Amsterdam-headquartered SkinVision & VR/AR startup Virti join NHS Innovation Accelerator and more news briefs

Also: Israeli company announces CE certification for two algorithms; minister unveils plans for a National Genomic Healthcare Strategy in the UK.
By Leontina Postelnicu
05:43 am
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Credit: SkinVision

Dutch startup joins NHS Innovation Accelerator. Amsterdam-headquartered SkinVision has announced that it has been selected to take part in the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme - run by NHS England and the 15 Academic Health Science Networks - to accelerate the spread and uptake of its innovation across the health service.

SkinVision is the only non-UK startup to join this year’s cohort, and its offering is an app that allows people to monitor themselves for early signs of skin cancer by taking a photo of their skin spots with their smartphone.

“That photo is then run through a whole pipeline of machine learning networks that recognize the image and rate it as high, low, or medium risk; a traffic light system. This is all done within 20 seconds and this message is provided back to the customer.

"If it’s high risk, within 48 hours our dermatologists can get back to the customer,” SkinVision CEO Erik de Heus told MobiHealthNews last year, after the startup raised $7.6m in funding from Leo Pharma and PHS Fund, along with additional contributions from new backers whose names were not disclosed.

“We know from studies conducted here in the Netherlands that 70% of visits to GP related to suspicious skin spots are unnecessary, by the use of the app it is hoped that this number can be drastically reduced, freeing up GPs to run their practice more efficiently and to see more patients,” de Heus added this week in a statement.

Virti becomes first VR/AR startup to take part in the NIA scheme. Along with SkinVision, Virti has also been unveiled as one of the 13 fellows and the first VR/AR startup to join the NIA programme. Founded in late 2017, Virti uses VR and AR, combined with AI, to help healthcare professionals prepare for various aspects of clinical practice and evaluate them under pressure in different “hard-to-access” settings, with the aim to “reduce anxiety and improve human performance”.

“We are delighted to be the first Virtual and Augmented Reality company selected onto the NIA and proud that our evidence-based VR/AR training platform will now be scaled to further hospitals, physicians and patients through the NIA,” said Dr Alexander Young, CEO and founder of Virti.

“We are particularly excited to help deliver the NHS’ recently published ‘Health and Care Workforce Strategy to 2027’ and further demonstrate the positive impacts that immersive technology can have on corporates, employees and for healthcare.”

The other 11 innovations selected for the NIA are: ChatHealth, Mush, S12 Solutions, Population Genetic Testing, PrecisionPoint Transperineal Access System, Skin Analytics, Digital Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Assessment Process, Droplet, Echo, Low Carb Program and MIRA Rehab. 

Zebra Medical Vision announces CE certification for two deep learning algorithms. Israel-headquartered Zebra Medical Vision, which focuses on designing AI tools for medical imaging and radiology, has received CE certification for two algorithms designed to speed up the diagnosis of acute conditions in medical imaging. According to the company, the AI tech can flag cases such as pneumothorax – which occurs when air builds up in the space between the lung and the chest wall – in chest X-rays and brain bleeds in CT scans.

“In a clinical validation study we performed, Zebra-med’s acute CXR pneumothorax and CT Brain bleed products demonstrated a promising potential to substantially reduce turn around [sic] time and increase the radiologist’s confidence in making these diagnoses,” said Dr Terry Matalon from the Albert Einstein Medical Center.

“Seeing the software in action emphasized key aspects AI solutions must address in order impact our field: high accuracy, speed, seamless integration to our workflow and the ability to work on multi modalities – both X-ray and CT.”

In June last year, the company announced that it had raised $30m in Series C funding from aMoon, Aurum Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation JJDC, and Intermountain Healthcare.

Minister announces plans for National Genomic Healthcare Strategy in the UK. Innovation minister Nicola Blackwood unveiled towards the end of February plans to develop a National Genomic Healthcare Strategy, which, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, would enable the UK to “offer a predictive, preventative and personalised health and care service for people with rare diseases”.

The strategy, which will build on the work of the 100,000 Genomes Project, follows an announcement from October last year in which health secretary Matt Hancock outlined an ambition to sequence five million genomes in the UK in the following five years.

“We want to diagnose conditions before symptoms occur. And we want to deliver personalised treatment, informed not just by our general understanding of disease but by our own personal, de-identified medical data – including our genetic make-up,” Blackwood said in a speech at the Rare Disease UK Parliamentary reception.

“In order to make this a reality, I am delighted to announce that we will be working with the National Genomics Board and the broader genomics community to develop a National Genomic Healthcare Strategy.”

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