In this week’s health tech round up, we take a look at the NHS’s tech revolution in transforming patient care with a groundbreaking artificial intelligence triage, in partnership with Babylon Health; UCLA Health and Microsoft’s collaboration to improve healthcare through Azure; Apple’s latest move into the health tech space with its acquisition of Tueo Health; the launch of Boston Scientific’s clinical trial; and how Skype is saving millions of pounds in Manchester by helping elderly patients get care at home.

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NHS to sign up patients for ‘virtual’ A&E in tech revolution

The University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) trust has embraced technology in a groundbreaking initiative to transform how hundreds of thousands of patients receive NHS care. The revolutionary approach will see patients in Birmingham encouraged to use digital technology to alleviate the “unsustainable” pressure on health services. As part of a drive to reduce the use of A&E, patients will be advised to use online chat services, symptom checkers and video consultations with medical staff in an “artificial intelligence triage”. The scheme will be implemented in partnership with private health tech company, Babylon Health, which aims to “help outpatients, primary care and emergency care to go digital”, said Paul Bate, Babylon’s managing director for NHS services.

UCLA Health Using Microsoft Azure to Improve EHR Data Integration

UCLA Health is using Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing services to synthesise and integrate EHR data to improve patient care. The artificial intelligence software within the Azure platform will allow health providers to secure and manage clinical data and research tools. UCLA Health’s incorporation of cloud computing into its health IT infrastructure is its latest effort to advance the delivery of more effective healthcare. “We are committed to creating better patient outcomes by providing UCLA Health with Microsoft Azure cloud and AI solutions to improve treatments and lives,” said Peter Lee, corporate vice president, Microsoft Healthcare.

Apple acquires asthma monitoring startup Tueo Health

It has been announced that Apple has acquired small respiratory health company, Tueo Health for an undisclosed sum. Tueo Health originally created a digital tool to help parents monitor the symptoms, environment and treatment of children with asthma. The acquisition is Apple’s latest expansion into the health tech space, aiming to help consumers monitor and manage their health. With the release of the Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG functionality and rumours that the consumer company may be supporting hearing health, women’s health and medication adherence reminders, digital health is set for further expansion in the Apple ecosystem.

Boston Scientific device may replace anticoagulants in heart surgery

Boston Scientific has launched a clinical trial of its next generation WATCHMAN FLX left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) device to reduce stroke risk in patients. The WATCHMAN device is a permanent implant for closing the left atrial appendage, and is being trialled to discover whether the “device could replace commonly used anticoagulants for long-term stroke risk reduction”, said the trial principle investigator, Oussama Wazni. The randomised, controlled trial will test the safety and effectiveness of the device in comparison to oral anticoagulants.

Skype doctors save the NHS £1.3 million and hundreds of hours of staff time in Manchester

An on-call Skype team in Manchester has freed up 2000 GP appointments by helping elderly patients get the care they need in their own homes. The programme has reduced distressing hospital visits and costly ambulance callouts, freeing up time for paramedics to focus on emergencies. This approach has been replicated in 14 integrated care systems across the country, joining up NHS and local government services to simplify connections between GPs, hospitals, councils and charities.

 

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