23 Feb 2022

New AI tool to help cancer patients find treatments, the roadmap detailing AI in the NHS, and the fake doctors caught prescribing meds

MedTech Wednesday is our regular check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful healthcare innovation and health technology news and trends.

This week we will be looking at the trialling of the Cancer Alliance’s new AI tool which helps to match patients with clinical trials, HEE’s new roadmap into AI use in the NHS and the online doctor service found guilty of operating with no CQC registration.


Cancer alliance introduces AI tool to match patients with clinical trials

The Cancer Alliance made up of NHS Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucester have joined with Inspirata on a project that will use artificial intelligence to help match patients with appropriate clinical trials, reports

Inspirata’s amazing new trial navigator uses AI technology to accurately and quickly match patients with relevant clinical trials and research studies with the aim being an improvement of patient health and breakthroughs in cancer research.

This new software uses oncology-specific natural language processing AI to eliminate common bottlenecks within the trial. This works by matching workflows and using Trusts’ existing information processes to search through individual medical reports, referrals and notes; allowing one to draw together key information about their illness and cross-reference it against study eligibility criteria.

Dr Helen Winter, clinical director of SWAG Cancer Alliance, said:

“We hope that this solution will afford both clinicians and patients in the region a greater choice of potential treatment options. Similarly, expediting the fulfilment of existing, and the hosting of new clinical trials as we look to recover services affected by the pandemic.”

It is hoped that this inspired trial navigator will enable the recruitment of a wider demographic of patients to participate in cancer research by identifying new opportunities. This means medical professionals can offer these to patients who are usually less likely to participate.


Health Education England release a new roadmap into AI for the NHS

Health Education England has published the first-ever roadmap into the use of AI within the NHS with a focus on its workforce impact says healthbusinessuk.

The new eye-opening report aims to understand the use of AI and data driven technologies that are currently in use within the healthcare systems, including their uptake and impact on workforces – focusing on how long it will take for these AI projects to be implemented. Other aspects include how these new technologies are distributed and which clinical/workforce areas are using AI the most.

Findings of the report included that diagnostic technology used in imaging, pathology and endoscopy most commonly used AI, boasting a percentage of 35%. In total, 56 technologies are set for large scale deployment within a year, with 77% being used in secondary care, 23% in primary care and 7% in community care.

Overall,155 workforce groups spanning over 67 clinical areas were identified as using AI technologies with most being medics in clinical radiology and general practice.

Dr Hatim Abdulhussein, Clinical Lead for the Digital, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technologies in Education (DART-Ed) programme at Health Education England, said:

“The AI Roadmap is an invaluable asset in helping to understand the AI and data-driven landscape in healthcare, and the implications this will have on our staff and learners.”


Online doctor service is found guilty of activity with no CQC registration.

An online doctor’s service based in Stockport has pleaded guilty to providing services to patients without CQC registration reports, being ordered to pay £13,670.

The organisation known as Pharmacorp or Medicine Direct was discovered to be carrying out regulated activities while unregistered with the CQC, from the 1st August 2018 to the 1st of July 2019. This has resulted in the organisation being fined £3,500 at Tameside Magistrates Court and additionally ordered to pay £10,000 in costs and £170 victim supercharge.

Alarmingly, the prosecution brought forth via the CQC displayed that an array of medications, including high strength co-codamol, pregabalin and gabapentin was being prescribed to patients by individual GMC registered doctors based in Romania, following the completion of a simple online questionnaire.

The prosecution claimed that Pharmacorp’s website was unclear with areas claiming that they were using UK based doctors. This resulted in patients being exposed to a significant risk of harm due to lack of professional oversight. Also, as they had no access to patient’s medical history, doctors would not have been able to confirm that the information provided was completely accurate.

Emma Boger, head of registration at CQC, said:

“I hope this outcome sends a clear message to others that where we find providers operating outside of the law, we will always use our enforcement powers to protect people and hold them to account to stop poor and illegal practice. It’s unacceptable that Pharmacorp Ltd put people at risk by running a service without the benefit of CQC registration, so I welcome their guilty plea.”