Roundup: UK's House of Lords Committee ask for COVID-19 app update, Royal Philips announces new partnership and more briefs

Also, The Royal Marsden, in the UK, launches AI virtual agent to support key workers post lockdown.
By Sara Mageit
05:51 AM


Leading cancer centre, The Royal Marsden, in the UK, will launch its first AI virtual agent called Ask Maisie using IBM Watson.

Ask Maisie will support key workers post lockdown, by ensuring they have immediate access to the latest COVID-19 HR related information and policies. It will also inform key workers on updates on the hospital and evolving workplace guidance as the lockdown eases.

The aim is to enable hospitals to manage its workforce efficiently while alleviating additional stress key workers may be experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis.

The virtual agent will use IBM Watson Assistant and its Natural Language Processing functions delivered via the IBM public cloud, to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19.


Provider of digital care software, Servelec, has announced that its cloud-based Conexes platform has been accredited for four major national programmes run by NHS Digital.

This comes as Somerset NHS FT is the first to go live with one of the programmes, the National Record Locator (NRL) for Mental Health Crisis Plans (MHCP).

As part of a working group run by NHS Digital, Servelec has also been contributing to the development of these programmes which will aim to set the interoperability standard for other suppliers moving forward.

James Marriott at Somerset NHS FT, said: “The ability to provide timely and accurate information at the point of care is vital, particularly in mental health where access to a joined-up view of the patient truly enables better clinical decision making, a better experience for patients and, most importantly, better outcomes.”


Five companies, including TietoEVRY and Hyland Healthcare, have partnered to deliver a digital pathology platform that enables improved cancer diagnostics and patient treatment to the Swedish region of Västra Götaland (VGR).

The platform is called PATOS and is a solution delivered by TietoEVRY, integrating technology infrastructure, instrumentation and diagnostic analysis from a consortium of five partnering companies of which Hyland is one.

Hyland’s Acuo vendor neutral archive (VNA) and NilRead enterprise viewer are central components of the platform providing both storage and management of digital pathology images. Hyland’s platform will contribute with functionality for DICOM, formatting the images that are produced by scanning the slides, ensuring the interoperability and flexibility for the digital pathology platform in the future.


In light of the UK government recently ditching its centralised contact tracing app in favour of Apple and Google’s decentralised technology, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have pressed Apple executives for a roll-out date.

Apple’s Simon Thompson who will be taking the reins of the project was present during the meeting on 6 July and said, “The introduction of the app is urgent and important but it must be a product that users can trust.”

Baroness Dido Harding also said that she was “not keen to commit to a specific date” when questioned about the possible roll-out.


UK-based, Secure I.T. Environments, a design and build company for modular, containerised and micro data centres, has announced the completion of a new data centre project at Hammersmith Hospital, which has over 12,000 staff and 1.5 million patients a year.

Secure I.T. Environments has worked with the hospital to help identify the right location for the new server and communications room, deciding on a ground floor location that offered access and connectivity for the services needed. 

Chris Wellfair, projects director at Secure I.T. Environments, commented, “Running any NHS data centre project presents a number of challenges, especially when a site is operating 24/7/365. We have many years’ experience working with NHS trusts in the UK, successfully delivering projects on sites where the public and staff are constantly present, and downtime is not an option.”

The new server and communications room was completed on time and within budget and forms part of the trust’s wider upgrade programme, of which Secure I.T. Environments also completed mechanical and electrical infrastructure works at other hospitals.


East Lancashire Hospitals NHS trust has implemented a new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) that is helping to change how professionals work.

Radiologists are now better placed to cope with rising demand and are being better connected with colleagues across the region.

The system, which was implemented by imaging technology provider Sectra, is providing access to images from several hospitals in the region and has already started to save staff time when they are reviewing crucial diagnostic images.

Radiologists in East Lancashire are now able to work and report from home, helping to mitigate pressures and improve work life balance.


Global leader in health technology, Royal Philips has announced its partnership with BioIntelliSense, a health monitoring and clinical intelligence company, to integrate its BioSticker medical device into Philips’ remote patient monitoring (RPM).

The platform will help monitor at-risk patients from the hospital into the home and will aim to improve how clinicians monitor patient populations living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and congestive heart failure.

Patients will be able to monitor conditions at home with passive monitoring of key vital signs, physiological biometrics and symptomatic issues through the BioSticker wearable patch.

“With more patients interacting with their doctors from home and more hospitals developing strategies to virtually engage with their patients, remote patient monitoring is now, more than ever, an essential tool,” said Roy Jakobs, chief business leader connected care, member of the executive committee at Royal Philips.

Symptoms directly associated with COVID-19 such as temperature and respiratory rate can also be remotely monitored through the wearable patch.


Rutherford Health has announced that it has entered into a contract with Somerset NHS FT to provide diagnostic services through a new diagnostics facility. This move comes following the need for faster, more efficient diagnostics services identified as a priority in the NHS 10-year plan.

The centre will provide a wide range of diagnostic services and will help expedite the delivery of test results.

The agreement with the trust has been reached with Rutherford Health’s diagnostics subsidiary, Rutherford Diagnostics, and will last for five years with an option to extend to 10 years.

The centre is expected to be built and operational by the second half of 2021 and will include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, X-ray and other diagnostic services, which will be facilitated by Rutherford Health’s long-term technology partner Philips.

David Shannon, director of strategy and improvement for Somerset NHS FT, said: “This contract will support us to deliver real improvements to our patients. We want to ensure that we have access to timely, state-of-the-art diagnostics and to provide the best possible experience for our patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant our access to diagnostic capacity has been, and will continue to be compromised, making this development even more important.”


UK-based, healthcare service GDPQ has announced the launch of its new Workplace Health for COVID-19, to help employers return staff to work safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate against future illness.

The service launches as the easing of lockdown has been announced by the government, and with UK employers exposed to liability if they don’t mitigate risk for employees returning to the workplace.

The service is tailored to each individual partner organisation, but provides four central offerings; comprehensive risk assessment for individual employees; antibody and antigen testing; physical health assessments delivered in person by qualified nurses and GPs and a test and trace action plan.

Beyond helping with the immediate risks of COVID-19, the service has been developed to reduce the costs of absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace.


Want to get more stories like this one? Get daily news updates from Healthcare IT News.
Your subscription has been saved.
Something went wrong. Please try again.