Government plan for digital health and social care

The Government has published its plan for digital health and care in England.

The plan is based around four key points:

  • Equipping the system digitally for better care
  • Supporting independent healthy lives
  • Accelerating adoption of proven tech
  • Aligning oversight with accelerating digital transformation

This includes plans to 'increase the functionality of the NHS App and website' over the next three years and scaling the use of digital self help, diagnostics and therapies.


Framework for action on public mental health and smoking

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published a framework for action on public mental health and smoking.

It says smoking is a leading cause of the reduced life expectancy among people with mental health conditions.

The practical report is aimed at people and organisations developing plans and strategies to improve mental and physical health.

It is particularly relevant to those working to implement public mental health approaches to prevent poor mental health in society.

Royal College of Psychiatrists

New publishing platform to expand publicly-available research information

NIHR has launched a new publishing platform allowing researchers to rapidly publish any research information they wish to share.

The aim is to support transparency, reproducibility and impact from publicly-funded research.

NIHR Open Research allows NIHR researchers to publish not only study findings but also incremental findings, case reports and negative findings.

Following a successful pilot, the platform is now open to all types of NIHR-funded and supported research.


Changes to medical device regulation announced

The Government has published its response to consultation on the future regulation of medical devices in the United Kingdom.

The package of reforms will apply to medical devices such as hearing aids and insulin pumps; new technologies such as smartphone apps; and certain cosmetic products. They include:

  • Giving the public and patients greater assurance on both the performance and safety of the highest-risk medical devices
  • Increasing the scope and extent of regulation to respond to public need
  • Addressing health disparities and mitigating identified inequities throughout medical devices development and use
  • Building a new UKCA mark to replace the CE mark


End-of-life care standard now available

PRSB has published an update to the standard for palliative and end-of-life care.

The aim is to ensure people of all ages near the end of their life can share their priorities, preferences and wishes with their health and care team. 

The standard captures information to support care planning, ensuring people experience more person-centred care in their final days, whether they are at home, or in another care setting.


Survey: Social prescribing and older people

PIF member Independent Age is working in partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing to develop a new programme to support social prescribing for older people.

Anyone who has experience of social prescribing as an older person or family carer, or who is involved with service delivery, commissioning, grant funding, research or policy, can take part.

The survey closes at midnight on 22 July.

National Academy for Social Prescribing

Spotting potential red flags in AI diagnostic apps

The British Association of Dermatologists has published a list of red flags in AI diagnostic apps for skin cancers which users can look out for.

While the article specifically mentions skin cancer diagnostic apps, much of the advice is transferrable to other online tools.

It advises users to look at seven main things including a lack of supporting evidence, disclaimers which contradict medical claims and no medical professionals or patients being involved in development.

Skin Health Info

Charter for Best Practice for NHS wig provision

Alopecia UK, in partnership with a number of professional bodies, has published a Charter for Best Practice for NHS Wig Provision.

The charity says many in the alopecia community experience challenges when trying to access wigs via the NHS.

This is a particular issue in England, where the support is not equitable because NHS Trusts have different provisions. 

The charter makes three recommendations to NHS decision makers including ensuring people with alopecia who need and want a wig, are offered a suitable choice, whatever their race, natural hair colour, age and preferences.

Alopecia UK

Investigating the impact of COVID-19 on people with protected characteristics

A report by the NHS Confederation maps existing research into COVID-19 inequalities onto some protected characteristics. 

It also showcases case studies of how different health and care systems have put in place interventions to respond to these inequalities when designing their COVID-19 response. 

The report focuses on five key areas: black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities; sex, pregnancy and maternity; disability; older people; and younger people. 

NHS Confederation

Study: Fact-checking COVID-19 posts on Facebook

A new study investigates the changes in, and effectiveness of, fact-checking information on social media over time.

They found the percentage of fact-checking posts relative to all COVID-19 vaccine posts peaked in May 2020 and then steadily decreased.

The role of third-party fact checkers increased over time, as did the analytical nature and confidence of posts.

Although hospitals receive less engagement than other information sources, their fact-checking posts yielded more positive attitudes toward vaccination than other information sources.


Tips to improve accessibility and inclusion across digital campaigns

In this article, PIF partner TextHelp shares 12 tips from industry experts to help improve accessibility and inclusion across digital campaigns.

They include the use of visuals, multimodal campaigns, user testing and celebrating diversity.