Back to the future: what we learned at Tech Connected Health

Tonic recently attended a Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co Connected Health networking event, Tech Connected Health.

The event included talks from prominent figures at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the largest and most established commercial team in the UK, on how leading NHS hospitals are embracing new technology and innovation. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is at the forefront of NHS tech and the event provided us with a unique opportunity to learn about new and exciting technology developments for the NHS. For those of you not fortunate enough to attend this event don’t fret, as we have gathered our insights on the most innovative tech showcased at the event.

Lego robot

Tamsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always looking for a friend that will encourage you to be more active? For children requiring rehabilitation this may soon become a reality. Currently under development is a Lego robot designed to help children who need to undertake more physical activity in a fun way – when you move, so does the robot. Genius right!?

Cydar[1]

Ever wondered how surgeons are able to guide their way through our vessels when performing keyhole surgery? The truth is that it isn’t easy! Until now surgeons have had to rely on live X-ray images, which make the accurate positioning of devices inside the body difficult and time-consuming. Challenges in device positioning are not ideal, as device misplacement can have catastrophic consequences for the patient. Luckily for us, Cydar have detected this problem and found a novel way to fix it.

Cydar uses an image fusion system that automatically overlays pre-op 3D CT scans onto live 2D X-ray images. This ‘Satnav for surgeons’, as it has aptly been named, provides an intuitive perception of real anatomy and promises to help improve precision, avoid prolonged procedures and reduce errors in endovascular surgery. It will also reduce radiation exposure for patients and staff.

Set up in 2012 by co-founders Tom Carrell, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Graeme Penney, Department of Biomedical Engineering at King’s College London, Cydar is a response to the need for better visualization of the anatomy during endovascular surgery. The company is a joint spin-off from King’s College London, Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

Each 3D image that Cydar creates uses technology more advanced than the biggest supercomputer from 2007. Cydar allows for massive savings on endovascular surgeries, the cost for a healthcare centre to acquire Cydar equals that of a single X-ray. To put this into perspective, the machines that surgeons currently use cost £4-5 million.

Cydar is currently being tested by vascular surgeons in five hospitals across Europe. The multi-centre clinical study is expected to be concluded by April 2015, meaning that we could soon see the launch of this amazing technology.

State of the art respiratory centre[2]

The Respiratory Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has developed a 20-bed weaning unit at East Surrey Hospital in partnership with REMEO Healthcare. The purpose-built centre operates as a satellite to the Lane Fox Respiratory Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London and allows NHS patients to access leading clinical expertise remotely.

The technology used in the novel public-private partnership behind the new weaning unit allows specialist care to be delivered through innovative use of technology. Why BHow will this benefit patients? Nurses will have virtual access to specialist consultants to support them in the management of patients with complex respiratory illness, moving patients out of intensive care wards and into a multi-disciplinary specialist centre will free up hospital intensive care beds for acutely ill people. As well as this, it means that patients will be able to move closer to their home – let’s face it, there is no better place to recuperate than at home surrounded by your family.

 

[1] http://www.gsttcharity.org.uk/what-we-do/our-impact/stories/satnav-surgeons

[2] http://www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk/martha-lane-fox-opens-uks-first-lane-fox-remeo-respiratory-centre-east-surrey-hospital/

Today’s top health stories: 09 January

Waiting times in England A&Es lengthening

Image source: The Telegraph

The latest waiting time figures for A&E are the worst since records began in 2010, with all of the past four weeks being the worst ever for waiting times.

Although the NHS target 95% of all patients entering A&E to be seen within four hours, last week’s figure reached only 86.7%. The recent slump has meant that more than 16,000 patients had to wait between four and 12 hours for treatment.

Healthcare workers have noted that a strain of flu not affected by the seasonal vaccine is causing an influx of extra A&E admissions. Last week at least 17 hospitals felt pressure so great that they needed to take extra measures, such as cancelling operations or turning people away.

Sources: BBC News, The Telegraph 

First ever privately-run NHS hospital “no longer viable”

Image source: The Guardian

Circle Holdings, the first company to privately run an NHS hospital, has announced that its control of Hinchingbrooke Hospital is “no longer viable under current terms”.

According to their website, Circle Holdings boasts the largest partnerships of doctors and nurses in Europe. The company has suggested that an unprecedented rise in A&E patients is part of the reason that they can no longer run the hospital. However, Circle Holding’s announcement has surprised some, as current NHS pressures have been building for some time.

The Care Quality Commission recently visited Hinchingbrooke Hospital and is expected to publish their report of the hospital in the near future.

Source: BBC News

 

UK cases of Flu at a three-year high

Image source: Virology History

Building upon current NHS pressures, UK flu levels are at a three-year high. Senior healthcare professionals are currently calling on those groups vulnerable to flu to get the seasonal flu jab. Despite the already high figures, health officials are warning that the number of flu cases is still set to rise.

Last week there were 12.1 flu consultantations out of every 100,000 GP visits. Figures also show that over 70% of over 65s have received the flu jab this year.

Source: The Telegraph

Today’s top health stories: 08 January

Pharma companies threaten legal action over NHS England’s decision to halt access to expensive drugs

Image source: The Guardian

Pharma companies have expressed their discontent at NHS England’s expected plans to remove access to a range of medicines due to their high prices.

NHS England’s Cancer Drugs Fund, which was set up to allow patients access to drugs regardless of their cost and has been used by 55,000 people, is set to be £100m over budget by the end of the financial year.

Medicines which will be no longer paid by the fund include breast cancer drugs Eisai’s Halaven (eribulin, breast cancer), Sanofi’s Zaltrap (Aflibercept, bowel cancer) and Roche’s Kadcyla (Trastuzumab emtansine, bowel cancer).

Chief executive of Myeloma UK, Eric Lowe, believes that the Cancer Drugs Fund is unsustainable and a “policy anomaly”.

Sources: Financial Times, BBC News

 

Scientists discover 25 new antibiotics in clinical study

Image source: Institute for Creation Research


Following a three-year gap since the last clinical discovery of antibiotics, a novel approach to cultivating bacteria has led to a yield of 25 new antibiotics.

These new antibiotics, described by the researchers as the “tip of the iceberg” in their published journal in Nature, could potentially revive antibiotic discovery.

Recent decades have seen microbes become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, leading to so-called ‘super bugs’ which have caused media stirs.

Source: BBC News

 

Signs that Ebola is slowing in Sierra Leone

Image source: MarketWatch

Although 248 new confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in Sierra Leone during the past week, the spread of Ebola in the country appears to be slowing according to the World Health Organisation.

Ebola cases in Sierra Leone far outstrip those of any other country, with almost 10,000 cases and 3000 deaths. Ebola cases are still underreported throughout western Africa.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, head of the United Nations Ebola response team, is warning against complacency in Sierra Leone against the continual threat of Ebola:  “It is only at this moment of optimism and relative success that sometimes we are worried of a sense of complacency”.

Sources: Reuters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention