Electronic Document Management

This report from Digital Health looks at how electronic document management solutions are being used to improve access to patient information at the point of care.

Full detail: Special Report: Electronic Document Management

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New device will protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment

An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.

Thanks to a deal struck by the NHS with manufacturer Boston Scientific, hospitals in England will now be encouraged to use its hydrogel device for all patients who could benefit, making radiotherapy a safer and less painful treatment option for many men.

The hydrogel acts as a spacer, reducing the amount of radiation that can pass through the prostate and damage the rectum during treatment, by temporarily positioning it away from the high dose radiation used in treatment.

The gel, made mostly of water, is injected before treatment starts and then remains in place during radiation therapy, before being naturally absorbed by the body after about 6 months.

In studies, its use has been shown to relatively reduce life-changing side effects, such as rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea, by over 70%, meaning significant improvements in quality of life for those battling prostate cancer.

Full story at NHS England

NHS funds handheld headache-busting device as part of Long Term Plan

A device that can zap away excruciating headaches is to receive NHS England funding from a scheme that helps to spread the use of world-leading technology across the health service | via NHS England

Now the NHS will fund a handheld gadget that uses low-levels of electric current to disrupt pain signals and relieve the suffering of those who are having ‘cluster’ headaches, excruciating attacks of pain.

The NHS Long Term Plan puts cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care, committing to introducing proven and affordable innovations as quickly as possible.

Cluster headaches are rare, but they’re more common in men and tend to start when a person is in their 30s or 40s. The headaches generally begin quickly, with the pain being very severe and often described as a sharp, burning or piercing sensation on one side of the head. The condition is felt around the eye, temple and sometimes face. It tends to occur on the same side for each attack.

The attacks generally last between 15 minutes and three hours, and typically occur between one and eight times a day. The NHS-funded device is placed on the neck where it stimulates the vagus nerve which can lead to a reduction of pain.

Full detail at NHS England

Investing in health and care data analytics

Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics | The Health Foundation

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This new report from the Health Foundation highlights key reasons why there should be more investment in analytical capability. The report calls for action and investment across the system so the NHS has the right people with the right tools to interpret and create value from its data. This could result in an NHS that can make faster progress on improving outcomes for patients.

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Image source: http://www.health.org.uk
Key points
  • The NHS generates a huge amount of data. Making better use of this growing mountain of information has the potential to improve care and how services are run.
  • Yet the NHS is failing to make the most of its data because there aren’t enough people with the right analytical skills to make sense of the information that is being collected.
  • More investment is needed in skilled analysts to unlock the full potential of NHS data to benefit patients.

 

Nine key reasons why there should be more investment in analytical capability:

  • Clinicians can use the insights generated by skilled analysts to improve diagnosis and disease management.
  • National and local NHS leaders can evaluate innovations and new models of care to find out if expected changes and benefits were realised.
  • Board members of local NHS organisations and systems can use analysis to inform changes to service delivery in complex organisations and care systems.
  • Local NHS leaders can improve the way they manage, monitor and improve care quality day-to-day.
  • Senior NHS decision makers can better measure and evaluate improvements and respond effectively to national incentives and regulation.
  • Managers can make complex decisions about allocating limited resources and setting priorities for care.
  • Local NHS leaders will gain a better understanding of how patients flow through the system.
  • New digital tools can be developed and new data interpreted so clinicians and managers can better collaborate and use their insights to improve care.
  • Patients and the public will be able to better use and understand health care data.

Full report: Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics | The Health Foundation

 

NHS launches prescription bikes to tackle heart disease

NHS patients in Wales will now be able to get a prescription for town bikes in an attempt to cut the risk of death from heart disease

GPs in Cardiff will be trialling the bike share scheme in what is the first of its kind in the UK. Bike hire will be available for free on prescription, as part of the new pilot scheme at the GP surgeries. Doctors can prescribe six months of nextbike membership for people who need to do more exercise or lose weight. Once prescribed, patients will be given a code which allows them unlimited free 30-minute hires.

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The plan is being funded by the bike-share company  nextbike for the trial period, with the hope it will then expand to other surgeries across the city.

 

NHS England funds £2 million to boost system-wide leadership development

NHS England has funded a £2 million programme to help 23 areas kick-start or boost leadership development activities to support and inspire workforce in health systems across England from GPs, consultants and therapists to nurses, social workers and managers.

The programme builds on learning from five successful leadership models: Frimley Health and Care 2020 Programme, Surrey Heartlands Academy, Fylde Coast 100 Systems Leader Programme, North Cumbria and Leading Greater Manchester.

Their results have shown the importance of equipping individuals with the right skills necessary to drive change and identify new ways of working and collaborating with health, social care and third sector organisations.

The funding will support systems to develop locally tailored programmes, investing in both newly established and experienced leaders to increase their system leadership capability.

Full detail at NHS England