News

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  • 19 June, 2017 - 08:00
    Patient story: Former Royal Marine injured in Afghanistan urges greater awareness of ‘life-limiting’ tinnitus
    A former section commander in the Royal Marines who nearly died in a bomb blast in Afghanistan is raising awareness of tinnitus - calling it the ‘unseen injury which has affected me most’.
     
    Harris Tatakis was seriously injured when his Land Rover drove over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan in 2007, shattering his left leg, breaking his right foot, causing brain damage and rupturing both his ear drums.
     
    But ten years on and after undergoing numerous operations on his leg and treatment for his brain injury, the 39-year-old from Plymouth is calling for greater awareness and understanding of the effects of his ‘unseen injury’ – tinnitus.
     
    People affected by tinnitus hear a ringing, hissing or whistling sound in one or both of their ears or head not linked to any external source and is often caused by exposure to loud noise or ear or head injuries.
     
    Said Harris: “Because it’s an unseen injury, it doesn’t get the attention it warrants. There is not enough understanding of how life-limiting tinnitus can be – the need for low background noise to distract you combined with constantly keeping yourself occupied to stop your brain focusing on the noises it’s being bombarded with, it’s hugely tiring.
     
    “Out of all my injuries this is the one that’s affected me most.”
     
    Now to mark Armed Forces Day (24 June), Harris is keen to raise greater awareness after treatment from The Tinnitus Clinic in Bristol, funded by the Royal British Legion (RBL), led to a significant reduction in the intensity of his condition.
     
    He said: “I was in hospital after the explosion and undergoing a lot of surgery – I needed to rest as much as possible so I could start to heal and get better. But while I was being given morphine for the pain, medication couldn’t do anything about the constant ringing in my ears which was affecting my ability to sleep or even try to relax.
     
    “I’m also affected by hyperacusis which means I am very sensitive to loud or high-pitched tones – the very noises which are similar to my tinnitus sound – so the two conditions often clash and it can become unbearable.”
     
    According to the RBL, one in four Service members returning from conflicts complains of hearing loss and/or tinnitus. More than 40 per cent said their tinnitus symptoms had a “significant effect” on their quality of life.
     
    Veterans are also more than three times as likely to suffer from hearing loss than the general population, and while many people can use devices and treatments which are available from the NHS, for others a more specialist expert approach is needed.
     
    Harris said: “I have had treatment for my hearing issues at various NHS hospitals in the past which helped get the conditions under control to an extent.
     
    “But last year I went back into hospital for another operation on my leg and afterwards had a bad reaction to the medication – and my tinnitus went through the roof.
     
    “It was horrendous and making me feel desperate and I was searching online every day for treatments when I discovered The Tinnitus Clinic. I realised a lot of the treatments they had were exclusive to the UK and decided to see if they could help.”
     
    Harris started treatment at the Clinic in January and has received a mixture of Tinnitus Desensitisation Therapy™ (TDT) and Levo® which uses iPod technology to deliver treatment while he sleeps.
     
    He said: “The treatment has reduced the intensity a lot and brought it back to the level it was before the bad reaction last year. I am able to function a lot better and can live with the level.
     
    “There needs to be much greater understanding of tinnitus and the treatments available. People get told all the time there’s no cure and while that may well be true, there are treatments out there that can help make it much more manageable and easier to live with.”
     
    For further information on The Tinnitus Clinic’s multidisciplinary approach call 0203 3261777, visit www.thetinnitusclinic.co.uk or e-mail info@thetinnitusclinic.co.uk.
     
    More information on funding from Veterans Hearing Fund (VHF) can be found on www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/finances/grants/veterans-medical-funds or call the Royal British Legion contact centre on 0808 802 8080.
  • 13 June, 2017 - 15:24
    Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS FT showcase morning - Wednesday 21st June 2017
    You are invited by the Research and Innovation Team at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) to a showcase morning of the latest patient enabling digital technologies in healthcare. We bring a variety of carefully chosen companies to show how challenges are being addressed and to raise awareness of the latest solutions available in the healthcare sector.
    Event Details:
    BCHC’s Innovation team are arranging a ‘Patient-centred Solutions’ event to introduce a small number of innovative companies with patient enabling solutions to you and other senior colleagues from all divisions. The common theme amongst these companies will be that they all provide digital solutions that require patient interaction as well as the clinician’s input.

    To register to attend please click the following link
  • 1 June, 2017 - 06:47
    Report highlights impact of Academic Health Science Networks
    A new report demonstrates how Academic Health Science Networks are bringing benefits to patients and the NHS.

