Europe/UK edition news round-up

By Leontina Postelnicu

Cybersecurity: European Commission kicks off CyberSecMonth 

The European Commission has started its annual campaign to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and offer guidance for citizens and organisations, led by the EU’s Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the DG Connect and other partners. 

The first week has focused on “basic cyber hygiene”, and the European Commission now plans to provide the resources needed to improve digital skills, looking at security, identify cyber scams and ensure citizens protect themselves online. 

Last week, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office fined Bupa £175,000 after it found the health insurer failed to have “effective security measures in place to protect customers’ personal information” following an incident that saw a rogue employee extract data of 547,000 people during January and March 2017. A representative for Bupa Global said the company had since introduced "additional security measures to help prevent the recurrence of such an incident". 

Separately, the NHS’s IT agency appointed last month the first system-wide Chief Information Security Officer, Robert Coles, who comes from pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, following recommendations made in a review of the WannaCry attack from May 2017. 

Health apps: UK to address challenges around regulation of digital health technology

A report released last month by the International Longevity Centre UK found that the “huge promise” of health behavioural change apps was not being met, with issues around evaluation, security and accreditation named as key barriers, particularly looking at the “disparity” between the fast-moving pace of technology development and the amount of time needed to carry out a randomised controlled trial. 

“Robust evidence of outcomes is the biggest challenge to health apps meeting their potential,” researchers said, issuing two recommendations for NHS England to make available on the NHS Apps Library guidance that would help users understand whether one app could be “more effective than another” and to improve labelling of NHS-accredited tools (included in the library) with an "easily-identifiable seal of approval”. 

Separately, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark announced this week that regulators would receive £10m for a series of projects meant to drive innovation in the public sector, including a scheme that will see the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NHS Digital run a pilot to create synthethic datasets allowing innovators to validate software and apps and help them bring the technology to market “at the earliest, safest opportunity”.

Meanwhile, UK Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy revealed in a House of Lords debate on NHS and healthcare data, held at the beginning of September, that the MHRA had been asked to identify how they could provide a “framework to encourage the regulation of digital health technology from the point of view of safety and efficacy”.

Training: Applications for cohort 2 of the NHS Digital Academy open

Applications for the second cohort of the NHS Digital Academy, which aims to create a "new generation of digital leaders" for the NHS, are open until October 26. The academy was set up in response to recommendations made by Professor Robert Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in a review of the health service's IT implementation, released in 2016. 

It provides a year-long programme developed by the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, and the University of Edinburgh, along with input for Harvard Medical School, led by CEO Rachel Dunscombe and starting in April next year. You can find out more information about the application process here

EMRs: Research finds European EMR market share “an eclectic mix”, looking at adoption, usage and performance

Recent research from KLAS indicates that Europe has "one of the most dynamic and competitive" EMR markets in the world. With multiregional players gaining more terrain, pushing regional vendors to “redefine themselves”, KLAS said healthcare providers in Europe had “more options than ever before” – but performance and usage feedback varied "widely". 

Providing regional insights based on KLAS data and more than 100 interviews with decision-makers, the analysis found that the EMR market in UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands was a mixture of local and multiregional solutions, while in Benelux and Scandinavia, early adopters of EMRs, many solutions had "aged" and were now "in need of replacement".

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