Roundup: Pain and dementia tech launches in the UK, N Ireland COVID-19 app reaches 250K downloads and more briefs

Also, a new study ranks Europe’s best startups in 2020.
By Sara Mageit
07:11 AM

PainChek uses AI-powered unique facial analysis technology to identify chronic pain in dementia.


PainChek has launched a new facial analysis technology in the UK which enables care workers and clinicians to identify and manage pain in dementia and cognitively impaired patients who struggle to communicate.

The smartphone-based medical device uses AI technology to overcome the problem of people living with dementia that cannot say they are in pain and has additional assessment domains that provide further evidence. 

Indicators of pain are taken into account in identifying the level of pain, and a profile of the ‘pain burden’ can be seen and monitored in the cloud.

Pete Shergill, PainChek UK&I country director, explains: “Sadly, so many of our most vulnerable in society experience chronic or acute pain, but this often goes undetected and under-treated in people with communication difficulties from medical conditions such as dementia.

“It is a daily challenge for carers and healthcare professionals to assess pain in non-communicative individuals. Often pain goes undetected or untreated, which can lead to unnecessary prescribing, behavioural and psychological issues and decreased quality of life.”


Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new framework enabling local authorities to commission online sexual health services from provider, Preventx and its partners, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS FT and LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

Local authorities will be able to commission online STI self-sampling and treatment, emergency hormonal contraception and routine contraception from the partnership, SH.UK.

PHE created the framework to make commissioning online sexual health services easier for local authorities and other healthcare providers.

They are offering low cost and flexible contracting options with specialist providers working to an approved specification and quality standards. 

It was announced earlier this week that PHE will be replaced by the National Institute for Health Protection, specifically designed to protect the nation from pandemics. The new public health body will be led by head of the NHS test and trace programme, Dido Harding. 


Research and financial data directory, NimbleFins, has released a new study which shows Germany ranking as the best European country for startups for the second year running. 

The UK takes second place for its highly ranked access to venture capital and relative ease of doing business. Switzerland was also in the top 3, scoring best in business climate and labour force quality. 

To determine the ranking, NimbleFins analysed data from the World Bank, World Economic Forum, UNESCO, OECD and tax consultancies.

The study highlighted the following points:

  • Ireland scores the highest in Economic Health, with the Netherlands and Germany coming in second and third. 
  • Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary are the best places for startups in terms of Cost of Doing Business. 
  • Switzerland has the most supportive Business Climate, standing out in the Market Dominance and Regulatory Burden categories. 
  • The Labour Force Quality is highest in Switzerland as well, based on the education and training trends amongst the population. 


To protect Patient Network Explorer user accounts from breach, Swizterland-based medical data informatics company, Clinerion is activating a second verification step during the sign-in process.

In addition to the password, Patient Network Explorer now includes an authorisation step that will run via the “Clinerion PNEx Authenticator” smartphone app.

In this new step, when logging in to a Patient Network Explorer account, the app will prompt the user to confirm their identity using their smartphone’s own authentication system, such as a PIN code, fingerprint, or facial recognition.

The “Clinerion PNEx Authenticator” smartphone app is available on the Apple App Store and on the Google Play Store.


Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 test and trace app has been downloaded 250,000 times in the two weeks since it went live.

The app is called 'StopCovid NI' and was launched at the end of July 2020. It anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Thirty-nine people who have tested positive have uploaded their diagnosis to the app, which has led to 19 exposure notifications to self-isolate.

Earlier this month, Northern Ireland became the first country in the UK to deploy a contact-tracing app. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland decided to adapt software already being used in the Republic of Ireland.


The Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG), from Healthcare Gateway, is enabling a real-time view of the GP records of an estimated eight million patients. The move is part of an initiative to grow its use across the capital.

The MIG, in conjunction with other technology providers, has enabled staff from NHS 111 services and hospitals, community units, hospices and mental health services to view information, with patients’ permission.

The work is part of the OneLondon Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) programme. Led by the region’s five health and care partnerships, OneLondon is working with Londoners to improve health and care services by joining up information to support effective care.

Clinicians have hailed it as a ‘revolution’ in joined up clinical care. 


Swedish digital health company Pilloxa has received €580k in funding from the EU’s EUROSTARS program.

The company is developing digital patient-centric solutions and together with the University of Oslo, will validate an innovation that supports patients to take their medication as prescribed. 

The ASTORIA study will show the effect of Pilloxa's solution upon adherence to the medicine Rivaroxaban.

Pilloxa also plans to further develop the solution to increase the quality and effectiveness of drug treatment in both the healthcare setting and during clinical trials, while reducing costs and remaining ethical. 

The funds will also be used for further development of a digital system that facilitates the process both for the patients included in the study and for the investigator.

As a partner of Pilloxa, Bayer is a financial sponsor of the ASTORIA project.             

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