    The AHSN Network Impact Report 2017 highlights collective achievements of England’s 15 AHSNs since their formation in 2013 which are helping the NHS meet the challenges of 21st century health and care. These include:
    • Over 6 million patients benefited from AHSN input
    • Over £330m leveraged by AHSNs to improve health and support NHS, care and industry partners
    • Over 200 innovations introduced through AHSN influence
    • Over 500 jobs created
    • Hundreds of commercial innovators engaged
    • Over 11,000 locations developing innovations supported by AHSNs.
    Dr Liz Mear, Chair of the AHSN Network, said: “The NHS has huge potential to be creative and innovative, yet the system as a whole is slow to adopt innovation and best practice. Academic Health Science Networks exist to speed up this process, to improve lives, save money and support economic growth.

    “Uniquely, AHSNs mobilise expertise and knowledge across the NHS and social care organisations, research institutions, third sector, patient groups and life sciences industry. The 15 AHSNs work together in ways unprecedented across health and care, delivering improvement at pace and scale.

    “AHSNs take bold ideas, maximise their impact with dramatic results leading to lasting change. This report captures some of the initial achievements of AHSNs since their creation in 2013 and demonstrates the potential for greater impact in the years ahead.”

    The report contains 11 short case studies which show how AHSNs and their partners are improving health and spreading innovation.

    Read the report here.
  • 26 May, 2017 - 12:12
    AstraZeneca Challenge: Digital Health Solutions for Clinical Trial Acceleration or Improved Clinical Outcomes
    With the growth in digital technologies, patients are becoming increasingly able to monitor and impact their own health via apps, wearable sensors and digital therapeutics. With access to data at their fingertips, patients are empowered to take an active role in managing their care. As a result, they also expect medical care to become more personalised and effective. This provides many opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry to explore and embrace new technologies and enhance the way we approach patient care. AstraZeneca is seeking collaboration partners who can help us improve clinical outcomes and disease management for the benefit of both patients and healthcare professionals. 
    This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will only need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with the goal of establishing a collaborative partnership.  Deadline: Jul 07 2017
    Further information is available here
  • 22 May, 2017 - 06:41
    Funding Opportunities
    GBSLEP aims to set gold standard for innovation through new Innovation Challenge Forum
    GBSLEP is seeking to set up an Innovation Challenge Forum (ICF), comprised of a pool of experts that can be drawn on to review project proposals focused on the development of innovative products or services.
     
    Representation is welcomed from the NHS, local authorities, entrepreneurs, SME's, interest groups and academic experts to act in a non-executive advisory capacity tasked with reviewing and ranking innovation project proposals to develop activities in line with their Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).  You can find out more about the ICF and how to get involved here

    NHS National Institute for Health Research
    Current funding opportunities can be viewed here.
     
    MRC Medical Research Council
    Current funding opportunities can be viewed here.
     
    Tackling healthcare challenges: apply for business funding - Businesses can apply for a share of up to £12 million to develop innovative ideas that will help to detect, manage and treat disease.  Read more here.
     
  • 15 May, 2017 - 12:08
    Alexa Diabetes Challenge
    About the Challenge 
    Life with Type 2 Diabetes 
    An estimated 27.5 million people live with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Thanks to greater awareness and better treatments, many who have been diagnosed with the disease are living longer, healthier lives. But diabetes requires changes and considerations that permeate throughout every aspect of life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated on the path to self-management, especially for people who are newly diagnosed.

    The opportunity 
    What if help managing type 2 diabetes was only a voice command away? Amazon Alexa is becoming a familiar presence in homes. More than a device, Alexa is a partner to make navigating daily life a little bit easier.

    But voice is just the entry point that connects people to the information they need by leveraging a larger world of supporting technology, from applications to databases and cloud services. By tapping into this digital ecosystem, the universe of possibilities expands, and with it the potential to transform diabetes self-management and improve the lives of millions of people.

    How you can participate 
    The Alexa Diabetes Challenge is looking for comprehensive solutions that use Amazon’s voice technology to improve the experience of those who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  The Challenge seeks patient-centric solutions that reduce the friction of self management, while also considering the needs of stakeholders (e.g., caregivers, healthcare providers, payers, etc.) and the broader healthcare system.

    To find out more please visit their website: http://www.alexadiabeteschallenge.com 
     
  • 10 May, 2017 - 13:56
    WMAHSN-supported app to revolutionise fat measurement is launched
    The WMAHSN is delighted to see the official announcement of the launch of the BVI Pro app, a revolutionary alternative to the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) in healthcare.

    The Body Volume Imaging (BVI) Pro app is the world’s first professional app for body volume, specifically measuring total body fat, visceral fat, waist-to-hip ratio, abdomen volume and BMI, as well as providing a unique BVI health indicator number. By simply submitting two photographs, the Select Body Volume Index (BVI) tool uses 3D technology to measure a user’s weight, fat percentage and distribution. 

    It targets visceral fat in particular, which is stored within the abdominal cavity around a number of important internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Higher amounts are associated with an increased risk of health problems. In the West Midlands, around two-thirds of people are overweight, and obesity costs the UK economy more than £3 billion per year. The Select BVI tool aims to help with early detection of visceral fat, transforming the way that people monitor and manage their weight. 

    The app, which is based on the world’s most comprehensive collection of Body Composition Data from MRI scans, was developed by Select Research, in collaboration with the Heart of England NHS Trust (HEFT), Aston University, the Mayo Clinic and the Medical Research Council. WMAHSN, along with Medilink, was involved in setting up the initial research and development of BVI in 2007/2008 with HEFT, and the WHAHSN has continued to support the development of BVI since then through the Meridian platform, with West Midlands-based Health Exchange trialling the app with their stakeholders. 

    This is the first time that an affordable and easily accessible method has been available to medical professionals to measure a patient or client body volume on a regular basis. Through the BVI Pro app, all data can be uploaded to the professional's patient electronic records to support ongoing measurement tracking. The BVI Pro app further allows anonymous data to be submitted which will continue to validate and improve the accuracy of BVI. The data can be collected anywhere with internet access.

     “It’s been known for many years that just using BMI alone isn’t wholly accurate. Using the BVI assessment tool that we’re trialling is essential to look at new ways of doing things that might support behaviour change in individuals, particularly around managing diabetes and also tackling obesity, which is a huge challenge within this country, especially amongst younger people,” said Jennifer Jones-Rigby, Assistant Director at Health Exchange.

    “We collect a lot of data and we see a lot of people face-to-face, so being able to testbed new technology within a safe setting, within a framework, independent of the research organisations, is a critical part of how we’re going to grow as a business. The AHSN has been critical in funding that process for us, to pay for our staffing time and also the tablets through which the BVI scanning process is taking place. That’s been really, really helpful.”

    BVI is patented in all 28 European countries and the US, and it is the only app capable of measuring part body volume of a human in 3D. Medical, clinical and fitness professionals can download the BVI Pro app on their iPad tablets via iTunes for a free trial, with the option of in-app purchasing for continued use. More details can be found on www.bodyvolume.com, or you can watch a video of the app in action here
  • 10 May, 2017 - 13:53
    Using diagnostics to enable new models of urgent and emergency care event
    On 27 June at Warwick Racecourse, West Midlands and Oxford AHSNs are bringing together NHS urgent and emergency care directors and specialists, commissioners, medical and nursing directors, Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) leads, NHS transformation and improvement leads, out of hours care providers, general practice, ambulance trusts and other AHSNs to examine NHS England's priorities for transforming services.

    Professor Keith Willett, Medical Director for Acute Care at NHS England, will discuss the urgent and emergency care review, the progress that has been made and what has been learned, while also considering the challenges that lie ahead.

    NHS England’s Louise Watson will discuss how the 14 vanguards in England, which are creating multispecialty community providers (MCPs), are developing new ways to deliver a sustainable and improved quality of personalised care, which includes moving specialist care out of hospitals closer to where people live.
    This forum will examine different strategies to reduce the burden on our increasingly stretched A&E departments. Oxford and West Midlands AHSNs will lead this interactive forum and present case studies from across the UK and beyond.

    WMAHSN's Commercial Director, Tony Davis, will chair the event. 

    Places at this forum are limited to facilitate active discussion between speakers and delegates. Early booking is advised. CPD points have been applied for, and delegates can collect their certificate on the day. For more information, read the flyer, or to book your place, visit Eventbrite
  • 10 May, 2017 - 13:50
    Innovation and Technology Tariff technical notes and implementation toolkits now available
    Guidance for NHS organisations in procuring and implementing the innovations under the Innovation and Technology Tariff (ITT) has been published recently. 

    The ITT was introduced to incentivise the adoption and spread of transformational innovation in the NHS. The themes for the ITT were sought in conjunction with National Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme. AHSNs have been closely involved in developing the ITT, and each AHSN can offer a range of support to help commissioners and providers to implement the ITT themes in local geographies.

    The ITT represents a new approach by using a number of mechanisms to fund innovations which meet the required theme specifications. The majority of the themes are funded under a simple zero cost model. Providers order the innovations directly from the supplier at no cost and NHS England reimburses the supplier directly. 

    Guidance has now been produced for commissioners and providers trust senior leads, setting out the innovation themes, specifications, reimbursement and reporting requirements.

    In addition, the Implementation Toolkits for the four NIA innovations which meet the Tariff’s themed specs (Episcissors-60Non-Injectable Arterial ConnectorPneuXmyCOPD) have been updated, and an additional Toolkit for AliveCor’s Kardia has been created. 
  • 10 May, 2017 - 09:14
    NHS England Innovation and Technology Tariff 2017 to 2019 Technical notes
    A supporting document to section 3.4 of the 2017/18 and 2018/19 National Tariff Payment System has now been released.

    This guidance is provided as a supporting document to section 3.4 of the 2017/18 and 2018/19 National Tariff Payment System. It sets out the innovation themes, specifications, reimbursement and reporting requirements.

    Click here to access the full document.