Roundup: NHS Wales creates system for storing COVID-19 results, X-ON develops remote consultations and more briefs

Also, Google blocks millions of scam COVID-19 emails
By Sophie Porter
05:04 AM

Credit: Stephen Dawson

GOOGLE BLOCKS MILLIONS OF COVID-19 SCAM EMAILS DAILY

Product manager at Google Security, Neil Kumaran, and lead security product marketing manager for G Suite and GCP platform, Sam Lugani, issued a statement last week (16 April) in which they underlined the extent of their security measures set up to protect against phishing and malware attacks sent to gmail accounts. They stated that, in the past week alone, they saw “18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19” with millions more spam emails, and were able to stop 99.9% of them reaching the account holder.

They continued: “We have put proactive monitoring in place for COVID-19-related malware and phishing across our systems and workflows. In many cases, these threats are not new—rather, they’re existing malware campaigns that have simply been updated to exploit the heightened attention on COVID-19.” 


DIGITAL APPOINTMENTS COULD BE PROBLEMATIC FOR MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS

Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Martin Marshall, has expressed concern as to the suitability of remote consultations for managing patients with mental health issues. He expressed that the nature of the appointments could deter patients from approaching their GP and so limit the availability of early intervention and diagnosis.

He noted in a statement to HSJ: “Patients often feel that face-to-face consultations provide a more comfortable and open environment to discuss mental health as they enable the patient to feel listened to and that their mental health needs are being taken seriously. […] Our concern, therefore, is that the system of remote consulting during COVID-19 may make patients with mental health problems feel uneasy and in some instances less likely to contact their GP. This will make it more difficult for GPs to diagnose and manage patients’ mental health problems during the pandemic.”


NHS WALES CREATES SYSTEM TO STORE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS

NHS Wales Informatics Service has developed a digital test requesting system, to be used by community health centres across Wales. This will streamline the testing process in laboratories and keep track on the spread of the virus. The results will then be stored in their central database as well as on the patients digital health record, which will be accessible to healthcare professionals where appropriate regardless of the local authority.

In a statement by Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for COVID-19 Outbreak Response: “Public Health Wales is working with our partners in Welsh Government, the wider NHS in Wales, the other UK nations and others to monitor and respond to the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales. This includes moves to ramp up our testing capacity, including the introduction of more testing facilities for key workers around Wales to ensure they are fit and able to respond to the developing situation.”


NHS TO SHARE DATA ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN WITH SCHOOL NURSES

NHS Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) programme will share information on vulnerable children with school nurses and health visitors as well as NHS staff and social workers in a bid to improve the outcomes of their welfare. The programme is being “urgently amended” to include these professionals to better support children at risk of abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme will alert these authority figures of children on Child Protection Plans which could ultimately streamline and improve care for the children involved.

NHS Digital programme director Martin Dennys said: “We know that a deeply concerning potential, unintended consequence of the current regulations in place to try and keep people at home to save lives is that vulnerable children already at risk of being abused are even more at risk. We are working around the clock to extend the crucial information shared through Child Protection Information Sharing to school nurses and health visitors as quickly as possible, to provide what could be a crucial extra layer of information and protection at a time when local arrangements for such data-sharing may be difficult to administer.” 


IMPERIAL COLLEGE HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST PARTNERS WITH PATCHWORK HEALTH

Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust has announced its new partnership with the staff shift-booking platform Patchwork.Health. Patchwork offers a bank of qualified clinicians and support staff who can apply to work on a temporary basis. This centralised process reduces admin time and provides more staffing options.

Dawn Sullivan, the deputy director of people and organisational development at Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, said: “There are so many benefits to Patchwork. It will give our staff and clinicians more capacity for pressing needs and it will provide a more effective oversight of our workforce, providing useful data and insight. Now, instead of contacting multiple doctors and agencies we’ll be able to instantly advertise our vacant shifts to a bigger pool of bank doctors.”


HARROGATE, UK NIGHTINGALE HOSPITAL TO USE SILVERLINK PAS SYSTEM

Silverlink Software have confirmed that they will be supplying their Patient Administration System (PAS) to the temporary Nightingale ICU being set up in Harrogate. They announced that they would be supporting the 500 patient-capacity hospital throughout the emergency, extending the existing system used throughout Yorkshire and the Humber and capitalising on local healthworkers familiarity with the system.

Tim Quainton, MD, Silverlink Software said: “The Nightingale Hospital is being delivered at pace, so the requirement to have a safe, reliable, trusted and proven system in place immediately to support staff during this time of crisis is absolutely paramount. COVID-19 has meant that the NHS is facing an unprecedented logistical, financial and clinical challenge, and we believe that technology needs to be simple to use and easy to deploy with high quality product support to help relieve some of the burden.”


X-ON DEVELOPS REMOTE CONSULTATION SYSTEM FOR GPs

Cloud communications provider X-on is piloting its new remote consultation platform, GP@Home, which has been developed in collaboration with GPs. The service enables practitioners to conduct clinic-quality video and phone consultations in a safe and accessible way. The platform is compatible with a range of clinical software systems, improving access to patient records and saving time. X-on has also developed Video Connect, which enables GPs to switch from phone to video consultation in a single click.

Dr Barry Sullman, a GP already using the platform and the Clinical Commissioning Group clinical lead, said: “[Video Connect] is a game changing piece of software that has allowed my practice to perform normally through the COVID-19 crisis. […] Video call quality is extremely high and supports remote diagnosis. By being able to diagnose a diverse range of conditions such as skin rashes reliably, and by being able to assess the clinical condition of a patient confidently through high quality video, face to face appointments at the surgery are saved, which in turn increases the access capacity of the surgery. The technology also records the phone or video call, and links it to the clinical record, so that doctors can refer back to the information if required.”

More regional news

(Top row: left to right) Dr Charles Alessi, HIMSS, Dr Peter Gocke, Charité in Berlin (Germany)

(Bottom row: left-right) Dr Afzal Chaudhry, Cambridge University Hospitals (UK), Dr Jan Kimpen, Philips (Netherlands)

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