Roundup: Scotland announces contact tracing launch date, NHS London NW trust adopts digital workflow and more briefs

Also, Alcidion gets appointed to NHSX clinical communications procurement framework.
By Sara Mageit
05:04 AM

Credit: Healthcare Communications 


A new report has highlighted the speed of adoption for new technology across healthcare providers since the onset of COVID-19.

Breaking down provider barriers and a rapid increase in trust in digital consultations have stood out as being two key contributors.

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The report also highlighted the priorities, as identified by 150 senior leaders surveyed, for the new COVID-19 world:

  • The use of data and analytics to improve patient outcomes
  • The move to agile resourcing and virtual service delivery across care settings
  • Increased individual patient responsibility for healthcare consumption

Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on digital adoption, Sir James Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT, said: “COVID-19 has energised our team regarding the use of technology. Indeed, we rolled out online consultations for out-patient consulting very quickly and went from around 10% - 20% utilisation to 70%. As we look forward, our biggest challenge is the use of data and analytics and we want this to be able to make decisions in real-time.”


London North West University Healthcare NHS trust (LNWH) has deployed a communications platform from Healthcare Communications, to replace a manual approach to appointment management and patient engagement with a digital workflow. 

The technology has provided LNWH with a conversational platform to engage with its patients and get advance warning of rebooked and cancelled appointments. This has enabled it to re-allocate over 30,000 appointments and cut its ‘did not attend’ (DNA) rate by more than a quarter (27%).

By avoiding these missed appointments, the trust has made a potential saving of £418,000 a month, equating to over £5 million a year.


The Scottish government has announced its contact tracing app will be released in autumn.

Last week, 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.

Working concurrently with the newly released Test and Protect system, the app will track the virus and get people with symptoms access to a test.

The contact tracing app will be available via the Apple and Google app stores. It will use Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in contact with another user who has tested positive for the virus.


NHSX has awarded smart health informatics provider Alcidion a place on the Clinical Communications Procurement Framework, a new procurement system intended to help the NHS reduce pagers by the end of next year.

The £3 million framework will allow trusts to procure Alcidion’s Smartpage product without the need for formal tendering.

Smartpage integrates directly with trusts’ existing systems, including electronic patient records and patient administration systems. It aims to provide healthcare professionals with a secure, encrypted messaging and task management solution.

Lynette Ousby, UK general manager for Alcidion, said: “NHSX has shown a commitment through this framework to accelerate the spread of modern technologies in the health service that can help healthcare professionals communicate effectively during the busiest of times.

The inclusion of Smartpage on this framework is an important independent validation for Alcidion’s Smartpage product. We look forward to helping trusts modernise their communications tools through a framework in a way that is affordable and straightforward.”


Following last week’s news that Slovenia has been working on its own version of Germany’s coronavirus contact tracing app, Slovenia has been trialling the app with members of the country’s administration.

The app has been uploaded to Google Play and the App Store since Saturday but will become available for download by mid-August.   

Until then, members of the Ministry of Public Administration in Slovenia and the National Institute of Public Health will be testing its functions and its functionality.


Propel@YH, an accelerator programme aimed at helping digital health innovators navigate the NHS in the Yorkshire and Humber region, is open for applications from startups that have developed innovations or products as a response to COVID-19. 

Applications for the programme opens on 6th August until 24th September and has space for 10 startup digital health innovators. 

Successful applicants from the March 2020 process, which was suspended due to lockdown, will be asked to resubmit in line with the new eligibility criteria.

SMEs in the digital health sphere can apply for a place on Propel@YH via until applications close on 24th September.

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