Instagram pledges to handle self-harm material, HIMSS19 focuses on global innovators, and more news briefs

Also: UK launches health data research alliance; Novartis partners with Oxford Big Data Institute; Healthware and FII Tech Group will invest more than €10m to strengthen digital health operations.
By Leontina Postelnicu
12:36 pm

Instagram vows to remove self-harm content amid public outcry in the UK. Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said in an interview with the BBC this week that graphic self-harm images would be removed from the social network, after the family of a teenager that took her own life found distressing material about suicide and self-harm when looking into her Instagram account.

“That’s gonna take some time, but we’re committed to doing it,” Mosseri said.

The Instagram head and other representatives from social media companies met with health and social care secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday, when the UK’s four chief medical officers released their advice for parents and carers on children’s screen-based activities. Their tips to help balance the use of screens and healthy living include not taking phones into the bedroom at bedtime and talking about how photos shared online are “sometimes manipulated”.

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The document acknowledges, however, that “scientific research is currently insufficiently conclusive to support UK CMO evidence-based guidelines on optimal amounts of screen use or online activities (such as social media use)”.


Novartis inks partnership with University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute. Pharma giant Novartis announced that it was partnering with the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute to “make use” of anonymised data from nearly five million patients, both from the UK and from international organisations, and anonymised data from Novartis clinical trials.

The aim is to advance the analysis and interpretation of large datasets by using AI to gain insights into complex diseases, with the five-year alliance initially focusing on multiple sclerosis, dermatology and rheumatology. 

In partnership with O2’s innovation arm Wayra UK, Novartis is also running a nine-month long accelerator programme to support health tech entrepreneurs, called the Health Hub.


Healthware and FII Tech Growth commit to investing 10m in new boost in the Italian digital health scene. Consulting group Healthware and late stage venture capital fund FII Tech Growth announced this week that they would invest over €10m during the next two years in strengthening digital health operations, with some of the key focus areas including digital therapeutics or the application of AI.

Roberto Ascione, CEO and founder of the Healthware Group, said:

“The partnership with FII Tech Growth will allow us to enhance our ability to work with big companies and start-ups to accelerate their processes and the development of innovative ideas and products."


New data research alliance to speed up progress in tackling global healthcare challenges in the UK.  A new non-profit association in the UK will develop and oversee the adoption of tools and technologies enabling the use of health data “in a trustworthy and ethical way for research and innovation”, according to the national health data research institute. 

It will bring together the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales, Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, NHS Digital, Genomics England, Health Data Research UK, Public Health England and Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

“The new Alliance will create a framework for organisations to work to the highest ethical standards and enable responsible access to data across the health research community, improving patient outcomes and increasing public confidence," said health minister Nicola Blackwood.


HIMSS19 showcases Global Innovators. We’ve only got a few days left until the HIMSS19 conference officially starts, and this year the focus on global innovators is greater than ever before.

Ahead of the event, HIMSS, parent company of MobiHealthNews, has launched the third issue of the HIMSS Insights eBook, which provides a platform to learn more from global digital health leaders.

From Health 2.0 solutions making an impact in countries around the world to the Digital Health Silk Road project or the use of predictive prevention in public health, the eBook also offers advice to those planning to bring innovation into healthcare: don’t forget to listen to and bring your entire team on board, and beef up data security.