NHS looks towards privacy, Nomad Health expands to the Midwest and other digital health news briefs

By Laura Lovett
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The NHS is looking to ramp up its patient data security, after signing a contract with software company Privitar for its de-identification technology. The new technology will help prevent a person’s identify from being connected to their information. 

“The health and care landscape is rapidly changing, and we can improve individual patient care if our systems can deliver a complete picture of their health and care,” Tom Denwood, NHS Digital’s executive director of data, insights and statistics, said in a statement. “Although we already use various ways of de-identifying data across the NHS, the difference with De-ID is that it provides one, consistent way of doing this.”

Privacy has been a hot button issue for the NHS after it teamed up with Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind in 2016. The pair were criticized after an investigation by the New Scientist revealed that Google would have access to a large trove of patient data without he patient’s expressed consent. 

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WellDoc, maker of chronic care management digital therapeutic BlueStar, recently revealed results of its cost savings analysis at the American Diabetes Association. The analysis, conducted by Truven Health Analytics and IBM Watson Health, found that BlueStar saved systems between $254 to $271 per month per patient. Researchers also found that the the highest cost savings came from patients an A1C above 8 percent. 

“Together with Truven Health Analytics, we took a novel approach to evaluating how our innovative digital health tool, BlueStar, has the potential to provide scalable, cost-effective solutions for patients, providers, and payers in evolving healthcare payment and practice models,” WellDoc Medical Director Dr. Mansur Shomali, said in a statement. “In the Quadruple Aim framework, digital health tools should enhance the patient experience, reduce the burden on providers, improve the health of the population, and, as we have shown in this analysis, reduce healthcare costs.”

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New York-based Nomad Health, an online platform for helping doctors and nurses find jobs, is now expanding to the midwest. It will now expand its services to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

“Our mission has always been to make it simple to hire clinicians and help patients,” Dr. Alexi Nazem, co-founder and CEO of Nomad Health, said in a statement. “With the launch in the midwest today, our team is thrilled to be empowering doctors, nurses and medical employers to connect directly online and spend more valuable time focusing on patients and not on paperwork and recruiters. We are especially excited to introduce Nomad into the midwest given how severe the clinician shortages are in the region. With simple tools to improve the speed and efficiency of getting clinicians to the bedside, we believe Nomad will help address the clinician shortage in the midwest.”

The idea behind the service is to fill in the clinician shortages in the US health system. The company noted that the midwest is particularly impacted by the opioid epidemic.