New life-saving treatment and diagnosis technology

Diseases could be detected even before people experience symptoms, thanks to a pioneering new health-data programme as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy

Businesses and charities are expected to jointly invest up to £160 million, alongside a £79 million government investment, as part of the Accelerating Detection of Disease programme. The project will support research, early diagnosis, prevention and treatment for diseases including cancer, dementia and heart disease.

The pioneering initiative will recruit up to 5 million healthy people. Volunteered data from the individuals will help UK scientists and researchers invent new ways to detect and prevent the development of diseases.

Full story: UK to innovate new life-saving treatment and diagnosis technology | Department of Health & Social Care


Driving improvement through technology

Care Quality Commission | July 2019 | Driving improvement through technology

Within the publication Driving improvement through technology the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is sharing examples of innovation identified in the course of their work; to raise awareness and to encourage health and care services to improve.

CQC  have selected case studies which highlight innovations around:

  • Automated triage technology– includes case studies on Monitoring for people with COPD, heart failure or type 2 diabetes; Monitoring for people with COPD, heart failure or type 2 diabetes and teledermatology
  • Digital records- use of laptops in clients’ homes
  • mHealth– Real time urgent and emergency care waiting times; use of laptops by Health care workers in clients’ homes
  • Telecare- sensors in the home
  • Telemedicine– home monitoring for patients with inflammatory bowel disease,
  • Telemonitoring– urine testing at home

Full details from the CQC


CQC blog Driving improvement through technology

CQC press release Technology in care – we shine light on the importance of innovation in new resource


Patient Safety Strategy

The NHS patient safety strategy | NHS Improvement 

This strategy sets out what the NHS will do to achieve its vision to continuously improve patient safety.  To do this the NHS will build on two foundations: a patient safety culture and a patient safety system.

Three strategic aims will support the development of both:
• improving understanding of safety by drawing intelligence from multiple
sources of patient safety information (Insight)
• equipping patients, staff and partners with the skills and opportunities to
improve patient safety throughout the whole system (Involvement)
• designing and supporting programmes that deliver effective and sustainable
change in the most important areas (Improvement).

Full document: The NHS Patient Safety Strategy. Safer culture, safer systems, safer

See also: How data can shape a safer NHS|  Nuffield Trust blog

How One Junior Doctor Is Developing Tech To Modernize The NHS

Forbes | June 2019| How One Junior Doctor Is Developing Tech To Modernize The NHS

A new article in Forbes magazine, highlights the work of Paediatrician, Dr Lydia Yarlott a junior doctor who is using technology to  improve efficiencies across the NHS and accelerate patient care. In 2016 Dr Yarlott created Forward, a messaging platform which is a safe alternative to WhatsApp and older technology such as pagers. 


Yarlott’s invention will  make it easier for doctors and nurses to communicate in hospitals and give them more life-saving time. One estimate is that the NHS uses 130,000 pagers alone, which represents 10% of global usage and costs £6.6 million yearly.

Yarlott says:”We are developing Forward as a smartphone app which clinicians download for free and use to contact one another, exchange patient information and make decisions, and manage their workload,” (Source: Forbes)

Read the full news story at Forbes 

The King’s Fund:Clicks and mortar: Technology and the NHS estate

The King’s Fund | May 2019 | The King’s Fund: Clicks and mortar: Technology and the NHS estate

Research conducted by The King’s Fund and supported by NHS Property Services looked at the impact of technology on the NHS estate. While the project acknowledges the impact technology has already had on the NHS estate;  it also identifies a number of factors that can affect the ability of organisations and systems to get the most out of technology and the estate.


 These included:

  • The availability of skills
  • Their engagement with staff and patients
  • Their access to investment
  • Local systems will play a key role in planning technology and the estate across organisations. This includes collaboration across organisations beyond the NHS, and taking advantage of the opportunities that come from working at scale.
  • There is also a clear role for the national NHS bodies in supporting this work. They should support common data and technology standards (so that different systems can talk to each other) and facilitate the sharing of learning across the NHS.

The piece also considers how to get the most of out of technology and the estate


Download summary 

Download publication

Alternatively, listen via SoundCloud


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

Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care

Moyle, W. et al. | Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care: reflections from a cluster-RCT | Aging & Mental Health | Vol. 23 issue 3 | p329-336

Objectives: We undertook a cluster-randomised controlled trial exploring the effect of a therapeutic companion robot (PARO) compared to a look-alike plush toy and usual care on dementia symptoms of long-term care residents. Complementing the reported quantitative outcomes , this paper provides critical reflection and commentary on individual participant responses to PARO, observed through video recordings , with a view to informing clinical practice and research.

Method: A descriptive, qualitative design with five participants selected from the PARO intervention arm of the trial. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry

Results: The five participants and their responses to PARO are presented in terms of three issues: i.) Different pre-intervention clinical presentations and different responses; ii.) Same individual, different response – the need for continual assessment and review; and iii.) The ethics of giving and retrieving PARO. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed in relation to each issue.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that one approach does not fit all, and that there is considerable variation in responses to PARO. A number of recommendations are discussed to aid the delivery of psychosocial interventions with PARO in practice, as well as to guide future research.

Full detail at Aging & Mental Health