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Healthier You LogoNHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK have teamed up with leading companies from the tech sector as the battle against obesity and Type 2 diabetes goes digital. More than 5,000 people are expected to benefit from a pilot project project which will see five companies and eight areas of the country test drive a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products, which starts this month. Users will be able to access health coaches and online support groups as well as set and monitor goals electronically. Some patients will also receive wearable technology to help them monitor activity levels and receive motivational messages and prompts, which is being made available on the NHS for the first time. This online method of receiving support has the potential to have a similar impact to face-to-face interventions – helping bring down high blood sugar levels and in turn prevent or delay onset of Type 2 diabetes.

robot surgeonBetween 2010 and 2017, the number of prostate cancer centres at NHS hospitals offering robotic surgery has more than tripled – increasing from 1 in 5 (12 of 65) centres in 2010 to over three quarters (42 of 49) this year. This has been due to the centralisation of complex cancer surgery into fewer, high-volume units as well as the rise in the number of men attracted to centres offering robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

Of the 16 centres that closed in that time, none offered robotic surgery. The rise of robotic surgery has occurred despite a lack of evidence of improved outcomes in terms of survival and side effects for the new technology compared to traditional open surgery. Experts writing in The Lancet Oncology journal this month said that, as a result, better regulation is needed to assess technology delivery in the NHS, and that quality indicators should be made available to inform patient choice.

medical apps for patientsPatients in England will also be able to enter symptoms online and receive tailored advice or a call back from a health professional. The NHS.uk website will allow patients to book appointments, access medical records and order prescriptions. The initiatives are part of moves towards a paperless NHS.

It was announced in February this year that £4bn had been set aside for the IT initiative. The new online triage system is part of an expansion of the current NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service. The service is being developed with leading clinicians and will be piloted before the public can use it.

The re-launched NHS website will also allow patients to compare how well their local health services perform in areas of dementia, diabetes and learning disability services. Data on maternity, cancer and mental health data will be added in the autumn. The site will also have a new collection of NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice.

Hundreds more survive Heart FailureImprovements in patient care mean hundreds more people are surviving heart failure, a new independent study has found. A report published on 10th Aug 2017 has found that the mortality rate for people admitted to hospital with heart failure has dropped from 9.6 per cent to 8.9 per cent. The reduction in the mortality rate means that in the region of 500 lives have been saved in the past year compared to 2014/15.

An assessment of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure at NHS Trusts also shows that more people are being provided with crucial medicines for heart disease as well as greater access to treatment by heart specialists. Acute heart failure is a life threatening condition, which as well as immediate danger to life can have significant long-term consequences for people. Tackling heart failure is becoming a more significant challenge for the NHS due to the ageing population.

cyber security Lab for UKThe Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS) has already launched the World Health Information Security Testing Lab (WHISTL) in the US, which examines complex multi-vendor, multi-device critical care environments like hospital intensive care units, operating theatres and emergency rooms.

The facility is the first of more than a dozen planned device security testing labs and cyber-ranges.

The new WHISTL facilities will include a federated network of medical device security testing labs, independently owned and operated by MDISS member organisations.

Each facility will launch and operate under a shared set of operating procedures. WHISTL facilities will help organisations work together to effectively address the public health challenges arising from cybersecurity issues emergent in complex, multi-vendor networks of medical devices.

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