New code to protect children's privacy online

The UK's data watchdog has produced a new code to protect children's privacy online.

The Information Commissioner's Office published its Age Appropriate Design Code on Tuesday.

It is a set of 15 standards online services should meet to protect children's privacy.

The code sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services like apps, social media platforms, online games and educational websites. 

It covers services likely to be accessed by children and which process their data.

The code will require digital services to automatically provide children with a built-in baseline of data protection whenever they download a new app, game or visit a website.


Virtual reality app to help children having surgery

A virtual reality app is allowing children awaiting surgery to explore Sheffield Children’s hospital and prepare for their visit from the comfort of their own home.

The Little Journey smartphone app has animated doctors, nurses and anaesthetists to show children around the hospital and explain what happens when they have surgery.

Characters such as a koala nurse and a rhinoceros doctor pop up to answer questions and talk through what happens in each area.

The app is available free of charge and is aimed at children, young people and their families who are due to go to the hospital for surgery.

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

More patients to benefit from healthcare apps

More patients are set to benefit from single, secure access to healthcare apps as NHS Digital launches its NHS login toolkit.

The toolkit allows approved digital health and care app and website developers to integrate NHS login into their products.

It has been developed to give patients a single swift and secure access to their healthcare information wherever they see the NHS login button. 

This reduces the need for multiple logins and passwords.

NHS Digital

New resource for parents and carers of children with epilepsy

Epilepsy Action has created a new online course for parents and carers of children with epilepsy.

Your child and epilepsy has been developed with parents, epilepsy nurses and psychologists and can be accessed online.

Full of advice and stories from parents, it is a 'helping hand' to support families on their epilepsy journey. 

It aims to give parents and carers the confidence, skills and knowledge to support their child to manage their epilepsy.

For more information, contact [javascript protected email address].

Epilepsy Action

Third of GPs recommend apps to support mental health of young people

A survey by stem4 has found almost a third of GPs recommend apps to help children and young people improve their mental health.

Of the 1,000 doctors surveyed, 31% say they currently recommend patients use digital apps recommended by the NHS Library to help patients manage their symptoms. 

More than two thirds (73%) said children and young people's mental health services had deteriorated over the past 12 months and 90% said services were inadequate.

In light of patients' difficulties in accessing treatments, 44% said smart phone apps based on evidence-based strategies could play an important role in the treatment and recovery of their patients.  

Dr Nihara Krause, a consultant clinical psychologist and founder of stem4, said apps were not meant to replace face-to-face treatment but could be a positive tool when treatment could not be accessed.


Investigating shared care records

Almost two years after the first Local Health and Care Exemplars were selected, this special report looks at the impact on shared records.

It looks at the positive impact, stumbling blocks and asks 'What is the recipe for success?'.

Digital Health

Digital health literacy: the bright tail of the comet

In this opinion piece, Elisabetta Ravot looks at how digital health literacy fits within the 'comet' of the digital health revolution.

She looks at how digital health literacy is being pursued, its barriers and says it is 'a necessary and urgent ingredient of digital health integration'.


Event: Cancer Data Conference

Public Health England's Cancer Data Conference will be held in Nottingham on 1-2 July.

The theme of the conference is ‘using data to understand variation and tackle inequalities in cancer’. 

It will showcase the latest innovations in the uses of real-world cancer data and how it drives improvements for people affected by cancer.

Forty bursaries are available for anyone who has been affected by cancer as a patient, carer or is a member of the public with a clear role in healthcare data or cancer. 

Applications for the bursary can be made via the online form.

Public Health England

Study: Online information on probiotics

A new research paper looks at online information on probiotics and whether it matches scientific evidence.

It was undertaken to assess the information quality of web pages referring to probiotics and to compare recommendations available online with information collected from trusted scientific sources.

Researchers concluded that: 

  • The most frequent typologies of web pages returned by Google are commercial and news
  • Commercial websites on average provide the least reliable information
  • Significant numbers of claimed benefits of probiotics are not supported by scientific evidence

They said this highlights important biases in the probiotics information available online, underlining the need to improve the quality and objectivity of information provided to the public.

Frontiers in Medicine

New resources for partnership working

The Institute for Voluntary Action Research has published a new series of free online resources to boost partnership working.

The free support is for health, care and VCSE leaders. 

There is a range of resources for different levels – from those just getting started to those who have been working in this way for some time.

Support includes case studies, coaching delivered by The King's Fund and webinars.

Institute for Voluntary Action Research

Study: What influences consumers to engage with their clinical data online?

A new literature review aims to determine what influences consumers to engage and interact with their clinical data online.

Three key areas of influence were identified on consumers' willingness to engage with their personally controlled electronic health records (PEHR):

  • Demographic factors
  • Consumers' perceived benefits and risks
  • Feelings of empowerment and responsibility following PEHR use

The authors concluded further research into the consumer perspective of, and interaction with, a PEHR, needs to be undertaken to determine if factors such as frequent use of the system leads to improved clinical outcomes.

SAGE Journals