Roundup: Israel benefiting from digital health structure, wellbeing text service for COVID-19 patients and more briefs

Also - VISIONABLE recruits Rachel Dunscombe as new CTO.
By Sophie Porter
05:42 AM

Credit: Nye Health

ISRAEL BENEFITING FROM DIGITAL HEALTH STRUCTURE AMID COVID-19 OUTBREAK

As countries across the world adapt their healthcare systems to accommodate the societal strictures necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, Israel had benefitted from its already-thriving digital health infrastructure. Maccabi Healthcare Services, the country’s second-largest health maintenance organisation (HMO), was able to transfer all of its 5,000 medical staff to remote health services in under two weeks and conduct 20,000 phone appointments with members after just five days.

This optimisation comes in conjunction with the controversial decision to deploy anti-terrorism data tracking to identify citizens infected with COVID-19. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underlined the importance of going digital in the fight against the virus. “A delay of even one hour in employing these digital tools could lead to the death of very many Israelis, just as is happening in Italy and other places in the world where thousands are dying.”


LONDON NIGHTINGALE HOSPITAL TO USE CERNER EHR SOFTWARE

American digital healthcare firm Cerner confirmed they will be running Cerner Millennium EHR software at NHS Nightingale, the temporary ICU set up in London’s ExCel centre to accommodate patient overflow during the coronavirus pandemic. The platform will allow complete interoperability between the pop-up hospital and other connected facilities, enabling staff “to request tests and access to results rapidly and electronically – helping to drive quicker discharge of recovered patients and maximise hospital capacity.”

Distie Profit, the managing director of Cerner UK, mentioned how the company was “honoured and humbled” to help in the UK’s effort against COVID-19. She continued: “Working closely together, NHS and Cerner teams have managed to get this new facility created within the system in just a matter of days. This goes a long way to show the great things we are all able to achieve when we work together towards a single goal, and for the benefit of millions.”


NHS TO TEXT SELF-ISOLATING SUSPECTED COVID-19 PATIENTS ABOUT WELLBEING

A new scheme has been launched by NHSX which will see those self-isolating with suspected symptoms of coronavirus sent regular text messages to check up on their progress and wellbeing. The initiative is primarily intended to combat the emotional drawbacks that can arise from isolation and to ensure that those who require support during this period receive it. The daily texts will be sent to those who register their symptoms and contact information on NHS 111 online and can be opted-out of.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock commented: “I know all too well that experiencing symptoms can be worrying, but for those living on their own it will be even more so. Alongside other measures, this new daily text service will reassure our most vulnerable that they are not alone, and also to help them manage their symptoms.”


UK VIDEO HEALTH PLATFORM VISIONABLE RECRUITS RACHEL DUNSCOMBE AS NEW CTO

Health tech pioneer Rachel Dunscombe has joined video communications company Visionable as their new CTO. The role will see her developing the strategy for the unique video collaboration platform, which so far encompasses everything from consultations and meetings to live feeds of CT scans and microscopic readings.

Speaking of the move, Dunscombe emphasised the company’s potential: “I see Visionable as a platform that we can scale fast in the face of COVID-19, to help keep clinical staff safe by reducing unnecessary contact between teams and patients. In the longer-term, I see it as part of a technology ecosystem that gets clinicians and patients working together, so clinicians can make the right decisions, in the right place, at the right time, while giving patients new tools to manage their own health.”


FREE REMOTE CONSULTATION SERVICE DEVELOPED BY NHS WORKERS

In response to the call-out for a digital-first approach to healthcare in the time of COVID-19, Nye Health adapted their system to create a free NHS-compliant remote consultation platform that facilitates fully-encrypted phone and video appointments for GPs. The company, set up by scientists and health workers, has already seen huge uptake of the service.

Dr Alexander Finlayson, founder and CEO of Nye Health, said: “Given the current crisis and in response to calls from the Secretary of State for Health to make sure clinical remote working is possible, we’ve rapidly and urgently built technology to help UK GPs cope and ensure they can still care for their patients. This tech has been built for and with the NHS. It is free, it’s completely secure, and it will help GPs process fast, effective appointments via call or video call.”


NHS NOTES SURGE IN ITS TECH USE AMID COVID-19 OUTBREAK

In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, research has shown that usage of NHS technologies has spiked. The platforms, such as the NHS website, NHS App and Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS), have all seen increased usage, with NHS 111 online seeing a leap from an average 10,000 users per day to an average of almost 550,000 throughout March.

Ben Davison, NHS Digital’s executive director for product development said of the surge: “Good technology is making it possible for doctors, nurses and other health professionals to continue to deliver care remotely where possible and freeing up time for those patients who need face-to-face care. It’s keeping people well whilst they are isolated with good information and advice and the ability to manage things like prescriptions remotely.”