UK government pumps new funding into digital health tech projects, Apple Watch ECG feature goes live in Europe, and more news briefs

Also: Medopad partners with NHS trust; Changing Health and dacadoo announce collaboration; Liverpool 5G health and social care pilot set to receive additional funds.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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Credit: Apple

Funding for digital health technology projects in the UK. Nine projects have been awarded a share of £9m through the Digital Health Technology Catalyst delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

These include a consortium that will seek to develop re-usable open source applications for healthcare, led by open source software integrator OpusVL, and a Glasgow-based project coordinated by Red Star Consulting, set to use machine learning to analyse notes recorded in electronic health records of patients with diabetes.

“We’re thrilled to have been given the opportunity by Innovate UK to prove that professional open source is the only viable solution to the NHS’s complex software needs,” said in a statement Stuart J. Mackintosh, CEO of OpusVL.

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Apple Watch ECG feature now available in Europe. After its initial launch in the US in December last year, Apple is making its ECG app available for Apple Watch Series 4 owners in 19 European countries with the watchOS 5.2 update, as well as its new irregular heart rhythm detection functionality. 

“We are confident in the ability of these features to help users have more informed conversations with their physicians,” said Dr Sumbul Desai, Apple vice president of Health. “With the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature, customers can now better understand aspects of their heart health in a more meaningful way.”

According to Apple, the features are CE marked and cleared in the EEA (European Economic Area).

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Extra funds for 5G pilot in England. Liverpool’s 5G health and social care pilot will receive an additional £940,000 in government funding and £540,000 from its consortium partners, extending the project for another 12 months.

Technologies currently being piloted include a Loneliness Gaming and Quizzing App developed by CGA Simulation and people with learning difficulties from the Kensington Community Learning Centre in Liverpool, and a WarnHydrate gadget aiming to detect dehydration.

“The Liverpool testbed is just one of the innovative 5G projects we’re funding across the country and I’m pleased it can continue its important work,” said minister for digital Margot James. “I recently visited it and saw first-hand how 5G can improve quality of life and transform the way health and social care is delivered in our communities.”

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New partnership between Medopad and NHS trust. Medopad has signed a three-year deal with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, the company announced last week. Its remote patient management platform for the Royal Wolverhampton will reportedly launch this spring, with projects in areas including cardiology and hypertension.

“We have chosen to work with Medopad as they have excellent links with world class healthcare providers, technology companies and health research bodies and they share our passion for innovation,” said David Loughton CBE, chief executive at the trust.

"This collaboration (…) will enable our doctors and nurses to proactively, and in real-time, monitor patients in their own home and help us in our mission to provide care that is both personalised and timely.”

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New collaboration between Changing Health and dacadoo. Swiss company dacadoo and Newcastle University spin-off Changing Health are partnering to provide behaviour change programmes in Europe, Asia Pacific and North and South America.

“We’re excited to scale our behaviour change programmes rapidly through this partnership,” said Changing Health chief executive John Grumitt. “An important element of our rapid growth in the UK has been understanding the local needs of patients and care teams.

“The strategic partnership with dacadoo brings local insight and delivery, but at a global scale. The ability to locally implement our services in other countries is an important next step in delivering our mission to deliver behaviour change at scale,” Grumitt added.

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