spending on economic development or growth, spending on education, international development, social care, libraries? What would ideal balance look like? If this question sounds familiar, it's not the first time we've tried to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to making this decision.


GPs to use artificial intelligence to help manage elective care waiting list

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The Government has said that artificial intelligence (AI) in GP practices will help manage patients in the elective care backlog. It today announced that new technology and innovation will allow the NHS to treat 30% more elective care patients by 2023/24. It added that NHS'come forward with a delivery plan for tackling the backlog'. In March, NHS England suggested that GPs could be asked to review hospital waiting lists for elective care to help prioritise and manage patients from the following month. Details were limited, but NHS England later told GPs that they must'jointly manage' patients stuck in the backlog of care caused by the Covid pandemic with hospitals. Meanwhile, Pulse revealed in June that NHSX and NHS England were considering the viability of a wider roll out of an artificial intelligence triage model based on that used by Babylon.


Industry news in brief

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The latest Digital Health News industry round up includes news on an automated recruitment platform for clinical studies, an acquisition in the medical imaging field and an Australian company focused on measuring coding launching into the UK. Former NHS leader, Tim Kelsey, has launched an international division of Beamtree into the UK – an Australian company that focuses on measuring coding and the quality of hospital care. Kelsey leads the Australian company, but the new London-based arm will be led by coding policy expert Jennifer Nobbs and former Paterson Inquiry advisor Alex Kafetz. Beamtree works with health organisations around the world in a bid to improve the capture, management and leverage of human expertise. The UK office will focus on AI in health, clinical decision support, data quality and analytics supporting better health outcomes.


New study will use artificial intelligence to improve treatments for people with multiple long-term conditions

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The NIHR has awarded £2.5 million for new research led by the University of Birmingham that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to produce computer programmes and tools that will help doctors improve the choice of drugs in patients with clusters of multiple long-term conditions. Called the OPTIMAL study (OPTIMising therapies, discovering therapeutic targets and AI assisted clinical management for patients Living with complex multimorbidity), the research aims to understand how different combinations of long-term conditions and the medicines taken for these diseases interact over time to worsen or improve a patient's health. The study will be led by Dr Thomas Jackson and Professor Krish Nirantharakumar at the University of Birmingham and carried out in collaboration with the University of Manchester, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, University of St Andrews,and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. An estimated 14 million people in England are living with two or more long-term conditions, with two-thirds of adults aged over 65 expected to be living with multiple long-term conditions by 2035. Dr Thomas Jackson, Associate Professor in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Birmingham, said: "Currently when people have multiple long-term conditions, we treat each disease separately. This means we prescribe a different drug for each condition, which may not help people with complex multimorbidity which is a term we use when patients have four or more long-term health problem. "A drug for one disease can make another disease worse or better, however, presently we do not have information on the effect of one drug on a second disease.


New AI technology screens for COVID faster than lateral flow tests

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Researchers at the University of Oxford are seeking NHSX funding for an artificial intelligence (AI) COVID screening test. Results of a three-month evaluation study at John Radcliffe Hospital found the CURIAL-Rapide test could screen emergency department (ED) patients at the bedside within 10 minutes, without needing a laboratory. Results were available 45 minutes after patients arrived at the ED – 26% faster than with lateral flow tests (LFTs). When compared against PCR testing, the AI test was more likely to identify COVID patients than LFTs and corrected ruled out the infection 99.7% of the time. Collaborating with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation trust, the study found CURIAL-Rapide performed consistently across 72,000 admissions to five UK hospitals. Another AI model named CURIAL-Lab, which uses routine blood tests performed in a laboratory alongside vital signs, was at least as effective as CURIAL-Rapide when tested at hospitals.


Google is shutting down controversial data-sharing project with NHS

New Scientist

Google plans to shut down its controversial Streams app, which analysed medical record information and aimed to improve monitoring of vital signs and other tests to improve care. The tech company's AI subsidiary, DeepMind, first announced in February 2016 that it was working with the National Health Service (NHS) trusts to analyse patient data. The company intended to combine machine learning with bulk medical data to develop models that could predict or diagnose acute kidney injury.


AI detects Covid 26% faster than lateral flow tests

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Artificial intelligence can enable busy NHS emergency departments to perform bedside checks for Covid-19 in just 10 minutes without the need for a laboratory, a study led by Oxford University shows. During a three-month evaluation at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford's main accident and emergency centre, the study found that AI test results were available 45 minutes after a patient arrived, 26% faster those for a lateral flow test. The AI screening test, known as CURIAL-Rapide, uses routine healthcare data (blood tests and vital signs) to screen patients for Covid-19. Compared to lateral flow tests, the AI test was more likely to identify Covid-19 in patients and correctly ruled out the infection 99.7% of the time, the research found. In addition, a collaboration with five NHS trusts between December 2020 and March 2021 – University Hospitals Birmingham, Portsmouth University and Bedfordshire Hospitals – the study found that the AI test performed consistently in 72,000 admissions. It provided reliable negative results for uninfected patients up to 98.8% of the time and was 21% more effective at identifying Covid-19 positive patients than lateral flow tests.


Google confirms it's pulling the plug on Streams, its UK clinician support app – TechCrunch

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Google is infamous for spinning up products and killing them off, often in very short order. But the tech giant's ambitions stretch into many domains that touch human lives these days. And -- it turns out -- so does Google's tendency to kill off products that its PR has previously touted as "life saving". To wit: Following a recent reconfiguration of Google's health efforts -- reported earlier by Business Insider -- the tech giant confirmed to TechCrunch that it is decommissioning its clinician support app, Streams. The app, which Google Health PR bills as a "mobile medical device", was developed back in 2015 by DeepMind, an AI division of Google -- and has been used by the U.K.'s National Health Service in the years since, with a number of NHS Trusts inking deals with DeepMind Health to roll out Streams to their clinicians.