Background Image

Health Tech Weekly Round Up: 15 January

Hotwire Global

Matt Hancock: email must replace paper in the NHS 

In a speech at an NHS England conference Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock has made it clear that NHS must stop its reliance on pen and paper. He stated the NHS must make transitions to more modern and secure forms of communication. The minister outlined an ambition for healthcare professionals to e-mail patients directly with information in order to reduce delays, boost cyber security and cut wastage. 

This is all part of Matt Hancock’s tech vision, of introducing innovative technologies to benefit the staff and patients of the NHS. As Mr Hancock noted, at present, “a letter lost in the post could be the difference between life and death”. Outdated technology must be overcome.  

Healthtech start-up receives Innovate UK grant for rare disease solution 

Mendelian, a British based health tech start-up has been awarded with a grant from Innovate UK to aid GPs in identifying NHS patients who have rare or hard to diagnose conditions and diseases. Being able to diagnose rare diseases faster means patient’s lives can be improved with proper treatment and care delivered in a timely way.  

The total budget for the project is £940,000 with over £500,000 coming from the Innovate UK grant. Dr. Peter Fish, head of Clinical Partnerships at Mendelian said: “It’s clear that this ‘diagnostic odyssey’ is not only causing patients distress and emotional turmoil but is also extremely frustrating for clinicians, as well as costly for healthcare systems and ultimately tax-payers. To help solve this pressing issue we’re delighted to be providing a solution within the NHS, for not only rare disease patients, but also those with hard to diagnose conditions.”  

Robots and AI to give doctors more time with patients, says report 

Keeping with the theme of the NHS, a recently released NHS report, led by US Academic Eric Topol, says a technological “revolution” is awaiting the healthcare sector. The report states robots, artificial intelligence and smart speakers will eventually relieve the burden on doctors, providing them with more time to spend with their patients.  

Individuals that are fearful about robots edging out human practitioners might take some reassurance from the report, which suggests that this technology will serve to “enhance” healthcare professionals, not replace them. A potential hurdle which the NHS must navigate is ensuring its workforce is correctly prepared to deliver the pending digital future, so training healthcare professionals to be digitally literate is essential for progression. 

Johnson & Johnson buys a Silicon Valley surgical-robotics start-up for $3.4 billion 

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, announced the purchase of Silicon Valley robotics start-up Auris Health for a reported $3.4 billion. California based Auris Health manufactures controller operated cameras, used by doctors to get visuals within the body. This is the next step for J&J, who in recent years has been making a concerted effort to boost its presence in surgical robotics, with the acquisition of  companies such as Orthotaxy. 

Auris Health has generated more than $700 million since its inception through venture capitalist funding. Investors in Auris included Lux Capital, Mithril Capital Management, Highland Capital, Partner Fund Management and Coatue Management.

Interesting reads for the weekend: