Search for: "NHS" - 583 articles found

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Intensive care support

AI predicts daily ICU trajectory for critical Covid-19 patients

Researchers used AI to identify which daily changing clinical parameters best predict intervention responses in critically ill Covid-19 patients. The investigators used machine learning to predict which patients might get worse and not respond positively to being turned onto their front in intensive care units (ICUs) - a technique known as proning that is commonly used in this setting to improve…

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Post-traumatic stress disorder

Is PTSD on the rise - or just overdiagnosed?

Some clinicians are concerned that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis has risen throughout Western society since the late 1980s. Is this correct? And if so, has the true incidence of PTSD really spiralled out of control, or has it simply become overdiagnosed? Experts debate the issue in The BMJ this week. PTSD is a serious and uncommon condition resulting from severe trauma, but it…

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Labs processing 2,000 to 5,000 tests a day

Workflow automation solutions for mid-volume laboratories

Clinical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter announced the European launch of the DxA 5000 Fit, a workflow-automation solution designed to fit into medium-sized labs that run fewer than 5,000 tests a day. The clinical laboratory has gone through trial by fire in 2020, where total testing was 245% of baseline volumes, with ~55% being SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests. Despite vaccines, many industry…

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After vaccination

Covid-19: Clinicians uncover rare blood clotting syndrome

A team led by a clinical academic at University College London (UCL) has outlined the mechanism behind rare cases of blood clots and low platelets seen in patients who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlights the importance of rapidly spotting this new syndrome, known as vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia…

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Coronavirus transmission

Experts: Covid-19 prevention efforts should focus on airborne transmission

Any future attempts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 should be focused on tackling close airborne transmission of the virus which is considered to be the primary route for its circulation, according to experts. Respiratory experts argue that it is now clear that SARS-CoV-2 is most likely to transmit between people at close range through inhalation rather than through contact with surfaces or…

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Role of end-of-life support

Covid-19: a 'stress-test' for palliative care

A new report shows how palliative and end of life care in the UK was compromised by shortages of PPE, essential medicines, and equipment, because these services were not seen as ‘frontline NHS’ in the pandemic. Better End of Life – a collaboration between Marie Curie, Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, King’s College London Cicely Saunders Institute, and the University of…

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The hidden 'fingerprint' of liver cirrhosis

Routine blood tests could be key to stopping 'silent killer'

New research has shown that results of blood tests routinely performed by GPs everywhere contain a hidden fingerprint that can identify people silently developing potentially fatal liver cirrhosis. The researchers have developed an algorithm to detect this fingerprint that could be freely installed on any clinical computer, making this a low-cost way for GPs to carry out large scale screening…

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Mass spectrometry analysis

Skin swabs can detect Covid-19

Skin swab samples analysed using mass spectrometry could be used to detect Covid-19 in patients, according to research conducted at the University of Surrey in the UK. Current Covid-19 testing is via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which involves taking a swab of the back of the throat and inside the nose, but the team from Surrey - working with Frimley NHS Trust and the Universities of…

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Perinatal imaging

Fetal MRI precisely defines and detects abnormalities in unborn babies

MRI scanning can more precisely define and detect head, neck, thoracic, abdominal and spinal malformations in unborn babies, finds a large multidisciplinary study led by King’s College London with Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London (UCL). In the study, published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the team of researchers and…

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Degenerative disease diagnostics

Parkinson's: Scientists develop ‘game-changing’ skin swab test

It is possible to identify Parkinson’s Disease based on compounds found on the surface of skin, according to new research. The findings offer hope that a pioneering new test could be developed to diagnose the degenerative condition through a simple and painless skin swab. Scientists at The University of Manchester have developed a technique which works by analysing compounds found in sebum -…

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Gastroenterology

Capsule cameras to test for cancer and diseases

Miniature cameras which patients can swallow to get checked for cancer are being trialled across the NHS. The imaging technology, in a capsule no bigger than a pill, can provide a diagnosis within hours. Known as a colon capsule endoscopy, the cameras are the latest NHS innovation to help patients access cancer checks at home. Traditional endoscopies mean patients need to attend hospital and have…

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At ECR 2021

AI experts tackle organ segmentation and health economics

AI is revamping workflows and experts showed how radiologists can integrate it into their department to improve daily practice and healthcare at ECR. The panel also discussed the health economics side of AI to help radiologists define which products make more economic sense for their department. The session tackled automated organ segmentation, an interesting application for AI in radiology.

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Oncology expert debate

Post-Brexit and future cancer research: What EU/UK deals may mean

Despite Brexit uncertainties, four leading UK cancer research experts expressed optimism for continued pan-European collaboration and innovation during the online panel debate ‘Brexit deal: What it really means for cancer research and innovation’ hosted by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). The experts, Dr Sheuli Porkess, Professor Richard Sullivan, Emlyn Samuel, and Jim Elliott,…

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Subsidiary atrial pacemaker

Researchers discover natural 'backup pacemaker' in the heart

Researchers at The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust have discovered a backup natural pacemaker, which is able to generate a pulse and control the heart rate. The British Heart Foundation funded study ‘completely changes our understanding’ of the heart’s anatomy and has important implications on the work of cardiologists and heart surgeons. As part of…

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The iCAIRD project

AI to aid Scottish breast screening

Implementation of artificial intelligence into Scotland’s national breast screening service is moving closer following an initial success with a trial project. While Scotland’s breast screening trial has delivered highs and lows, significant hurdles have been overcome in terms of approvals, governance and patient acceptance. The ongoing process of bringing AI into the mammography programme…

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Superior in identifying cancers in symptomatic younger women

Breast cancer detection: advantage DBT

Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) increases detection of breast cancer in symptomatic women under the age of 60, especially in dense breasts. A large, multi-institutional study conducted in the United Kingdom comparing the sensitivity of full-field digital mammography (FFDM), DBT, and FFDM plus DBT supports findings of two similar published studies, both conducted in China in the same time frame.

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ECR session on technology advances

AI and Big Data offer opportunities for radiographers

Advances offered by Big Data and Artificial Intelligence within the healthcare environment are opening up new opportunities for radiographers. Roles in systems development, and being part of the safeguarding aspect by ensuring machine-based bias does not take over patient management, may be performed by radiographers alongside other contributions as AI plays an increasing role in healthcare.…

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The QuADRANT project

Clinical audits in radiology to promote high quality medical care

Clinical audit within radiology departments can help promote high quality medical care and improve patient experience, as well as provide educational and teaching opportunities. Aiming to see consistent delivery across Europe, clinical audit is currently under the initiative ‘Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Radiotherapy, and Nuclear medicine including Therapies’. The latest project…

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Regenerative medicine

Lab-grown ‘mini-bile ducts’ to repair human livers

Scientists have used a technique to grow bile duct organoids – often referred to as ‘mini-organs’ – in the lab and shown that these can be used to repair damaged human livers. This is the first time that the technique has been used on human organs. The research paves the way for cell therapies to treat liver disease – in other words, growing ‘mini-bile ducts’ in the lab as…

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Myocarditis, infarction, ischaemia

Many Covid-19 patients leave hospital with heart damage

Around 50% of patients who have been hospitalised with severe Covid-19 and who show raised levels of a protein called troponin have damage to their hearts. The injury was detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at least a month after discharge, according to new findings published in the European Heart Journal. Damage includes inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), scarring or…

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Study on N95, KN95 and FFP2 mask suggests

Covid-19 masks: Why proper fit matters more than material

A team of researchers studying the effectiveness of different types of face masks has found that in order to provide the best protection against Covid-19, the fit of a mask is as important, or more important, than the material it is made of. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, carried out a series of different fit tests, and found that when a high-performance mask – such as an…

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AI 'Haven' in intensive care

Machine learning to identify deteriorating hospital patients

Researchers in Oxford have developed a machine learning algorithm that could significantly improve clinicians’ ability to identify hospitalised patients whose condition is deteriorating to the extent that they need intensive care. The HAVEN system (Hospital-wide Alerting Via Electronic Noticeboard) was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Oxford’s Institute of…

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Health worker shortage

Cooperation to strengthen women physician leaders across Ethiopia

Medics.Academy – a UK company delivering global access to medical education – and the Ethiopian Medical Women’s Association (EMeWA) have signed a partnership agreement to help women physicians in Ethiopia. The project will help EMeWA – an organisation established by female physicians in Ethiopia – to fulfil its vision to establish an excellence center for women physicians through one of…

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Covid-19's impact on studies

Clinical trials during the pandemic: lessons for future cancer research

The continuing corona virus epidemic has impacted strongly on cancer care and research, including the delay of treatments and diagnoses as well as on trials of new therapies, and the shift in research to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. However, the session ‘Cancer research and Covid-19’, during the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Virtual Showcase (online 2-3 November) looked at how UK…

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Symptom management

eHealth intervention can help cancer patients

Hundreds of cancer patients have benefitted from using computer algorithms to manage their symptoms and improve their wellbeing in a unique UK trial. The early stage colorectal, breast or gynecological cancer patients took part in the trial of the eRAPID system, developed by the University of Leeds, which allowed them to report online symptoms from home and receive instant advice on whether to…

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High-risk group

Covid-19 doubles death rate in acute heart failure patients

Patients with acute heart failure nearly double their risk of dying if they get Covid-19, according to new research. The small, single centre study highlights the need for patients with heart failure to take extra precautions to avoid catching Covid-19. “Our results support prioritising heart failure patients for Covid-19 vaccination once it is available,” said study lead investigator Dr.…

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"InnerEye" Artificial Intelligence

AI could help cut waiting times for cancer radiotherapy

Doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge aim to drastically cut cancer waiting times by using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate lengthy radiotherapy preparations. The AI technology, known as InnerEye, is the result of an eight-year collaboration between researchers at Cambridge-based Microsoft Research, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the University of Cambridge.

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Digital health

AI test rules out Covid-19 diagnosis within one hour

An Artificial Intelligence test has been shown to be able to rapidly screen patients arriving in Emergency Departments for Covid-19, using clinical information routinely available within the first hour of coming to hospital. Results of the CURIAL study, published in The Lancet Digital Health, show that the AI test correctly predicted the Covid-19 status of 92.3% of patients coming to Emergency…

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Pandemic management

How the Covid-19 crisis defines good leadership

A senior UK health figure has highlighted how contrasting leadership approaches are impacting the response to the global coronavirus crisis. Dr Clare Gerada also fears that response is affecting health professionals and leaders within the sector, with a significant rise numbers seeking help for mental health issues. Delivering the prestigious Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Lecture to the 2020 British…

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The ‘new normal’ after Covid-19

Lung cancer screening: The slow return of mobile units

The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on healthcare services but one area where that has been felt particularly deeply is with lung cancer screening. With sessions cancelled, treatment delays and social-distancing and safety requirements, many patients have been affected. However, as services begin to pick up again and lung cancer screening returns, three experts closely associated…

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Managing occupancy rates

How technology and data modelling can save hospitals from overcrowding

Overcrowding is a challenge that faces numerous hospitals across the UK. The burden of managing occupancy rates can immediately turn into a major issue that puts immense pressure on hospital staff, patients and their families alike. Studies shows that when capacity rates increase above 92.5%, the death rate in hospitals can expand exponentially. It can represent one-in-seven mortalities amongst…

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For at least six months

Prior COVID-19 infection offers protection from re-infection

A new study suggests that individuals who have previously had COVID-19 are highly unlikely to contract the illness again, for at least six months following their first infection. The study, done as part of a major collaboration between the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, was published as a pre-print.

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Immunotherapy, iRecist and complications

Lung cancer imaging (in a post-Covid world)

The evolving area of immunotherapies in lung cancer and the role of iRecist treatment assessment protocols were investigated during a virtual session organised by the British Institute of Radiology (BIR). Consultant radiologist Dr Charlie Sayer, specialist in lung cancer imaging at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, South of England, focused on immunotherapies, the limitations of…

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AI in clinical practice

Hospitals must think big, small and new

AI in healthcare has been a trending, sometimes head-spinning topic for a few years – and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians have been presented with a whole new range of AI products that may or may not meet their needs. When it comes to choosing one’s own set of tools, which criteria should prevail?

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Medicine, key nutrient, or both?

Risky misunderstandings about vitamin D

The professional perception of vitamin D as a medicine, rather than as a key nutrient, is constraining practice and jeopardising the health of elderly care home residents in England, conclude researchers in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health. At a time when the vulnerability of elderly care home residents is under the spotlight because of the impact of COVID-19, an urgent review is…

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Nitrogen dioxide levels

Air pollution linked to higher COVID-19 mortality

Scientists have unearthed a possible link between the severity of COVID-19 and air quality. The preliminary study – looking at whether areas with higher levels of air pollutants in England are associated with a larger number of cases/deaths from COVID-19 – was conducted by a team from the University of Cambridge. Aware of the effects that air pollutants have on human health – and that…

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Lung disease burden

New research doubles estimate for COPD prevalence

Around 550 million people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to two University of Manchester medical students. The figure more than doubles the previous estimate of 251 million people with the illness linked to smoking by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Study. The University of Manchester students, Emily Hammond and Charles McDonald, made the…

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Study establishes link

Growth factor IGF-1 increases risk for several cancers

A study of almost 400,000 British participants has identified a new link between raised levels of the growth factor IGF-1 and increased thyroid cancer risk and has confirmed associations with breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. This could lead to new preventative strategies, including diet and lifestyle interventions.

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Cardiovascular risk

Cholesterol drug combination could benefit heart patients

A new study has suggested that more patients could benefit from combinations of cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce their risk of stroke and heart attacks. While risk is reduced for many patients through taking statins, those at the highest risk of cardiovascular events may benefit from combinations of lipid-lowering therapies, according to the results of a European study of patients across 18…

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Atrial fibrillation ablation

Superfast procedure to treat heart arrhythmia

A new procedure to correct atrial fibrillation (AF) has been performed for the first time in the UK last week at Leicester's Hospitals. AF affects 1-2% of the general population, which amounts to more than 1 million people in the UK, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Treating the condition with medicine is often ineffective, with many patients continuing to suffer from…

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'Lead from the front'

From clinician to hospital medical director

Making the transition from clinician to a senior hospital management role can prove challenging. Professor Erika Denton did it – whilst also retaining some clinical responsibilities. A radiology background, Denton believes, is a major asset in making the move into high-level management. Currently the Medical Director of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in the east of England,…

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Volunteers for bio-detection trial

COVID-19-sniffing dogs put to the test in the UK

A rather unique trial in the UK currently explores the capability of dogs to detect coronavirus infections in humans with their highly sensitive noses. The researchers are asking people in England for help with the trial. Led by the ARCTEC team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, the trial…

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G-quadruplexes

Quadruple DNA structures in breast cancer found

Four stranded DNA structures – known as G-quadruplexes – have been shown to play a role in certain types of breast cancer for the first time, providing a potential new target for personalised medicine, say scientists at the University of Cambridge. In 1953, Cambridge researchers Francis Crick and James Watson co-authored a study published in the journal Nature which showed that DNA in our…

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Corona & tinnitus

COVID-19 also reported to cause hearing problems

A significant number of patients reported a deterioration in their hearing when questioned eight weeks after discharge from a hospital admission for COVID-19, according to University of Manchester audiologists, in a study supported by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). One hundred and twenty one of the adults admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS…

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Cytosponge research

‘Pill on a string’ test could transform oesophageal cancer diagnosis

A ‘pill on a string’ test can identify ten times more people with Barrett’s oesophagus than the usual GP route, a new study shows. The test, which can be carried out by a nurse in a GP surgery, is also better at picking up abnormal cells and potentially early-stage cancer. Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition that can lead to oesophageal cancer in a small number of people. It’s usually…

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Preparing for the unpredictable

The role of radiology in mass casualty incidents

CT has a critical role to play in management of mass casualty incidents with the ability to image patients from head to toe, offering a rapid overview for clinicians. The benefits of CT will be outlined by Dr Elizabeth Dick during an ECR session examining the role of radiology in the management of mass casualty incidents, terror attacks and assaults. “Mass casualty incidents – whether…

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Imaging workflow challenges

The long-term impact of COVID-19 on teleradiology

The coronavirus pandemic – an international tragedy – created unprecedented upheaval and challenges within health systems, economies, and society. In hospitals, new ways of working had to evolve. Social distancing led to virtual consultations and teleradiology has found an added dimension, with its success, practicality, and effectiveness likely to see more widespread future use. We asked…

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Durable implant

New heart valve could transform open heart surgery

A new polymeric heart valve with a life span potentially longer than current artificial valves that would also prevent the need for the millions of patients with diseased heart valves to require life-long blood thinning tablets has been developed by scientists at the universities of Bristol and Cambridge. The team's latest in-vitro results, published in Biomaterials Science, suggest that the…

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UK experts raise concerns

COVID-19 antibody tests: Not a game-changer after all?

A group of senior clinical academics and physicians are concerned about the rapid roll out of COVID-19 antibody testing in England and are publicly questioning how good the tests are - or even what they mean. In a letter to The BMJ, they argue that there is currently no valid clinical reason for large scale testing, test performance has not yet been adequately assessed, and testing risks…

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Teaching partnership

Setting new standards for specialist integrated cardiac care

Royal Philips and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust announced a seven-year managed service agreement to deliver on the Trusts’ vision to set new standards of excellence for cardiac care in the UK and globally. The partnership will combine the latest innovations in technology for integrated cardiovascular solutions to deliver on the quadruple aim: better health outcomes, lower cost of care, and…

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Wearables and apps in cardiology

Digital health: guardian angel or 'Big Brother'?

Cardiologist Professor Martin Cowie raised an important issue on the challenges of the digitisation of cardiovascular healthcare at the ESC Congress 2019 in Paris. In his presentation, he confirmed that, within digital health transformation, the role of physician and the patient-doctor relationship will continue. However, much of the preparation may be conducted remotely.

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Acceptance study

Digital distrust: Skepticism towards COVID-19 contact tracing apps

Early results from a study by researchers at Swansea University and The University of Manchester shows people are torn over whether they will use the COVID-19 contact tracing smartphone app planned for release in the UK. The study finds: Only one-third of people taking part said they will be downloading the app, with the rest either saying they will not be downloading it or are not yet sure;…

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Beyond QR and barcodes

Sold: 50 million digital health passports

A British cyber security company, VST Enterprises has signed a contract with international digital health technology firm Circle Pass Enterprises (CPE), owner of ‘Covi-Pass’, to supply 50 million of its ‘digital health passports’ to 15 countries. VST was founded by tech entrepreneur Louis-James Davis to integrate its state-of-the-art VCode & VPlatform technologies into the Covi-Pass…

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COVID-19 contact tracing

NHS corona app can be a success (if it's linked to testing)

It is possible to implement a privacy-respecting contact tracing app that can achieve widespread adoption in the UK, but only if the NHS, rather than the government, run it, researchers at Cass Business School have found. The researchers found that adoption rates increase further if the app is linked to priority testing for COVID-19 for those who get infection alerts. They also found that the…

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Coronavirus collaterals

COVID-19 could cause 20% rise in cancer deaths

The COVID-19 pandemic could, over the next year, lead to a 20% rise in the number of deaths from people who have been newly diagnosed with cancer, according to research supported by DATA-CAN. The analysis is the first to focus on the impact of the emergency on mortality rates in people with cancer and uses data from the health records of over 3.5 million patients in England.

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Coronavirus impact on A&E

Covid-19: UK emergency departments see dramatic fall in attendance

Accident and Emergency departments across the NHS have seen dramatic falls in attendances amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Senior A&E practitioners are becoming increasingly concerned that people who need to be seen for serious conditions such as suspected heart attacks are staying away – or not seeking help until much later – because they are frightened of contracting coronavirus.

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Health IT solutions for the coronavirus pandemic

#StrongerTogether against COVID-19

To deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, the continuity of the radiology reporting activities is crucial. To guarantee this, care providers are expanding the remote reporting capabilities for their radiology teams. As part of their #StrongerTogether campaign, Agfa HealthCare demonstrates how remote and home reporting solutions can keep imaging workflows going across quarantine lines.

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Public health

The fight against COVID-19 in the United Kingdom

The sunny Sunday of March 22, 2020, may well go down as a watershed date in the context of Coronavirus in the UK. A couple of days earlier, UK schools had closed en masse – open only thereafter for children of key workers – and the British government had advised that pubs, bars, cinemas, gyms and restaurants should close and people should adhere more rigorously to social distancing.

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COVID-19 status

Whole genome sequencing to map coronavirus spread

The Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser have backed the UK’s leading clinicians and scientists to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves by using whole genome sequencing. Through a £20 million investment, the consortium will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives. COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - comprised of the NHS, Public…

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Downloadable helper

World’s first artificial pancreas app licensed for type 1 diabetes

The world’s first licensed, downloadable artificial pancreas app for people with type 1 diabetes now launched, based on over a decade of research by Professor Roman Hovorka at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The CamAPS FX app works with an insulin pump and a glucose monitor to automatically deliver insulin to people living with the condition…

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Professor questions essential artificial intelligence safety

Facing facts: AI in clinical practice

Examining the safety of AI integration into clinical workflow during at the British Institute of Radiology (BIR) annual congress in London, this November, Professor Nicola Strickland focused on issues of data quantity and quality, regulation, validation and testing of algorithms. She also urged radiologists and computer scientists to work more closely together to develop safe, effective and…

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'The Model Hospital' for 2030

The NHS blueprint for imaging delivery

A new strategy to transform imaging in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been unveiled after a major data-gathering project to assess the present state of the service. The process will see the creation of a national strategy for imaging networks designed to deliver improved care and better value services for patients. Key to this has been ‘The Model Hospital’ concept – a digital…

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Avoiding mistakes

Errors and near misses in breast imaging

Errors in breast imaging: the subject is vexing. How to avoid or address errors are also concerning. These subjects lay at the core of a presentation to radiologists during the recent annual congress of the British Institute of Radiology, when consultant radiologist Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson described the how, where, and what of errors or near misses, along with their impact on patients and…

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Customer story

Ultrasound improves renal care at St Helier Hospital

St Helier Hospital in the London Borough of Sutton – part of the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust – has one of the largest renal medicine departments in the UK, and relies on Fujifilm SonoSite point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) systems to improve care and patient safety. Dr Pritpal Virdee, a senior registrar in the department, explained: “We have a very busy renal department…

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Blood test & AI power

Early brain tumour detection – within minutes

A simple blood test coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) analysis could help spot the signs of a brain tumour sooner in patients. Brain tumour diagnosis is difficult: patients often see their family doctor (GP) several times before referral for a scan. However, research presented at the 2019 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Glasgow last November suggests the…

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False appendicitis alarm

Study reveals many unnecessary appendix surgeries in children

Surgery for appendicitis is the most common emergency operation in children. A new study has found that the UK has the highest reported national rate of ‘normal appendicectomy,’ where children undergo surgery for suspected appendicitis but laboratory examination of the removed appendix finds it to be normal. Although most children who are misdiagnosed as having appendicitis improve without…

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Early detection

Support for lung cancer screening gains momentum in Scotland

The need to consider a formal recommendation on early screening for lung cancer was acknowledged by the Cross Party Group for Cancer, held at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in January. Attended by over 40 people representing patients, the medical community, and the pharmaceutical industry as well as political advisers and Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Group agreed to write to the…

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Preventive potential

Why eating yoghurt may stave off breast cancer

One of the causes of breast cancer may be inflammation triggered by harmful bacteria say researchers. Scientists say their idea – as yet unproven – is supported by the available evidence, which is that bacterial induced inflammation is linked to cancer. The paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses is by Lancaster University medical student Auday Marwaha, Professor Jim Morris from the…

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Underrated technique

Pitfalls in pelvic CT imaging

Computed tomography (CT) plays an increasingly important role in assessing pelvic disease, particularly when patients present with acute abdominal pain. In addition, radiomic approaches on CT are being developed to increase the characterisation of ovarian cancer for optimising treatment planning. The subject, and wider role of CT in pelvic conditions, will be the focus of a presentation –…

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One-size-fits-all-approach

New T-cell could make ‘universal’ cancer therapy possible

Researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a new type of killer T-cell that offers hope of a “one-size-fits-all” cancer therapy. T-cell therapies for cancer - where immune cells are removed, modified and returned to the patient’s blood to seek and destroy cancer cells - are the latest paradigm in cancer treatments. The most widely-used therapy, known as CAR-T, is personalised to each…

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DeepMind to help human radiologists

Google-powered AI spots breast cancer

A computer algorithm has been shown to be as effective as human radiologists in spotting breast cancer from x-ray images. The international team behind the study, which includes researchers from Google Health, DeepMind, Imperial College London, the NHS and Northwestern University in the US, designed and trained an artificial intelligence (AI) model on mammography images from almost 29,000 women.…

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DR 100s at RSNA 2019

Agfa launches a new force in mobile DR

Agfa announces that it will launch the DR 100s high-productivity, ergonomic, mobile DR imaging solution, at RSNA 2019. With a customer-driven design that meets the needs of today’s healthcare environments, the DR 100s delivers a new force in mobile imaging. It combines agility, excellent DR image quality, fast image preview and a broad range of applications, including Chest, Abdomen, Skeletal…

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Amazon’s AI-powered personal voice assistant

‘Alexa’ joins the NHS

It’s a world’s first. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is collaborating with Amazon to provide reliable health information from the service’s website through voice-assisted technology. In a speech announcing the service, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, addressed the need for dependable information.

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Fleet management

TomTom Telematics delivers patients on time

TomTom Telematics is helping Kent Central Ambulance Service to meet its NHS targets for patient delivery 97% of the time, following the installation of the WEBFLEET fleet management solution in June 2018. With a fleet of 28 specialised vehicles, Kent Central Ambulance Service provides non-emergency transport for high dependency patients attending hospital for outpatient clinics, operations or…

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

Award for new blood clot prevention technology

A partnership between the Royal Stoke University Hospital, part of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, and a UK industry-leading medical devices company have been rewarded for its use of an innovative bioelectronic technology to prevent life-threatening blood clots in acute stroke patients – winning in the category: Best use of technology (acute care), at the Building Better…

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Nanoswarm

Tiny transporters deliver treatment to stroke patients

Swarms of nanoparticles which are 15,000 times smaller than a pinhead may be able to deliver vital drugs to the brain, offering new hope to patients in the early stages of a stroke. The research, carried out at The University of Manchester, shows that tiny vesicles called liposomes, just 100 nanometres in diameter can translocate through the damaged blood brain barrier following stroke. And that…

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Digital transformation

Disrupting healthcare: Necessary change or destruction?

Dr Clemens Martin Auer knows ‘disruption is an ambivalent concept’. Auer is president of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), in which healthcare policy is discussed annually from a European perspective: ‘For some, disruption is the promise of necessary change whilst for others it means suspicions and fears.’ The term – a synonym for ‘transformation’ but also for…

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Man and machine

Robotic surgery is expanding

Standardisation of robotic surgery procedures is seeing increased usage and improved outcomes for patients and could also play a role in helping with the overall well-being of surgeons in terms of, for example, ergonomic benefits that could reduce repetitive strain injury (RSI) and back conditions. Richard Kerr from the Royal College of Surgeons (England) recently chaired the RCS Commission on…

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Lab medicine

Four perspectives on preanalytics and patient safety

BD participated in the 5th European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM) conference on preanalytical phase in Zagreb, Croatia 22–23 March 2019. At the conference, we met Mr Steve McManus, Prof Ana-Maria Simundic, EFLM conference chair, Prof Mario Plebani and Dr Alexander von Meyer, member of the EFLM conference scientific committee. Prof Simundic and Dr von Meyer…

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Restart a Heart: Learn how to save a life with CPR

Today is World Restart a Heart Day. That's why medical students from Cardiff University are taking part in what is expected to be the largest mass CPR training event ever conducted. Medics and other lifesavers all around the globe will teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to members of the public.

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UK hospital gains single platform data access

Implementing an enterprise-wide imaging strategy

The current introduction of instant access to all patient clinical imaging and medical documentation in one picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for use throughout the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT), in Essex, UK, lies in the hands of Imaging Systems Manager and radiographer Stephen Townrow. In 2017, Townrow went to his hospital’s Board with a business case to consolidate…

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Public health in the UK

'Every Mind Matters': NHS launches mental health campaign

A new awareness campaign launched by the National Health Service (NHS) aims to tackle the growing issue of mental disorders in the UK. 'Every Mind Matters' encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them to discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing. The campaign offers free, NHS-approved mental health resources, via the One You website, which…

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Intentional rounding

Nurses' hourly ward rounds? There might be better ways to deliver care

A new report by researchers at King’s College London has found that the widespread practice of routine ward rounds in England, known as intentional rounding, may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care to patients. The report also found that intentional rounding makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients. The research was commissioned and funded by the…

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Tele-ophthalmology trial

Eye tele-exam via 5G smartphone stream successful

A trial tele-ophthalmology system pioneered by the University of Strathclyde and NHS Forth Valley, has paved the way for what's believed to be one of the world’s first tele-examinations of an eye streamed live using a 5G smart phone. The system uses a live video feed to securely connect doctors, opticians and patient through a mixture of 3-D printed technology developed at Strathclyde, and the…

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UK tests high-speed remote medical diagnosis

Ultrasound scanning via a 5G network

To demonstrate advances in 5G connectivity for healthcare, a UK team has linked a paramedic in a simulated ambulance to a hospital-based clinician. The paramedic wore a robotic or ‘haptic’ glove, which received signals over the live 5G network. Using a joystick, the clinician remotely directed the paramedic to move the ultrasound sensor to where on the patient the clinician wanted to scan.…

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Cardiology

AI identifies genes linked to heart failure

The Queen Mary University of London team applied an artificial intelligence (AI) technique to analyse the heart MRI images of 17,000 healthy UK Biobank volunteers. They found that genetic factors accounted for 22-39 per cent of variation in the size and function of the heart’s left ventricle, the organ’s main pumping chamber. Enlargement and reduced pumping function of the left ventricle can…

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Workforce challenges

Pathologists will hold a pivotal role

Amid ever-growing demand for services, significant challenges face the pathology workforce in the years ahead but – there are also good opportunities. With advances in technology and the advent of artificial intelligence as a decision-making support tool, Professor Jo Martin, President Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) in the UK, believes there remain opportunities for pathology to play a…

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Neural network approach to ECG

AI detects heart failure from a single heartbeat

Researchers have developed a neural network approach that can accurately identify congestive heart failure with 100% accuracy through analysis of just one raw electrocardiogram (ECG) heartbeat, a new study reports. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of the heart muscles. Associated with high prevalence, significant mortality rates and…

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Fat radiomic profile

Using AI to predict heart attacks

Technology developed using artificial intelligence (AI) could identify people at high risk of a fatal heart attack at least five years before it strikes, according to new research funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The findings are being presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Paris and published in the European Heart Journal. Researchers at the University of…

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Catheter ablation support

Software lets surgeon see real-time 3D map of heart

Innovative software that allows a surgeon to view inside a patient’s heart in real time while applying treatment has been used for the first time in the UK in operations at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). University of Leicester Professor and Leicester’s Hospitals Cardiologist Andre Ng used the new technique in operations on two…

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High tissue contrast, spatial detail, complete tissue characterisation

MRI shows cardiac diagnostic value

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has become faster, simpler and more widely available in recent years because it has evolved to deliver effective assessment and diagnosis of a range of heart conditions with expanding guideline indications. ‘MRI is the reference test for anatomical imaging of the heart, for quantifying chamber sizes and function,’ explains Professor Sven Plein,…

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Vascular PSP survey

Giving patients a say in vascular conditions research

A new survey will give patients, carers and members of the public the opportunity to have their say in what they think is important for future research for vascular conditions. The Vascular Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) survey, developed in partnership with the James Lind Alliance aims to identify unanswered questions about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of vascular conditions from…

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100th birthday of Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield

The legacy of the man who pioneered computed tomography

On the centenary of his birth, Mark Nicholls reflects on the life and legacy of Nobel laureate Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, the man who pioneered computed tomography. It was a discovery that came from a moment of inspiration during a country walking holiday; the idea that one could determine what was inside a box by taking X-ray readings at all angles around the object. From that, Sir Godfrey…

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Food supplementation

Can 'fortified' flour fight vitamin D deficiency?

Adding vitamin D to wheat flour would prevent 10 million new cases of vitamin D deficiency in England and Wales over the next 90 years, say researchers at the University of Birmingham. The researchers say overhauling existing public health policy to introduce the mandatory fortification of vitamin D in wheat flour would not only be cost saving but would significantly reduce the burden on the NHS…

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LITMUS vs NAFLD

Towards better diagnosis and treatment of liver disease

A pioneering European research project designed to develop new diagnostic tests to assess patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) has expanded giving access to more patients. Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis (LITMUS) funded by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint undertaking, brings together clinical scientists from international…

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Delicious life-savers?

The benefits of broccoli and garlic for prostate health

A new study has begun to test whether broccoli and garlic can help improve prostate health. The Norfolk Accumulation of Dietary Bioactives and Prostate Cancer (ADaPt) study has been launched by researchers at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). The study, which will take place at the NNUH-run Clinical Research Facility at the Quadram…

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'Women in Focus' at ECR

Getting to the top, staying feminine

Women continue to lead a rather marginal existence in medicine. Although there are now more female than male medical students, professorships and directorships are almost exclusively held by men. This imbalance was addressed with the lecture series ‘Women in Focus’ at the 2019 European Congress of Radiology (ECR).

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Addiction

Ten percent of hospital inpatients are alcohol dependent

A review of evidence by researchers at King’s College London has found high levels of alcohol dependence among hospital inpatients. The researchers estimate one in five patients in the UK hospital system uses alcohol harmfully, and one in ten is alcohol dependent. Currently little is being done to screen routinely for alcohol dependence in hospitals, and services for patients with alcohol…

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Oncology

Response to gene-targeted drugs depends on cancer type

Cancers with the same genetic weaknesses respond differently to targeted drugs depending on the tumour type of the patient, new research reveals. The study is set to prompt changes in thinking around precision medicine—because it shows that the genetics of a patient's cancer may not always be enough to tell whether it will respond to a treatment. The researchers are already starting to design…

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Human papillomavirus

HPV vaccination could dramatically reduce head and neck cancers

Vaccinating schoolboys against the potentially deadly human papillomavirus (HPV) could dramatically reduce head and neck cancers in men, according to research involving the University of Strathclyde. The two-year project studied 235 patients in Scotland with head and neck cancer and found that 78% of people with head and neck cancers were men, while HPV was present in 60% of the cancers. This…

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Prostate cancer data

Mapping the inflammatory landscape

Image analysis of prostate cancer is a challenging area for clinicians. The disease shows a low mutation burden compared to melanoma and stomach cancer, for example, making morpho-molecular correlation more difficult, and there is often very low inflammation. With the role of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes in prostate cancer currently unclear – and with the advent of new approaches to prostate…

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Revolution through AI

Pixel analysis: the new era of digital pathology

As reporting workload for pathology departments continues to rise rapidly, artificial Intelligence solutions are set to play an increasing role in daily practice. In many pathology departments the annual number of cases has risen by around 2-4% but the slides produced has doubled in the last decade. Histopathologist Professor David Snead identified this phenomenon within his own centre in the…

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Detecting migrant health risks

‘Refugees do not bring diseases to western shores’

The migrant population is fast growing and heterogeneous. Experts at a session held during the European Congress of Radiology (ECR 2019) concluded that radiologists can play a key role in detecting and differentiating related diseases. Migration is a growing phenomenon and has an impact on health, according to Jozef Bartovic from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Copenhagen, Denmark.…

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Point-of-care ultrasound

One for all – standardising medical equipment

Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is widely used in hospitals across the country. However, as these systems are often shared between departments, and consultants may work at more than one hospital within a trust, there is a clear advantage to choosing instruments from a single supplier wherever possible. Jim McWilliams, Associate Director for Technical Services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in…

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Virtual reality

VR spots navigation problems in early Alzheimer’s disease

Virtual reality (VR) can identify early Alzheimer’s disease more accurately than ‘gold standard’ cognitive tests currently in use, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The study highlights the potential of new technologies to help diagnose and monitor conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 525,000 people in the UK. In 2014, Professor John…

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Brachytherapy

Single dose of targeted radiotherapy: safe and effective for prostate cancer

A single high dose of radiation that can be delivered directly to the tumour within a few minutes is a safe and effective technique for treating men with low risk prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the ESTRO 38 conference. Radiotherapy traditionally involves a series of lower dose treatments that take place over several days or week. The new treatment is called high dose-rate…

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TPA report

Automation in health care: reduce costs, increase productivity

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will be launching a new report by the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) on introducing more automation in the NHS. As families and businesses face a 50 year high tax burden, the government has a duty to provide good value for money. The NHS is an essential service which needs to see further improvement and less money wasted.…

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Targeted treatment

Cancer: Blood sample to help select the right early phase clinical trials

Scientists could help match cancer patients with no other treatment options to clinical trials with experimental medicines, by analysing the genetic faults in a sample of their blood. The researchers, funded by Cancer Research UK, The Christie Charity, AstraZeneca and the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), demonstrated in their feasibility study that a blood test can be carried out…

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Two years earlier

Breast cancer: blood test could detecting relapse earlier

Research has revealed that a new blood test is able to detect disease relapse up to two years earlier than imaging in patients with early-stage breast cancer. The research, carried out by the University of Leicester and Imperial College London and funded by Cancer Research UK, showed that the blood test was able to detect 89 per cent of all relapses, on average 8.9 months quicker than imaging.

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Obsessive compulsive disorder

Targeted deep brain stimulation reduces OCD symptoms

The debilitating behaviours and all-consuming thoughts which affect people with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), could be significantly improved with targeted deep brain stimulation, according to the findings of a new study. OCD is characterised by unwanted intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive stereotyped behaviours (compulsions- sometimes called rituals) and often means…

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Kept in the dark?

Many NHS partnerships with drug companies are out of public sight

NHS organisations are entering into working partnerships with drug companies, but they are not making the details, and even existence, of many of these deals available to the public, reveals an investigation by The BMJ today. These partnerships are used to support a variety of initiatives, including several projects to review the medication of people with ADHD, and more than 20 projects that…

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Renal denervation

Ultrasound-assisted surgery to treat hypertension

A one-off operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been found to maintain reduced blood pressure in hypertension patients for at least six months, according to the results of a clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust, and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The study, published in the journal…

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ECR 2019

Promising applications of mixed realities in medicine

Extended reality applications like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are mostly known for their use in the gaming or movie industries. However, in recent years, clinicians have begun exploring potential medical applications for those immersive technologies. In a Coffee and Talk session at ECR 2019, researchers from the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK talked about practical…

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Stop progression

Weight loss sets back Type 2 diabetes for at least two years

More than a third of people with Type 2 diabetes who took part in a weight management programme delivered by the NHS through GP surgeries remain free of diabetes two years later. These latest findings of the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), funded by Diabetes UK and led by experts at Newcastle University and the University of Glasgow, were announced today at Diabetes UK’s…

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Gastroenterology

'Hypnotising' Skype therapy helps irritable bowel

Skype hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for people with severe irritable bowel syndrome, a new study has found. The study of 20 patients who had the treatment via the online communications tool was led by Professor Peter Whorwell from The University of Manchester It is published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Professor Whorwell is a gastroenterologist at…

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Practical videos, e-booklets, case studies and more

Online education in vascular ultrasound

Fabrizio d’Abate, St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in London, UK describes new aspects of learning and training in ultrasound operation: "A textbook represents the most traditional tool of a teaching arsenal. However, the IT boom and internet have transformed the way people approach different tasks in their lives, from solving a problem to acquiring knowledge. This…

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Prostate cancer detection

MRI tumour scans overlaid onto ultrasound

New medical software which overlays tumour information from MRI scans onto ultrasound images is helping to improve detection of prostate cancer by guiding surgeons as they conduct biopsies. Developed at University College London (UCL), the software is deployed via a system called SmartTarget and embraces artificial intelligence (AI) to use both systems in tandem to enable surgeons to pick up…

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Machine learning tool

AI can predict survival of ovarian cancer patients

Researchers have created a new machine learning software that can forecast the survival rates and response to treatments of patients with ovarian cancer. The artificial intelligence software, created by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Melbourne, has been able to predict the prognosis of patients with ovarian cancer more accurately than current methods. It can also…

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Emergency medicine

D-dimer POCT for DVT considered ‘game-changer’ in ambulatory care

Radiometer Limited’s AQT90 FLEX analysers have been used in a successful trial to asses D-dimer point-of-care testing (POCT) for suspected lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The editorial piece, published in Emergency Nurse, describes a reduction in patient waiting times of up to 75%. The article, authored by Neal Aplin, Advanced Clinical Practitioner at the Great Western Hospitals NHS…

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Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiency

OTC deficiency: First patient benefits from gene therapy trial

A patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) was the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial for Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a rare disease that causes toxic levels of ammonia to build up in the blood. Simon Smith, 45, was diagnosed with OTC deficiency as a teenager. Although he defied medical expectations by living a full life in…

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Enterprise imaging solution

Carestream reveals updates for Clinical Collaboration Platform at HIMSS 2019

Carestream Health will showcase its latest version of Vue Clinical Collaboration Platform at the HIMSS 2019 tradeshow (Booth #2741) being held February 11-15 in Orlando, Fla. The latest release of its Clinical Collaboration Platform includes a zero-footprint offering with additional modules, as well as report analytics using natural language processing (NLP) to enable data-mining of diagnostic…

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Under pressure

Physician burnout cases are rising

Longer hours, more demanding working practices, complex cases and increased administration are taking their toll on physicians as growing numbers, across a range of specialties, report signs of burnout. All this despite technological advances such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid diagnosis, read and interpret images, improve workflow and enhance decision-making. Recognised…

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Going digital

Faster and better diagnosis of cancer with digital pathology

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds have announced a critical milestone in going digital, by scanning every glass slide they produce. The milestone represents a major step towards achieving faster and accurate diagnosis for cancer patients in the future. The Pathology Department, located in St. James’ Hospital in Leeds, is one of the largest in the UK processing over…

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Unhealthy lifestyle

How working night shifts raises your risk of type 2 diabetes

Women who work intermittent night shifts and do not follow a healthy lifestyle face an especially high risk of type 2 diabetes, suggests a study published by The BMJ. The researchers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes is actually higher than simply adding the individual risks associated with unhealthy lifestyle and shift work together, indicating that combining an unhealthy lifestyle with…

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Cardiology

AI system improves heart disease diagnosis

Cardiologists in the UK are trialling an artificial intelligence (AI) system that will help better diagnose heart disease. Devised by researchers from the University of Oxford, it can predict heart disease and cardiac events from ultrasound stress test images with initial results showing that the AI system is far more accurate than conventional techniques. Paul Leeson, Professor of Cardiovascular…

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Digitising care

Every nurse is an e-nurse

Following a report from software firm Nuance Communications that suggests technology firms should consider shadowing nurses to fully understand their workflows and inform the creation of solutions that work for them, nurses’ views on technology and data are to be consulted in a new Royal College of Nursing initiative alongside NHS Digital’s chief nurse Anne Cooper.

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Neurosurgical operating theatre

Neurosurgery taught via Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) technology is aiding trainee surgeons to practise complex procedures in a simulated setting, rather than learning skills on real patients. VR is also helping to demystify neurosurgery in that it enables medical students and patients to ‘enter’ and experience a neurosurgical operating theatre. Alex Alamri, a trainee neurosurgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, UK,…

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Artificial intelligence

UK Government and Philips consortium co-invest in digital pathology

Royal Philips has been leading two healthcare innovation projects that will receive government investment as part of major cross-sector collaborations with the NHS, academia and industry partners from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered through United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). A joint multi-million pound investment by government and industry partners,…

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Medical errors

Burnout in doctors has shocking impact on care

Burnout in doctors has devastating consequences on the quality of care they deliver, according to a large-scale systematic review and meta-analysis. The study, by experts at the Universities of Manchester, Keele, Leeds, Birmingham and Westminster, looks at 47 papers which together analyse the responses of 43,000 doctors. It finds that doctors with burnout are twice as likely to make mistakes,…

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Portable systems

POC ultrasound – a tool to enhance triage in British Superbikes

FUJIFILM SonoSite has recently become an Official Supplier of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship (BSB), providing point-of-care ultrasound systems to support the first-class care of riders and teams competing in the championship. The company’s robust and highly portable ultrasound systems will provide the BSB medical team with on-site imaging capabilities, complementing clinical…

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Implementation

En route towards digital pathology

The benefits of digital pathology have been well-documented along with the need for significant capital investment. Yet, as some pathology networks are discovering, there can be ongoing challenges to bringing an integrated system into play. Path Links – a single managed clinical pathology network operating across Lincolnshire in the east of England – and Nottingham University Hospitals in the…

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A challenger arrives

AI – just a tool or the future of healthcare?

Neuroscientist Lynda Chin MD, Founder and CEO of Real-world Education Detection and Intervention, has little doubt: ‘Artificial intelligence to the rescue,’ she proclaimed in her keynote address at the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Summit, held in Las Vegas this spring. ‘We need a system and analytics to interpret data!’ she urged, despite being well aware that building a…

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Mobile cMyC analysis

The future POCT heart attack test

Experts report that a new blood test to diagnose heart attacks could be carried out on a hand-held device in the not-too-distant future. The test, devised by a team at Kings College London, uses similar technology to the troponin test, but instead analyses cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyC). In research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester, UK, this June,…

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Weak heart

The many causes of dilated cardiomyopathy

A major study has been launched to investigate the interaction between genes and lifestyle factors and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Led by Professor Stuart Cook, at the National Heart and Lung Institute, this, the largest ever DCM study, will investigate why people develop DCM, with a focus on who is most at risk of sudden death or heart failure (HF). Six hospital trusts across England –…

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Should I stay or should I go?

Brexit will be very bad for the NHS, say UK doctors

UK doctors think Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), dubbed Brexit, will be very bad for the NHS, reveal the results of an anonymised survey of their political beliefs and voting patterns, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. As a group, they are predominantly left-wing and liberal-minded. But high earners tend to lean more to the right of the…

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Dupuytren's disease

New hope for patients with incurable, disabling hand condition

Researchers at the Kennedy Institute and Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, working with clinicians at NHS Lothian, have found that injection of the anti-TNF drug adalimumab into Dupuytren's disease nodules results in the reduction of the cell characteristics responsible for progression of Dupuytren's disease.

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MedTech

Concerning fall in UK radiology equipment spend

The overall UK radiology equipment market spend for the six months to the end of March 2018 is down by around 30% compared to the same period in the previous year. This is according to latest figures from AXREM (the Association of Healthcare Technology Providers for Imaging, Radiotherapy and Care), which represents all the major medical imaging manufacturers active in the UK. Commenting on the…

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Pathology testing

The right tests – for the wrong reasons?

Figures show that the rates of pathology testing are continuing to rise despite a backdrop of financial constraint within the NHS. General practitioner (GP) Dr Jessica Watson has expressed concern that some tests are being carried out for the wrong reasons – often for a non-medical purpose – and that unnecessary tests are causing increased anxiety and uncertainty rather than offering…

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Unhealthy divorce

Brexit is bad for our health

Brexit is bad for our health and can be prevented, argue experts in The BMJ today. Public health doctors, Mike Gill and Martin McKee, together with Mark Malloch Brown of Best for Britain and Fiona Godlee, The BMJ’s Editor in chief, say “whatever our views as individuals, or how we voted in the 2016 referendum, we can no longer escape the fact that Brexit in any form so far discussed is bad…

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Tropical diseases

Investigating schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis, a disease that is common in sub-Saharan Africa, is particularly widespread in Madagascar. The Schistosoma mansoni parasite responsible for the disease is linked to fibrotic changes in the liver which can be detected using point-of-care ultrasound. Junior doctor Hannah Russell described how point-of-care ultrasound was put to the test in remote locations during an expedition to…

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Sexually-transmitted infections

Are Facebook and Twitter to blame for increasing STI rates?

While specific data remains limited on a possible connection between online forums and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), this has become an area of increased focus. The subject was, for example, aired in April by one of the UK’s leading experts in the field, during the 28th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), in Madrid. At the four-day event, Dr…

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Hospital tracking system

Embracing technology to improve patient flow

Digital bed management systems being trialled in NHS hospitals to improve patient flow are showing early signs of success. Innovations such as patient tracking and real-time location of equipment and staff to help make hospital stays more efficient are being tested at 10 sites. Project leader Bernard Quinn is particularly optimistic about technology that monitors bed availability and patient flow.

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Working together

New Birmingham hospital Trust formed by merger

Plans to bring together University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham - and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, have been given the green light from the trusts’ respective Boards of Directors, with the decision cleared by both Councils of Governors. The enlarged…

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Mortality increase

What's behind the rising deaths in England and Wales?

Health chiefs are failing to investigate a clear pattern of rising death rates and worsening health outcomes in England and Wales, argue experts in The BMJ today. Lucinda Hiam at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Danny Dorling at the University of Oxford say weekly mortality figures show 10,375 additional deaths (a rise of 12.4%) in England and Wales in the first seven…

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Economies of scale

Lab medicine: Network consolidation continues

Laboratory networks are consolidating across the globe as they seek to deliver a more efficient and cost effective service. The latest developments on several continents were outlined at the FiLM 2018 – Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine congress held in Birmingham, UK in January. With consolidation viewed as a way to deliver economies of scale, it was a recurring theme at the congress with…

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A valuable tool for reconstruction

Augmented reality lets surgeons ‘see’ inside limbs

Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) have shown how the Microsoft HoloLens headset can be used during reconstructive lower limb surgery. Surgeons at London’s St Mary’s Hospital are using the device, a self-contained computer headset that immerses the wearer in ‘mixed reality’, enabling them to interact with holograms visible through the visor.

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Challenging, but rewarding

Emergency radiology advances – despite shortages and low recognition

Emergency radiology is no longer a babbling field; professionalisation will bring more recognition to this young subspecialty, according to Elizabeth Dick, a London-based consultant, who will coordinate part of the new European Diploma in Emergency Radiology (EDER), the European Society of Radiology’s new tool. We interviewed the radiologist, who spoke of her daily practice and why she loves…

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Replicas from the lab

Growing 'mini tumours' to personalise drug treatment

Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient’s tumour could help doctors tell in advance which treatments will work, a major new study reports. The exciting new technique involves growing ‘mini tumours’ from biopsy samples – and could help end reliance on trial and error in selecting cancer treatments for patients where genetic tests are not predictive of response. Researchers…

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Cooperation

Fraunhofer and Mologic partner on UTI solutions

Mologic Ltd, which develops powerful, personalised diagnostics to improve the lives of patients, and Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (Fraunhofer CAP), a world-leading centre in the field of applied laser research and development, announced they are working together to develop a rapid, point-of-care test to immediately diagnose bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) and any associated…

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Stroke campaign

If you suspect a stroke, act F.A.S.T.!

Newcastle stroke experts are backing a regional campaign launched by Public Health England (PHE). The Act F.A.S.T. stroke campaign launched in the North East urges the public to call 999 if they notice even one of the signs of a stroke in themselves, or in others. Current figures show there are over 64,500 people on GP registers in the North East who have had a stroke, and in 2016 1,765 people…

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Immunoassay and clinical chemistry analyzers

This is why laboratories worldwide adopt the Atellica Solution

LBM Bioesterel in France, Arcispedale S. Maria Nuova in Italy and Friarage Hospital in the United Kingdom are among the first laboratories to install the Atellica Solution immunoassay and clinical chemistry analyzers. The trending motivators for installing the latest innovation from Siemens Healthineers include the unprecedented flexibility to automate redundant and complex procedures to simplify…

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Point-of-care testing

HORIBA Medical’s unique POC CRP analyser reducing unnecessary admissions

HORIBA UK Ltd, Medical announces that Thame and Marlow Community Hubs, within Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, have each recently installed HORIBA Medical’s latest point-of-care testing analyser, the Microsemi CRP. These new analysers are now streamlining existing diagnostic pathways in the community and helping to reduce local A&E admissions for frail patients. The Microsemi CRP is a…

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Lesbian, gay, bi, trans

Should all patients be asked about their sexual orientation?

In late 2017, NHS England released guidelines recommending that health professionals ask all patients about their sexual orientation in order to improve services for non-heterosexual patients, but should they? Experts debate the issue in The BMJ today. After decades of campaigning from lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) charities, sexual orientation is now a protected characteristic that is…

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Less is not always more

Nurse numbers strongly linked to patient confidence in hospital care

Patients’ unfavourable views of hospital care in England are strongly linked to insufficient numbers of nurses on duty, rather than uncaring staff, indicates observational research published in the online journal BMJ Open. Increasing the registered nurse headcount may boost satisfaction with the quality of care, conclude the researchers, who base their findings on national survey data from…

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Improved workflow

UK uptake increases in digital pathology

Professor Jo Martin, the newly-appointed President of the Royal College of Pathologists in the United Kingdom, believes the National Health Service (NHS) is on the brink of embracing digital pathology more widely. A number of UK laboratories, he explained, are adopting digital pathology in histopathology – in line with some labs in Sweden and Holland, where it has become routine – and the…

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Breast cancer detection

New DNA test could prevent thousands of mastectomies

A new genetic test to assess breast cancer risk in women who have a family history of the disease could be introduced into clinical practice in the UK within the next few months. Devised at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and the University of Manchester, researchers believe the test for high-risk groups could also help reduce the number of women needing to have surgery to remove…

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Accountable care organisations

“Grave concern” over plans to allow US-style bodies to operate in the NHS

It is of grave concern that there has been no public consultation on government plans to enable accountable care organisations (ACOs) to operate in England, say experts in The BMJ. ACOs were conceived in the US in an effort to improve care and reduce growing health care costs. They involve government and private insurers awarding large contracts to commercial providers to run and provide…

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In technology's firm embrace

AI could enhance or disrupt healthcare

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enormous potential to revolutionise the delivery of healthcare, being able to remove the drudgery’ of routine tasks, join up fragmented care records, trigger alerts when abnormal results occur, speed-up the process of identifying clusters of patients by digging deep into electronic health records, and increase efficiency of healthcare staff resources.

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Cardiology, quick!

New blood test speeds up heart attack diagnosis

A new blood test to detect heart attacks has been developed by a team of researchers at King’s College, London, which could speed up diagnosis, according to results from pan-European trials. The test is quicker than the standard test, which combines an ECG with a blood test to measure the levels of troponin. Under current guidelines, suspected heart attack cases are tested for high blood…

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Cloud Computing

Virtual fracture clinic boosts patient care

The Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) established by the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust sees patients with broken bones or soft tissue injury supported through video links and self-management methods, rather than make additional journeys to hospital for face-to-face appointments with orthopaedic consultants.

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'Black alert' in hospitals

Overcrowding rises as winter looms

Overcrowding in healthcare systems has become a worldwide phenomenon with regional influences related to the different healthcare structures in different countries. A recent BBC analysis (February 2017) showed that overcrowding afflicted 9 out of 10 NHS hospitals this winter, with 23 declaring ‘black alerts’, as other European hospitals face similar ‘care crises’, especially member states…

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Medics on the move

Healthcare goes out and about

New technology being deployed across the NHS in central England is helping to deliver more secure mobile systems for healthcare professionals. The partnership between Toshiba and the Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is bringing the work of health and social care organisations closer together. One of the initiatives planned for the Birmingham area is the introduction of…

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Breath Biopsy platform

Owlstone Medical CEO Billy Boyle wins Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal

Billy Boyle, Founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for disease, is to be awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious Silver Medal. The award recognizes engineer Billy’s work in spearheading the development of the company’s Breath Biopsy platform and driving a vision to save 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs.

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Cancer-related hair loss

Paxman helps launch global scalp cooling collaboration

Led by six globally-recognised experts in cancer care, the organisation known as CHILL, Cancer-related Hair Loss, International Leadership and Linkage, announced today an initiative to collect and track evidence-based patient information and clinical guidance. Data will be used to establish clinical best practices to ensure maximum effectiveness of scalp cooling to minimise chemotherapy-induced…

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Hygiene guidelines

Hand washing: in hot or cold water?

‘The literature on hand washing, while extensive, often contains conflicting data, and key variables are only superficially studied, or not studied at all. Some hand washing recommendations are made without scientific support, and agreement between recommendations is limited,’ explained Professor Donald W Schaffner at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, who has led a team of researchers to…

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WannaCry

NHS remains vulnerable to cyberattack

The global WannaCry ransomware cyberattack had a particularly acute impact on health services across the UK. Mark Nicholls looks at how the NHS was left vulnerable to the WannaCry cyberattack. While affecting computers across the world – from Russia to the US – NHS hospitals were forced to cancel routine surgery and GP appointments as systems were affected by the cyberattack or were…

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WannaCry

Cyber attack worrying for patients

Tens of thousands of "ransomware" attacks have targeted organizations around the world on March 12. The hackers locked down particular files on a computer and asked the computer's administrator for a payment in order to regain control of them. Groups hit included hospitals in the UK that had to cancel outpatient appointments.

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Digital hygiene

Hospitals must be prepared for ransomware attacks

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, describes how a virus - or “ransomware” - infected and locked computers at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles hospital in February 2016.

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Ophthalmology

New eye test detects earliest signs of glaucoma

A simple eye test could help solve the biggest global cause of irreversible blindness, glaucoma. In clinical trials, the pioneering diagnostic test - developed by researchers at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and the Western Eye Hospital - allowed doctors to see individual nerve cell death in the back of the eye.

National security

Counterterrorism strategy is having little impact in the NHS

British NHS organisations are obliged by law to report people it fears at risk of becoming terrorists under the Prevent strategy - part of the UK government’s counterterrorism plan aimed at stopping people becoming terrorists. But new data collected by The BMJ has uncovered low levels of referrals to Prevent since the duty took hold, suggesting that it is having little impact in the NHS.

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ECCMID 2017

The cost of Clostridium difficile infections

Repeated infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), which causes stomach upsets and diarrhoea, is linked to higher death rates, as well as having a significant impact on health services in terms of cost and hospital beds occupied. This issue will be adressed in two presentations at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID),…

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Emergency

Rapid sepsis recognition saves lives

The UK’s first dedicated emergency department sepsis team has been set up in one of the country’s leading hospitals. Leicester Hospital’s created the team to recognise and manage sepsis. The key aim is to strengthen the response, in a timely manner, to sepsis cases admitted to the emergency department or to identify rapidly any patients who deteriorate within the unit.

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Surgery

MobileDaRt Evolution MX7 series

Digital mobile X-ray systems equipped with a Flat Panel Detector (FPD) are used to examine patients during hospital rounds and for urgent cases in A&E and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Leading medical equipment manufacturer Shimadzu (www.shimadzu-medical.eu) reports that its new MobileDaRt Evolution MX7 digital mobile X-ray systems provide ultra-modern and extensive mobile digital…

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Management

Big Data power will improve healthcare

Big Data sits at the heart of addressing the challenges that will lead to a more sustainable health and social care system. Hospitals and health systems must embrace a Big Data approach if they are to deliver better care for patients according to Dr Mark Davies, Medical Director of healthcare analytics company MedeAnalytics. Report: Mark Nicholls

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New dimension

Space technology influences wearable devices

Wearable monitoring devices are offering patients the chance to play a greater and more active role in their own healthcare. They are alerting physicians and carers when a patient may be unwell, or their condition needs closely monitoring, and they have potential to improve the accuracy of findings within clinical trials. Report: Mark Nicholls

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low radiation

High resolution detectors to create safer X-ray diagnosis

A European health consortium is developing a set of low radiation, low cost, flat panel X-ray detectors that use novel photonics technology to make diagnosis safer for patients, hospital and dental staff, generating some of the highest resolution images ever seen in rapid moving body functions, such as malicious growths or the beating heart of a baby.

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Funding black hole

NHS takes radical steps to head off financial crisis

Radical steps have been taken to address a growing financial crisis facing hospitals across England. Under new rulings, NHS England will allow the worst affected hospitals to relax critical performance indicators, such as waiting time targets, as the NHS financial crisis deepens. Report: Mark Nicholls

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Microsurgery

Lower limb trauma – reconstruction or amputation?

‘Amputation v. reconstruction’ – a vital issue – was debated by two leading surgeons during the Microsurgical Lower Limb Reconstruction session at the Advances and Controversies in Reconstructive Microsurgery (ACRM) 2016 conference, held in the United Kingdom this May. Consultant Plastic Surgeon Umraz Khan, from North Bristol NHS Trust presented a plastic surgeon’s view, while Ben…

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Multimodality imaging

Algorithms define prosthetic valve dysfunction

Cardiologists have highlighted the importance of all imaging modalities – including echocardiography and cardiac CT – to evaluate prosthetic heart valves in a new series of recommendations. AF-patients who were admitted to an NHS hospital over the weekend faced a higher risk of dying over the next five years than others.

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Patient care

Cardiac records highlight an enigma

Two new studies have focused on the impact of weekend care and discharge on heart patients within the NHS in England. In one, patients suffering atrial fibrillation (AF) who were admitted to a National Health Service (NHS) hospital over the weekend faced a higher risk of dying within five years than patients admitted during normal hours.

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Fear defeats progress

To maximise IT benefits team insecurities must be overcome

The development of a healthcare IT infrastructure in European hospitals faces two major hurdles, Ben Giese reports: ‘contradictory return on investment (ROI) reports and the unquantifiable risk of security breaches’.

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Brahms or Beyonce?

Music in the operating theatre - the great debate

A debate has flared up across the United Kingdom over which genre of music should be played in the operating theatre during surgery. Amid claims that loud music can be distracting to some surgical personnel, questions have also been posed as to who should choose the music – the head surgeon or nurse? How loud it should be played, or should music is permissible in the operating theatre (OT) at…

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Management

Consolidating with Randox Quality Control

Quality Control is our passion and with more than 30 years' experience developing QC for the in vitro diagnostics market we believe in producing high quality material that can help streamline procedures, whilst saving money for laboratories of all sizes and budgets. These qualities have been reflected in our RIQAS External Quality Assessment (EQA) programmes which, as outlined in Case Study 1,…

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Home care

Pioneering NHS ‘test beds’

A ‘technology’ project to modernise healthcare for patients with long- term medical conditions is being trialled in the United Kingdom in seven ‘test bed’ initiatives. Test Beds, a term used to describe a technology project resulting from collaborations between the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and international innovators, aims to harness technology to address issues facing…

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Management

NHS tackles bed blocking crisis

Bed blocking is a major problem within NHS hospitals across the UK, with thousands of patients sitting in hospital beds facing a ‘delayed discharge’ until the necessary next stage of their care becomes available. A delay may be non-availability of a temporary or permanent space in a residential home, or rehabilitation unit, or a smaller community hospital, or lack of a supportive care package…

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Siemens Healthioneers

Managed Equipment Services contract from UK worth around €50 million

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (the Trust) has awarded Siemens Healthineers a cooperation contract worth around €50 million. The Trust is an integrated care organization which is responsible for the care of 530,000 local people in the midwest of UK. For a contract life-time of 10 years, Siemens will provide four hospital sites with a comprehensive suite of management services…

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Statement

The BMJ backs Remain in the EU referendum

Today, The BMJ has decided to come out and state that the UK should remain in the European Union. “Some readers may wonder why The BMJ is intervening in a political debate,” say the editors. “We think this issue transcends politics and has such huge ramifications for health and society that it is important to state our case.”

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Study

First digitally enhanced Randomised Controlled Trial

North West EHealth announced that its unique Linked Database System technology was used to deliver the world’s first digitally enhanced Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) in the ground-breaking Salford Lung Study* (SLS). The study relied on bespoke software, developed by NorthWest EHealth and securely hosted within the NHS network, that integrated the electronic medical records of consented…

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Digitisation

Pathology departs from a dark back room

A UK-based neuropathologist has highlighted how the digitisation of pathology will play a pivotal role in taking patient care on to a new and more efficient level. Speaking in a recent Webinar under the heading The Adoption and Benefits of Digital Pathology for Primary Diagnosis, Dr Daniel du Plessis also noted how the digital era would raise the profile of pathology and ‘bring it out of the…

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Head and neck

Imaging scans track down persistent cancer cells

Head and neck cancer patients may no longer have to undergo invasive post-treatment surgery to remove remaining cancer cells, as research shows that innovative scanning-led surveillance can help identify the need for, and guidance of, neck dissection. The study from the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire used advanced imaging to identify…

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Management

UK hospitals conduct few post mortems

Post mortems are now rarely carried out within UK hospitals – according to a study that examined all acute NHS Trusts within England, NHS Boards in Scotland and Wales and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland, and found that the process has disappeared completely in around a quarter (23%) of NHS trusts. In 2013, the average autopsy rate (percentage of adult in-patient deaths that undergo…

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Politics

England’s harsh slash at cancer drugs list

Around 25 treatments for seriously ill patients with specific cancers listed on England’s National Health Service’s Cancer Drug Fund are to be removed. This large change is likely to affect patients with cancers of the breast, bowel, prostate, blood, upper gastrointestine, brain and central nervous system, as well as gynaecological cases. Report: Mark Nicholls

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Mortality

Death risk rises over weekends

New studies reveal the heightened risk of death that patients face if admitted to hospital over a weekend. Researchers have studied what effect the day of hospital admission has on death rates across England in 2013-2014, as well as on hospitals in other countries, such as Australia, the USA and The Netherlands. Report: Mark Nicholls

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Revolution

3-D printed muscles

With 3-D printing revolutionising manufacturing, its healthcare potential is being explored for medical devices, prosthetics, dentistry and drug development. One area under the spotlight is the creation of artificial muscles using a 3-D printing system. Dr Fergal Coulter, who has played an important role in helping develop the technique, outlined the manufacturing process, which he invented for…

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Clinical information systems

Agfa HealthCare selected as approved supplier for NHS SBS

Agfa HealthCare announces that it has been selected as one of the approved suppliers in the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Healthcare Clinical Information Systems Framework. This four-year, £1.25 billion framework - which can be extended by an additional two years - speeds up and simplifies the healthcare IT systems tender process for healthcare providers.

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Diagnostic toolkit

New cardiac genetic testing panels

As new cardiac genetic testing panels become available, cardiologists have been warned not to lose sight of the importance of comprehensive clinical evaluation. While genetic testing is helping to identify more people at risk of inherited conditions, experts stress they are only part of the diagnostic toolkit.

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DTI

Diffusion tensor MRI

During a session focused on innovations in cardiovascular imaging, at the British Cardiovascular Society annual conference (Manchester in June), Professor Dudley Pennell, Director of the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Unit, and Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, outlined the background to diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

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Best Places to Work

A laboratory fit for a future decade

Fostering a collaborative way of working won the UK’s Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust recognition as an elite public sector healthcare employer, recently judged one of the top 100 ‘Best Places to Work’. The trust, led by chief executive Susan Acott, has created an energy-driven, patient-focused culture within the hospital, reflected by staff at all levels. This has been the driving force…

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POCT

Evolutionary POCT

A growing number of clinical tests are being delivered in community hospitals with more patients receiving quicker, accurate diagnoses closer to home, without stays in acute hospital beds. Professor Daniel Lasserson, an Associate Professor in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford University, shares the opinion that using point-of-caretesting (POCT) to facilitate high…

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Infection control

From alcohol to cancer detection

Clinical trials are under way at two NHS hospitals in England to assess breathalyser technology to detect lung cancer. Phase I clinical trials of a diagnostic breathalyser developed by Cambridge-based Owlstone Ltd have shown accurate identification of 12 lung cancer biomarkers in breath specimens. A Phase II trial is now targeting development of a small, handheld device that can be used in GP…

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Funding black holes

Curbing the use of agency nurses

New figures for the UK’s key National Health Service (NHS) Trusts have revealed their total deficit of more than €1.1 billion for the year 2014-15. This rise on the previous year’s deficit of €160m comes against a backdrop of health authorities being required to find ‘efficiency savings’ of almost €1.4bn over the last five years. The NHS was also a major issue in the recent UK…

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Human resources

A pathology workforce fit for the future

The UK pathology sector faces numerous challenges as it strives to create a future medical laboratory workforce. As in many divisions of the National Health Service (NHS), this area has an ageing population yet must evolve against a backdrop of fast-developing technologies, emerging science, financial constraints and the challenge of working in tandem with the private sector. Report: Mark…

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IVD regulations

'We will need a lot more regulators'

The proposed EU draft IVD regulation looks set to have major implications for IVD manufacturers and laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). Replacing a current system that is inflexible, unresponsive and does not effectively protect patients, the new regulation will apply directly to all 28 EU countries and govern the manufacture and marketing of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs).

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Telehealth study

England’s Florence looks like a winner

Given the increasing focus on telehealth and telecare services aimed at improving long-term patients’ living conditions and save costs, numerous pilots in various countries have been conducted for proof of concept purposes. Among these, the United Kingdom’s ‘Whole System Demonstrator’ (WSD) programme is the largest randomised controlled trial. Set up by the English National Health Service…

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Optical imaging

Faster than light

PET scanners are not the only way to image radiotracers. Recent work developed around a phenomenon called Cerenkov luminescence aims to bring a new modality out of preclinical development and into clinical practice.

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Profession

Imager or doctor: that is the question

Delegates were asked an increasingly vital question during ECR 2015: do they rather want to be imagers or doctors? “This will probably be one of the most interesting sessions of this meeting and, after this congress, maybe even your career,” said Jim Reekers, professor of interventional radiology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as he kick started the eponymous Professional…

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Surgery

Recycling blood lost during major surgery

Sucking up blood spilt during a major surgical procedure, or drained from a heart-lung machine after surgery, the Hemosep cell concentration system has a blood bag that uses a chemical sponge technology and mechanical agitator to filter red and white blood cells and platelets through a plastic membrane so that they can then be returned to the patient by intravenous transfusion. Report: Mark…

Infections

Recommendations for improved management of CDI

A first of its kind expert consensus report on Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), contributed to by more than 1,000 healthcare professionals across Europe, has been presented today at the Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) International Congress in Lyon, France. The consensus report aimed to identify a set of expert views on CDI management, in order to determine attitudes to diagnosis,…

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Out-sourcing hospital services

Considerable literature finds greater cost efficiency under private provision of cleaning services in hospitals. Since the 1980’s the private sector has increasingly provided public services based on the argument that this would increase efficiency through competition.

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Nosocomial infections

More than four million people acquire a healthcare associated infection (HAI) in the European Union (EU) annually; of these 37,000 die as a direct consequence of the infection, according to a European Centre for Disease Control 2008 estimate.

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NICE sets new guidelines

Pointing out that it is unacceptable that some 300,000 people become adversely infected while being in the care of the UK’s National Health Service every year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care, has launched a new set of quality standards.

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National Health Service management under scrutiny

UK retail ‘star’ to examine the healthcare sector. Sweet Valentine’s Day, when the government’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described Sir Stuart Rose, former Executive Chairman (2004-2011) of the British fashion, food and furnishings chain stores Marks & Spencer (M&S) as ‘…one of the country’s most inspirational leaders’.

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Seeing is believing

Virtual observation of patients taking prescribed TB medication could prove an effective technique to ensure they effectively complete their treatment course, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress held in Barcelona.

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Responses to six misperceptions

Ageing populations, struggling healthcare systems, medical staff shortages, rising costs – all are well recognised. Thus telemedicine, dubbed the ‘gold rush of the 21st century’ earlier in the year by Jonathan D Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), is gaining momentum.

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Decubitus ulcers

After acknowledging that too many patients were developing hospital-acquired decubitus ulcers (also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores), staff at England’s Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust adopted a zero tolerance approach and prioritised action against bedsore development, which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in cases.

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New UK diagnostic imaging guidelines

United Kingdom – The Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Radiologists and the Society and College of Radiographers have worked together on recommendations that outline improvements for patients by ensuring that timely and appropriate medical imaging services are provided to them and their referring doctors.

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Anaesthesiology

Accidental awareness under general anaesthesia

A UK study has highlighted the issue of patients waking up from a general anaesthetic while undergoing surgery. The research, which questioned more than 7,100 consultant anaesthetists, revealed that there was about one episode of accidental awareness in every 15,000 general anaesthetics cases in the three million UK operations in 2011.

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UK labs face changes and challenges from new healthcare legislation

Aspects of new healthcare legislation are causing concern among medical laboratory experts in the United Kingdom – including the lack of future funding for innovation and development under a new reimbursement model, little appetite to quantify the cost effectiveness of laboratory testing, reduced staffing and a shift in emphasis that will see the need to make profit over-ride initiative and…

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Male and female Doktors

Whether it was a constitution of sorts writ on cavernous rock at the dawn of mankind no one knows. What is clear is that since the inception of the first rudimentary societies the male always expected to rule and the female to follow and obey.

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Work on ELGA continues

Significant improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare as well as better access to it: that’s what we expect from electronic health records (EHRs). However, their developers have recently suffered a number of setbacks.

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Infections

Maintain perioperative normothermia

Even mild perioperative hypothermia can have significant effects on rates of surgical site infections (SSIs), morbid myocardial outcomes, blood loss and transfusion requirements, altering the response to drugs, extending recovery rates, hospital stay and patient discomfort.

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Cloud computing

The storage and retrieval of an ever increasing volume of imaging data is raising hospital IT managers’ interest in sharing computing resources via the Internet, thus saving on storage space, hardware and software costs and concerns over data security. Mark Nicholls spoke with Saskia Groeneveld, Carestream’s Regional Marketing Manager (Healthcare Information Solutions), about the company’s…

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Siemens launches ‘Aptio’ at AACC 2012

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics launched Aptio™ Automation¹, the company’s next generation laboratory automation platform, at the 2012 AACC and ASCLS Annual Meetings and Clinical Lab Expo in Los Angeles, July 15 – 19 (Booth #1701). Aptio Automation promises to transform laboratory operations by combining Siemens’ industry-leading workflow expertise with peak performance, adaptability and…

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The new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Britain’s many new hospitals are more than brave architectural statements – they consistently win awards, inspire others and, above all, improve life for all who use them. Now another stunning creation is about to rise. Despite beginning life as a workhouse for the poor, and having to grow in bleak, outdated buildings, in its near 100- year history Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool…

England creates multiple Major Trauma Centres

Around 20,000 people become major trauma victims every year in England. Studies have shown that Major Trauma Centres (MTCs) with dedicated personnel and specialist equipment save more lives and reduce the risk of serious disability. Thus, to offer such victims better chances of survival, a new network of 22 MTCs has been established across the country to provide centralised care, with experts…

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Electrical sensors detect MRSA

Scientists in Scotland have developed a new test using a strip with electrical sensors that can show whether wounds or lesions have been infected with bacteria, including MRSA, Mark Nicholls reports. The hand-held test provides rapid results and allows almost immediate detection of bacteria, which means patients can be given more effective drugs much quicker and speed up their recovery.

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Growing global medical leasing market starts to reduce proportion of “frozen capital” in world healthcare systems

A new report from Siemens Financial Services (SFS) shows that annual growth rates for global medical equipment leasing and renting have now outstripped growth in the medical device market as a whole. The global medical leasing market is currently expanding at a rate of 6.50%, outpacing the 4.98% growth rate of the global medical device market.

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Teleradiology use in Europe

A new survey brings fresh insight into radiologists’ thoughts on teleradiology in Europe. Conducted by radiologist Dr Erik Ranschaert from the Jeroen Bosch Hospital, Den Bosch, The Netherlands, the findings were presented in March to a Special Focus Session at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna. Mark Nicholls reports.

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Multi-disciplinary efforts for rectal cancer patients

Speaking at the ESR meets Radiation Oncologists session, Dr Gina Brown (Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London) emphasised that radiologists’ input is critical in treatment and surgical decisions and that radiologists, oncologists and surgeons should work more closely in the planning and delivery of treatment and surgery for the overall benefit and long-term well-being of rectal cancer…

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Spain’s deep crisis continues

Cuts in pharmaceuticals spending, doctors’ jobs threats, A&E closures, non-payments to medical suppliers – can a new government save their country and its NHS by massive stringency and tax hikes? Our correspondent Dr Eduardo de la Sota Guimón reports.

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IT helps ensure patient safety in the ICU – and beyond

Integrated information management reduces risks and cuts cost, Finn Snyder reports. Intensive care units (ICUs) are vital in healthcare. ICUs in US hospitals, for example, treat six million of the sickest and oldest patients annually, according to a document recently published for the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, which states that choices about how to manage them carry high stakes:

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Describing Community Nursing: Building blocks for improvement

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is delighted to announce the release of a new publication, Community Nursing, in partnership with the Scottish Government and the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland. The publication presents a dataset that has been developed and tested in the NHS Scotland. The dataset is mapped to and encoded with the International Classification for Nursing…

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Birmingham hospital leads the way on hourly nursing rounds

Patients in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham are already enjoying the benefits of the scheme which aims to tailor nursing care to their individual needs via hourly nurse rounds. The Care Round initiative was introduced to all 28 inpatient wards at the hospital in March 2011 with the aim of supporting nursing on the wards.

UK government topples the dinosaur

Led by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the United Kingdom’s Labour government proudly launched its National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in 2002, a forward-looking plan with huge budget to match. The following year the nation was awed by something akin to a gold rush, as information technology companies scrambled to compete for and gain healthcare IT contracts from the £12 billion project.…

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Papworth Hospital: A constant continuing success

Recent events have again underlined the reason why Papworth Hospital in ambridgeshire, England, maintains a enowned international reputation for cardiac and thoracic procedures. As Britains largest specialist cardiothoracic hospitals, over 2,000 major heart operations were performed there in 2010. In the year ending 1 April 2011, 824 patients had coronary bypass operations, including urgent,…

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Lack of dignity for older patients

The Dignity in Practice study followed a number of national reports showing that the NHS does not always treat older people with care, dignity and respect and that the lack of dignified care provided in acute NHS Trusts is a major source of complaint.

The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study

UK -- Family doctors (GPs) in Norfolk are inviting patients aged over 40, with a Body Mass Index above 30 and a family history of diabetes, to take part in the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS). Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the innovative £2.2million project will run for five years at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and will involve 10,000…

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The 10th United Kingdom Radiology Congress

Delegates at the UKRC 2011 will examine who should deliver 21st century imaging services in the UK, when the relationship between radiologists and radiographers will be the focus of a keynote debate. The session ‘This house believes that radiologists have given up enough of their professional role to radiographers’ will also see delegates vote on this issue.

The British: 64% of are satisfied with the NHS

Public satisfaction with the National Health Service has reached record levels, according to Professor John Appleby, a leading health economist, writing on the British Medical Journal website. He was referring to the British Social Attitudes Survey, in which 64% of people declared they are either very or quite satisfied with the NHS – the highest satisfaction level since the very first survey…

Critical care outside hospital across UK

The critical care expertise available before a severely injured person can be admitted to hospital is “incomplete, unpredictable, and inconsistent,” shows research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. Ambulance services are often reliant on volunteer doctors with variable levels of expertise and the availability of specialist doctors is patchy, particularly over evenings or…

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Partnership delivers improvements in pathology services

Southampton University Hospitals’ Department of Laboratory Medicine has recently transformed the way it delivers its pathology service, becoming one of the largest automation installations in the National Health Service to operate under a managed service contract. This has contributed significantly to the development of a strengthened and expanded pathology network across Southern England.

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Quality is the route to improving healthcare

Changing for the better does not depend on the number of hospitals, physicians or beds you have; it’s about eliminating inefficiencies in the pathways of patient care. The organising principle for healthcare needs to be quality. ‘It is the one industry where quality is cheaper,’ emphasises Ari Darzi, renowned pioneer in minimally invasive and robotic surgery, holder of the Hamlyn Chair of…

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IT warning!

A senior IT executive has warned hospitals of the need to create an effective healthcare disaster recovery strategy to protect the huge increases in digital information they are now generating. With a growth in electronic patient records and digital imagery, it is now estimated that 30% of the world’s digital storage is found in healthcare.

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MPR 3-D echocardiography

A cardiologist at a UK hospital has become the first in the world to develop a technique to ‘slice’ 3-D images of the heart into intricate sections using computer software. The method, devised by consultant congenital cardiologist Dr Joseph Vettukattil at Southampton General Hospital, is known as multiplane review (MPR) 3-D echocardiography. This allows cardiologists to identify heart defects…

Implementing shared decision making in the NHS

The British government’s plans to introduce wider choice and shared decision making within the NHS may be challenging to implement, says an expert on bmj.com. In its new plans for the NHS, the government wants to extend the offer of choice beyond what is currently available to include choice of specialist team, choice of general practice, and choice of treatment. But do patients want a choice…

Concern over insulin drug withdrawal

Drug company Novo Nordisk’s decision to pull its Mixtard 30 insulin drug from the UK could add almost €11 million to the NHS drugs bill in England alone, according to an editorial in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB). This decision could also leave thousands of patients dependent on others to help them take their insulin, said DTB, as it launched its Don’t Drop Mixtard 30 campaign in…

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Obesity surgery rose ten-fold in ten years

The use of bariatric or weight loss surgery in England has increased ten-fold in National Heatlh Service (NHS) hospitals since 2000, according to a study published in August on bmj.com. The researchers suggest that one reason is the increased demand by obese patients now more aware of this treatment option.

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Predicting future admissions

The aim of the predictive modelling systems being trialled in the UK are to identify which people in a given population are the most likely to be admitted to hospital in the next 12 months and then focus preventive measures on them to try to avoid hospital admission. Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), which commission hospital services in the UK, are favouring the model as they try to cut costs during a…

War on NHS reform

A Government White Paper on healthcare reform has caused Unison, Britain’s biggest public sector trade union (over 1.3 million members), to launch legal action against the Government ‘as a matter of urgency’. The day after the paper was presented in July, NHS CEOs were instructed by NHS CEO Sir David Nicholson to implement the proposals ‘immediately’ - without being given time to…

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The UK’s one million undiagnosed diabetics

At the end of June a shocking new estimate was released in the UK regarding the number of people unwittingly going about their lives without knowing they are type 2 diabetics – there are just over a million of them. How will the country cope with this discovery and its present diabetic population?

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Negative pressure wound healing technology

Despite some uncertainty about how it works, there is a growing consensus that Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) – also known as Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC) – is revolutionising wound care. Speaking at the 1st International Surgical Wound Forum, held recently in Amsterdam, surgeons from Europe and the USA predicted the growing use of this innovative technology across the spectrum of…

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Health informatics in practice

The Health Informatics Congress held in the UK this April, revealed how IT is helping health Trusts across the UK to take innovative steps in the way they respond to patients’ needs. The Clinical Showcase session examined how Trusts are coping with new patient administration and reporting systems and, in particular, how Cerner Millennium and Lorenzo systems are being implemented.

Multiple Sclerosis drugs scheme ‘a costly failure’

A multiple sclerosis risk sharing scheme, set up by the Department of Health (DoH) in 2002 to ensure that disease-modifying drugs were available on the National Health Service (NHS), has been deemed ‘a costly failure’, according to researchers reporting on www.bmj.com in June. The scheme, they advise, should not be continued.

Infection outbreaks to be published weekly

A change in political control naturally creates change in the way things are run, and the jaw-jutting ‘Get tough’ nature of the UK’s new coalition Government is palpable. For hospitals, one early change relates to data reporting on MRSA bloodstream infections and C. Difficile. Up to now, these were published monthly by the National Health Service (NHS) Trust; soon they will be published…

Update: PRISCA - prenatal risk calculation software

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics announced the release of PRISCA version 5.0 Prenatal Risk Calculation Software available in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The upgraded version offers the industry’s only Shared Database that allows laboratories to compare data and integrate patient demographic factors into the analysis. Both of these features help increase the accuracy…

Success for tele-stroke service

A telemedicine project is being used in rural areas of eastern England to enable stroke patients to receive clot-busting drugs within a critical three-hour time window. Adapting video-conferencing facilities, a telestroke service has enabled patients to receive a diagnosis from a stroke specialist, who can authorise thrombolytic drugs to be administered to those deemed eligible.

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WoHIT 2010

The World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition (WoHIT) -- the first joint eHealth conference of the European Commission and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS Europe) --- was held in Barcelona this March, creating Europe’s largest gathering of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) stakeholder groups as well as end-users, hospital CEOs, practitioners and…

What´s hot in cardiology?

Hot topics to be covered during the EuroPCR Forum sessions are the challenging implementation of the best standard of care for STEMI patients throughout Europe (with the timely use of stents), the introduction of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in clinical practice and the challenges related to bifurcation treatment options.

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EuroPCR 2010

The cardiovascular community gathers in Paris May 25th-28th for EuroPCR. EuroPCR is the leading course in interventional cardiology. It is also the official congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI). More than 12,000 participants will learn about the latest developments in the field and engage in discussions and constructive debate about the best…

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UK to share healthcare expertise internationally

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) has launched NHS Global, a new branch of the organisation that aims to generate additional funding from other countries and organisations, and to explore new international opportunities to export its knowledge, skills, products, ground-breaking treatments, cutting edge research and other services.

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Boldly tackling catering and hygiene issues

Although food for in-patients can be integral to healing, the standard of catering can be disappointingly low in some hospitals. In addition, sometimes even the help needed by those patients unable to eat or drink unaided can be overlooked. In addition, the problems of poor hospital hygiene can, at worst, result in deaths as well as legal issues for management. These two difficult areas are now…

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IT and Workflow

How can speech recognition become a workflow improver instead of a road to frustration? Kaye Bonython, Programme Manager, Imaging Informatics & OSL, HCA’s Portland Hospital for Women and Children, really knows: She has driven a series of PACS-related enhancements in HCA organisation, including group-wide speech recognition reporting – that was in 2006. Now, 99.98 per cent of reports at HCA…

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IT and Networking

The key to implementing PACS installations networked to multiple hospitals is fully to establish in advance exactly what clinical scenario needs to be satisfied. In her lecture, Dr Nicola H Strickland BM BCh, at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK, spoke about the several possibilities, as well as the requirement and challenges which have to be considered in each scenario.

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NHS needs to invest in increasing specialists´nurses

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has joined forces with almost 40 of the UK's leading health organisations to warn that cutting specialist nurse services for people with long term conditions would be a "false economy", as they began a campaign for guaranteed access to specialist nursing care for all patients with long term conditions.

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Radiology and the Law

The threat of litigation is becoming an increasing area of concern in radiology circles. The changing role of the radiologist with a growing workload and more information now available in imaging examinations, have combined with an expectation of greater accuracy from patients to raise the threat of radiologists being sued. This threat has reached such a level that for the first time, radiology…

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HMS - PACS installations in a networked environment

Dr Nicola H Strickland BM BCh, MA Hons (Oxon) FRCP, FRCR, Consultant Radiologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Department of Imaging, Hammersmith Hospital, London, trained in natural science and medicine at the University of Oxford, and in radiology at Hammersmith Hospital, London. Now a staff member at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, she has been…

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The e-Health Insider Conference

Considering the huge tasks and issues involved, the connection of health services, digitised EPRs, and text messaging via mobile phones, all are progressing -- some slowly, others at a more rapid pace – as many speakers at the e-Health Insider Conference underlined.

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Too much of the hard stuff: what alcohol costs the NHS

Treating alcohol-related conditions cost the NHS approximately £2.7 billion in 2006/07, almost double the 2001 cost. This new NHS Confederation briefing, produced with the Royal College of Physicians, outlines the extent of the problem and gives examples of where the NHS is managing problem drinkers effectively and efficiently.

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Mitral regurgitation

A pioneering new treatment to repair leaking heart valves is being performed at a UK hospital as part of a clinical research trial. The minimally-invasive procedure to treat mitral regurgitation involves surgeons passing a device through a vein in the neck and into a patient's heart.

UK uproar over US Republican views on NHS

Heat from the burning issue of healthcare reforms in the USA has crossed the Atlantic and is scorching the British public. Could their massive support for their NHS, which has filled Twitter by the minute, help to douse US concepts? Brenda Marsh reports from London

J&J acquires Cougar

Positive CB7630 (Abiraterone Acetate) Phase II Data was presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago this May/June, Cougar Biotechnology Inc, a development stage biopharmaceutical firm with a specific focus on oncology. In mid-July, Johnson & Johnson announced its acquisition of Cougar, which is now working with Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development, a division of the J&J firm Centocor…

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Nurses call for drastic action on binge drinking

Responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report, Reducing Alcohol Harm: health services in England for alcohol misuse, Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), renews the call for tighter alcohol regulation. "Nurses have said time and time again that the Government must take drastic action to stop this dire situation spiralling out of control,"…

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Revolutionary approach to heart failure

British girl Hannah Clark who was given an extra heart as a toddler has become the world's first heart transplant patient to make a full recovery after having her donor organ removed and function restored to her original heart. The case highlights that in some cases of cardiomyopathy, it is possible for the patient's own heart to make a full recovery if it is given adequate support to do so.

Futures: HIV self-monitoring

HIV/AIDS has reached pandemic proportions. 35 million people are infected. Given the situation of hard pressed general practitioners (GPs) today, as well as geographical and other difficulties (as in Africa, for example), a new device that will enable HIV patients to monitor their own health and the effectiveness of treatments, without visiting their doctors so often, is indeed promising.

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Leading UK hospital orders 50 NCR MediKiosks

The technology firm NCR Corporation, which specialises in automated teller machines, self-checkouts and other self- and assisted-service solutions, announced in April that King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London has chosen to install the firm's new patient automated arrival system NCR MediKiosk. This autumn, 50 MediKiosks will be deployed in the dermatology, haematology,…

Swine flu and hygiene standards

Flu preparations - Under the UK´s National Health Service (NHS) code of practice for nosocomial infections, the hospital Trusts and others are required to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that healthcare workers are free of, and protected from, exposure to communicable infections.

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20 years of hospital-based proton therapy

Although the potential of proton therapy was recognised over half a century ago, and since its development is now known to deliver a radiation beam accurately into a tumour without damaging surrounding tissue, high equipment costs limit its general introduction. Mark Nicholls reports on a British hospital with two decades of experience in its use - and value

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Airport style check-in for patients

United Kingdom - Next year, patients arriving at a new 1,200-bed hospital opened by the new University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) will be able to register their details in self-service kiosks that are being integrated with the NHS NPfIT (National Programme for IT) Patient Administration System (PAS) by operational software provider Blue Prism. These will be the first…

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The 1st European Symposium on Quality Management and Accreditation in Laboratory Medicine

Organised jointly by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC), the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFCC) and the French Society of Clinical Biology (SFBC), the two-day symposium served as a platform to address future strategies to promote accreditation for clinical chemists and all professions in laboratory medicine.

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Dutch Deal for Sectra

VUmc University Hospital of Amsterdam, which performs approximately 150,000 radiology examinations per year, is yet another renowned hospital to choose Sectra's radiology IT solution for handling of patient information and radiology images (RIS/PACS). In signing a long-term agreement with VUmc, the IT and medical-technology company Sectra passes the 1,000th customer milestone.

Faster, More Affordable Test Being Developed for Improved MRSA Screening

A rapid, portable, point-of-care test for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), developed by TwistDx based on a new way of detecting DNA, was one of nine products chosen from approximately 250 applications submitted to the Smart Solutions for HCAI programme, an NHS project that aims to identify innovative technologies with the potential to fight hospital bugs.

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Decreasing MRSA infections in UK

MRSA bloodstream infections in England are continuing to fall, the latest quarterly statistics from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed: There were 725 MRSA bloodstream infections in England between July and September. This represents a 13% decrease on the previous quarter (April to June) when there were 837 cases and a 33% reduction in the corresponding quarter of 2007.

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Global economic crisis hits biotech and pharma firms

The current global financial crisis is like to hit Bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies due to a lack of funding for research and the discovery and production of many new drugs, according to Professor David Wield, Director of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Edinburgh-based Innogen Centre, and chair of the recent international ESRC conference Genomics and Society: Reinventing…

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BioCote reduces bacteria by 95% in hospitals

The antimicrobial technology firm BioCote Ltd, which is showing its products at the British Pavillion, is also promoting the results from the first study to investigate how silver antimicrobial products can reduce levels of bacteria in hospitals, clinics and care homes.

Celebrate the NHS with 293 British firms

In the 60 years since Britain's National Health Service (NHS) was born, investment and innovation in this service has transformed healthcare delivery, placing the NHS in the top league for groundbreaking science - from the first test tube baby to the regular NHS organ transplants today.

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Patient data at risk

A transatlantic survey of more than a thousand healthcare professionals has shown that over a third are unwittingly putting personal information at risk by storing patient records, medical images, contact details, corporate data and other sensitive information on mobile devices such as laptops, BlackBerrys and USB sticks - and not adequately securing them.

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Laser eye procedure beats corneal transplants

Specialists at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, in London, have started using pioneering laser surgery to treat patients with pathological eye conditions, such as superficial corneal scarring.

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2.2 billion euros saved should be spent on nurses

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) wants the Department of Health to spend a forecasted surplus of around 2.2 billion euros on the 2008/09 National Health Service (NHS) budget on nurse recruitment and training and to support the transition from acute to community-based care under health minister Lord Darzi's reform of the NHS.

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First OCT tissue images

A UK collaboration, led by an optical imaging company has produced its first optical coherence tomography (OCT) tissue images at a wavelength of 1 µm. Based on interferometry, OCT works by analysing near-infrared light reflected from a sample and using differences in the reflected intensities to create high-resolution images. Employing 1 µm light - as opposed to the longer wavelength…

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Cross-enterprise electronic healthcare records (eEPA) in Europe

The creation of standardised cross-enterprise healthcare records in Germany will be increasingly promoted in numerous national initiatives and projects spanning several manufacturers, e.g. by the eFA initiative for the electronic case file headed by the Fraunhofer Institut ISST. By Jens-Uwe Thieme, Business Line Manager HIS & ERP Systems, iSoft Health GmbH

UK: Rosie's energy-saving programme saves £-thousands

In May 2006 the Rosie Hospital, in Cambridge, UK, launched a competition challenging staff to suggest ways to save energy or time. Many came up with energy saving ideas. This resulted in the creation of the Rosie Energy Awareness programme. Monitoring energy usage of various items of medical equipment within hospital, for example ultrasound machines, the energy statistics provided staff with a…

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The wait is over

The UK's National Health Service is notorious for its waiting time for surgery. The Scottish Government recently decided to tackle this issue and proposed a Patient Rights Bill which includes a legal right to surgery within twelve weeks .

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Scrub the scrubs

For several year, experts have been deploring the lack of physicians' and healthcare workers' attention to hand hygiene and equipment sterilisation. Now, hospital clothes are also in the line of fire. How dangerous are the scrubs really?

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New e-learning tool for NHS employees

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) from UK installed a new educational programm on the internet called eHealth. The courses are free of charge for employees from the National Health Service (NHS) and shall improve the health community's ability to respond effectively to major incidents and emergencies.

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Better diabetes care for the UK

Good news for diabetes patients in the UK: According to a report published recently by the Department of Health, diabetes care in the NHS is improving and focusing more on prevention. The result: More patients have been identified, and in more people at risk development of the condition could be prevented.

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Tablets for the people?

Last week the English government closed its consultation on the effectiveness of vascular checks for high-risk people aged 40-74. Would this help? Experts from New Zealand and the WHO say "yes". Others argue that public health approaches targeting the whole population are both: cheaper and more effective than tablets.

£50,000 fine proposed for breach of hygiene code

Although outbreaks of nosocomial infections, e.g. Clostridium difficile and MRSA, have dropped by almost a third since last year, and many hygiene measures have been initiated and improved, there are now proposals for an even more stringent measure to control hygiene: the possibility that National Health Service (NHS) Trust hospitals that break hygiene regulations could be fined up to…

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Stabbings injure public healthcare

A study by the Trauma Audit Research Network (TARN) at the University of Manchester, UK, calculated the treatment costs of injuries caused by gun and knife crime paid by the National Health Service (NHS). The result is alarming: three million GBP a year.

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Emergency admission: Who is affected?

Answer: Older men, living in high social deprivation who are treated for pain or infectious diseases are very endangered. That is the simplified result Scottish researchers investigated while trying to point out criterias that might predict the likelihood of emergency admission in adults older than 40 years

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Chip predicts progression of cancer therapy

So called circulating tumor cells (CTC) seem to be an indicator of the progression and therapy outcome for cancer patients. US- and UK-researchers have shown concurrently that blood tests of CTC's are as reliable as painful biobsies to predict how well patients respond to therapy.

Smile please, nurse!

Following a 6-month inquiry in 2007 on how to improve the National Health Service (NHS) (and patients' organisations urging action over an apparent decline in nursing care since the domination of the hospital matron was curtailed) one of the proposals put in a Downing Street Cabinet meeting was that doctors and nurses should smile more.

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Britain: The big bug buster

The UK's MRSA rates have been declining since 2006 — and this year could be 50% lower than in 2004. This increasing control over dangerous pathogens has not been achieved without considerable hospital staff efforts, relentless public and government pressures on them, and in-house malcontent about the out-sourcing of cleaning work. Given the cost of nosocomial infections to patients, the NHS…

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Emergency rise for child diabetes

Since 2002 the number of children in England needing hospital care for complications of diabetes has risen about approximately 25 percent. The Patient group Diabetes UK blames cuts in the NHS service for this trend, BBC News reported yesterday.

Lean principles

'Lean Laboratory' and 'Lean Automation' are vital ingredients for the efficient and productive running of today's modern Pathology laboratories. Automation serves as an essential endorsement to Lean, says Paul M Button, Senior Consultant at ValuMetrix, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics*

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FUNDRAISING

When the Oxford Radclife Hospitals NHS Trust invested £109 million in its new Oxford Children's Hospital, funding for certain special embellishments could not be contemplated. Thus a £15 million Campaign was launched to enable the hospital to be built and equipped far beyond the NHS standard. £13.8 million of that target has so far been received. Who raised that astonishing sum? Its…

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Labs are vital

Labs are Vital is a global initiative managed in the United Kingdom by a steering group that includes the Royal College of Pathologists, Association of Clinical Pathologists, Association for Clinical Biochemistry, Institute of Biomedical Science, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and Abbott Diagnostics.

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Emergency endoscopy services need to be better organized

According to a survey published in the journal Clinical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians, there seems to be a serious under provision of out-of-hours emergency endoscopy services for patients with gastrointestinal bleeding in the UK. The electronic survery was carried out by the British Society of Gastroenterology, which sent two questionnaires to the endoscopy leads of 188 acute NHS…

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Successful OCT imaging during cancer surgery

UK - Optical imaging company Michelson Diagnostics Ltd (MDL) has announced successful initial results from clinical testing of its novel optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technology. The tests, performed on cancerous and precancerous human oesophagus and lymph node tissue, were designed to establish the potential value of MDL's optical imaging technology used during cancer surgery.

The optical biopsy: Coming into view?

A British collaboration has secured £325,000 (?460,000) of government backing to develop an in vivo optical imaging probe for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in oncology. The long-term objective is to use optical coherence tomography (OCT), an interferometric imaging modality, to perform real-time diagnosis and to guide the removal of cancerous or precancerous tissue during the same…

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Microsoft's role in healthcare

Ten years ago, Tim Smokoff began his career with Microsoft. Since then, the healthcare arena has become a long term investment for the company and today he is Managing Director of the Microsoft Healthcare Group.

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GS1 Healthcare Conference - New ways to more patient safety and cost reduction

GS1 is the leading global standards organisation in the healthcare industry. In 56 countries worldwide, GS1 standards have been chosen to identify pharmaceutical products uniquely. Major regulatory bodies have endorsed them, including those in the US, Japan and the UK . It standards improve patient safety and reduce costs in the healthcare supply chain. Automatic product identification on all…

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Osteoporosis screening at the dentist?

Researchers from the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester developed a technique to identify osteoporosis from ordinary dental x-rays. The software-based method has the potential to improve the early diagnoses of osteoporosis on a wide-scale screening level.

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Paediatric surgery: a major challenge

UK — A report on the care of young surgical patients has been launched by The Children's Surgical Forum, a body of representatives from the medical royal colleges, surgical specialist associations, Department of Health, Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Surgeons Patient Liaison Group.

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The World of Health IT

Austria - Following the first World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition last year, the organisers have decided that the 2007 meeting (22-25 October) will 'move on from exploring fact-based IT solutions to examining health IT in the wider context of health delivery'.

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NHS Wales Ultrasound Framework Agreement Signed for 2 Years

As part of a Welsh Assembly Government sponsored exercise for the replacement of radiology equipment within NHS Wales, Toshiba Medical Systems Limited was awarded a framework agreement for a 2-year period for the supply of ultrasound equipment until April 2005. Following an evaluation exercise undertaken by representative clinical staff within NHS Wales, Toshiba were chosen as the preferred…

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A world-class radiotherapy service

An independent report that suggests better ways to use the UK's current radiotherapy resources, as well as predicting the needs of a radiotherapy service in the future, has been released by the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group (NRAG), led by national cancer director Professor Mike Richards, and Dr Michael Williams, vice president of the Royal College of Radiologists.

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How digitisation impacts on people

UK - Looking at the growing need to understand how digitisation of health information will impact upon patients, staff and managers across the health service, Professor Ann Blandford of the University College London, and Professor Peter Lunt, surveyed 200 patients as well as their representatives, clinicians and other healthcare professionals (librarians and IT staff) working in eight NHS trusts.…

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UK, Vietnam and Nigeria teams take top infection control awards

With entries from infection control teams from all over the world, with each hospital facing different challenges and with widely differing resources at their disposal, judges working on the 2006/2007 Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards focused on teams that had demonstrated that they really made a difference to standards of infection control within their own hospitals and have set…

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Acupuncture What others say…

During the last ten years or so, there has been a convergence of modern international science with traditional Chinese medicine, with research carried out in physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology.

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KIMES 2007

During four days in March, 54,000 people visited the four huge exhibition halls that housed the 23rd Korean International Medical Equipment Show - KIMES 2007.

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A 'World Health Insurance'

In a recently published article, a team from Médecines Sans Frontières have suggested a 'World Health Insurance' to help provide healthcare for people in poorer nations (see box). Over 50% of the 42 countries carrying that healthcare burden would be European.

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iSOFT Alive and kickin'

Once upon a time iSOFT was the software 'wunderkind', with sales hitting the billion-euro mark. Then disaster struck. Money and reputation vanished. But that was once upon a time… today iSOFT is back - with fresh strategies aimed at a happy ending. Daniela Zimmermann, of European Hospital, met with Peter Herrmann (above), Managing Director of iSOFT Deutschland, to discuss old mistakes and new…

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Better records reveal more bugs

UK - According to new figures obtained from death certificates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) deaths involving Clostridium difficile rose by 69% to 3,800 in the 2004-05 period, whilst MRSA increased by 39% to 1,629. (In two hospitals in one city, C. difficile was linked to the deaths of 12 patients in just four weeks and, in another city, in one eight-month period, at least 49 people…

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An end to out-sourcing?

As MRSA affects about 300,000 patients and costs UK £1 billion annually, the country's public services union demands the return of in-house cleaners. Report: Peter Howieson

What about the kitchen?

A recently published report reveals that hygiene standards in some hospital kitchens in the UK are far beyond common standards.

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High flyers and high earners

Thousands of foreign medical professionals underpin the UK's National Health Service (NHS). In 2004, of the country's newly registered medics, two thirds of the doctors, and over 40% of the nurses, had come from other countries. In total, about 72,000 of the UK's 212,000 registered doctors are not British. That figure includes, for example, around 12,500 doctors from Africa and, from the EU,…

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Brunel University offers unique Public Health Doctorate

UK - Brunel University is to provide a new three-year course offering a Doctorate in Public Health. The doctorate course, which will commence in October this year, is unique because it is cross-disciplinary, involving internationally recognised academics in medical anthropology, biostatistics, health economics, epidemiology, environmental sciences, health promotion, health services research,…

Security alert

Security in hospitals is not easy. Thousands of patients, visitors, members of staff, as well as delivery and removal people, come and go, and with so many strangers inevitably on the scene, a perfect cover for opportunistic thieves is created, so the theft of small items is not uncommon.

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Nurse-surgeons

Waiting lists, EU limits on working hours, doctor and nursing staff shortages, how could healthcare providers overcome all those hurdles let alone glimpse the winning post ahead?

Breast cancer

Five years of therapy with the drug tamoxifen has become the norm for postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer. However, this has several adverse side effects, and studies have continued to compare the effects of other drug therapies with tamoxifen.

Fraud and corruption conference

18-19 October 2004 -The first conference to focus on tackling fraud and corruption in EU healthcare is being organised by the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS), and partner organisations from five other EU countries, having secured funding from AGIS, an EU Commission programme to help EU member states co-operate in criminal matters.

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The UK's National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses

With increasing numbers of nurses specialising the care of lung cancer patients, The National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses (NLCFN) was established in 1997 to offer them a network for information exchange and to support nurses working in 'isolation' due to their changing and different roles.

Ploughing vigorously forward

The UK - In the 1990s, the nationally co-ordinated NHS Breast Screening Programme was already saving lives - a 21% fall in breast cancer mortality over the last decade and, with the cervical screening programme, this was viewed as among the best cancer screening programmes in the world. However, in that period, the country's cancer services, as a whole did not match up to those of other European…

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Britain earmarks £50 million for NHS genetics

'Genetics offers prediction of risk, more precise diagnosis, more targeted and effective use of existing drugs, new gene-based drugs and therapies, and prevention and treatment regimes tailored to an individual's genetic profile.'

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40,000 mobile theatre operations

UK - Launching the “world's most advanced mobile operating theatre”, at the annual scientific meeting of the British Association of Day Surgery, Gary King, Managing Director of Vanguard Healthcare predicted that, as from January 2004, over 40,000 NHS operations will be carried out in mobile theatres.

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