Wellcome seeks to launch health data innovation programme, Fujitsu introduces AI solution, and more news briefs

Also: EU Cybersecurity Act comes into force, Quibim gives update on PRIMAGE project, Edinburgh university receives award for eHealth resource, and others.
By Leontina Postelnicu
10:14 AM

Health data. Global charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust has announced an investment of £75m in a five-year initiative focusing on data for science and health.

The programme, which is currently in the planning phase, will support efforts to build trust in health data innovation, and it will not focus solely on the UK, with the charity looking at hubs in India and southern and east Africa, according to chief technology officer James Thomas.

In England, a recent survey commissioned by the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care, Dame Fiona Caldicott, found that one in seven people supported partnerships between the NHS and a university or private company – using patient data to innovate – that resulted in access to the discoveries created at a reduced cost and improvements in care for the health service.

However, over 30% of people did not state their views, which Dame Fiona said could be an indication that these issues were not being “discussed enough” with the public.

More information about the Wellcome programme can be found here.

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Cybersecurity. The EU's Cybersecurity Act has now gone into effect, reinforcing the role of ENISA, the EU Agency for Cybersecurity, with a new permanent mandate and tools to support member states in case of cyberattacks.

“The EU Cybersecurity Act has demonstrated the urgency to opt for an EU approach in this sensitive area,” said Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for digital economy and society.

“To respond to this political imperative, Europe has reinforced its Agency for Cybersecurity ENISA. It is crucial for citizens, businesses and Member States to feel more secure, including in cases of large-scale cross-border cyber-attacks,” the commissioner added.

O-EMRAM. Turkey’s Denzil Dental Hospital has been validated at Stage 6 of the HIMSS Analytics Outpatient Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (O-EMRAM).

John Rayner, HIMSS Analytics director for Europe and Latin America, said the hospital had made “significant progress” following an on-site assessment carried out earlier this year.

“The staff in this Dental Hospital were very familiar with this intuitive, well set out clinical information systems and had been using it for approximately 5 years,” Rayner explained. “A genuine paperlite hospital, in which all care providers are documenting in the clinical system and using it to good effect,” he added.

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New products. Fujitsu has unveiled an AI solution that automates medical coding of unstructured notes to improve management of Electronic Health Record systems, combining semantic knowledge and natural language processing with deep learning. 

“Most of the EHR systems available today do not fulfil the requirements of the doctor/patient relationship,” said Dr Julio Mayol, medical director of the Clinical Hospital San Carlos in Madrid, Spain, which has been working on a number of projects with Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe.

“In fact, the use of EHR has been directly associated to clinician burn-out, as demonstrated by a number of studies. With new technologies such as Fujitsu’s latest AI text mining technology, we can address these challenges directly, and achieve tangible improvements to the clinical decision-making process,” Dr Mayol added.

Details regarding the new solution can be found here.

EU-financed projects. Spanish biotech company Quibim has given an update on its work for the €10m EU-funded PRIMAGE project, which aims to accelerate research on childhood cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, around 300,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in children up to 19 years old.

"Much work remains to be done to improve our knowledge of pediatric cancer,” said Ángel Alberich-Bayarri, chief executive of Quibim.

“NB [neuroblastoma] and DIPG [Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma] have a complex therapeutic approach and we need proper tools to improve prognosis and survival. Extracting quantitative information from medical images with AI can help visualize tumor growth with extreme precision, and help to tailor therapy to each individual patient," Alberich-Bayarri added.

The project, which brings together 16 partners, is led by Professor Dr Luis Martí-Bonmatí from the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, Spain.

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Awards. Edinburgh Napier University has received the Connect Digital Health & Care Award for an eHealth resource supporting intensive care patients across the UK after discharge - criticalcarerecovery.com - in the 2019 Holyrood Connect ICT Awards.

“We know that 25% of patients end up back in hospital within three months of getting home after an ICU stay,” said Dr Pam Ramsay, research fellow and lecturer at the university.

“Shockingly, that figure rises to 40% within six months, so there’s a real need to support these patients during their recovery and avoid unnecessary readmissions to hospital. Digital interventions have been shown to reduce readmission rates and healthcare costs in other patient groups, and we’d hope to demonstrate similar benefits with our website.”

Appointments. Sir Norman Lamb, former health minister in the UK, has been named as the chair of online mental health service provider XenZone’s new advisory board.

“What drives me is a desire to see reform of the support provided to children and young people who experience mental ill health or mental distress, with a much greater focus on how we prevent ill health in the first place and how we reduce the rate of deterioration.

“What has impressed me about XenZone is its appetite to demonstrate effectiveness and its commitment to maintaining high clinical standards,” he said. 

Meanwhile, HIMSS, owner of Healthcare IT News, has appointed Armin Scheuer as business development vice president for international. Scheuer, who is based in Berlin, brings to the organisation over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and consultant in the digital health industry.

“I am looking forward to working with the HIMSS Corporate Members and customers, who represent some of the most innovative firms in the healthcare industry,” the new VP said.