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Found 57 results
  1. News Article
    The UK’s data protection regulator has published new guidance for health and social care organisations it says will help them be more transparent about how personal information is being used. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the new guidance would provide regulatory certainty to organisations on how they should keep people properly informed as technology is increasingly used to deliver care and carry out research. The regulator said focus on the issue was needed as the health and social care sector routinely handles sensitive information about the most intimate aspects of peoples’ health, and that under data protection law, people have a right to know what is happening to their personal information. Being transparent is essential to building public trust in health and social care services Anne Russell, head of regulatory policy projects at the ICO, said the ever-increasing use of technology meant personal data was more important than ever, and so therefore was more transparency. “Being transparent is essential to building public trust in health and social care services,” she said. “If people clearly understand how and why their personal information is being used, they are likely to feel empowered to share their health information to both access care and support initiatives such as medical research. “As new technologies are developed and deployed in the health sector, our personal information is becoming more important than ever to boost the efficiency and public benefit of these systems. “With this bespoke guidance, we want to support health and social care organisations by improving their understanding of effective transparency, ensuring that they are clear, open and honest with everyone whose personal information is being used.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 April 2024
  2. News Article
    Many popular AI chatbots, including ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, lack adequate safeguards to prevent the creation of health disinformation when prompted, according to a new study. Research by a team of experts from around the world, led by researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and published in the BMJ found that the large language models (LLMs) used to power publicly accessible chatbots failed to block attempts to create realistic-looking disinformation on health topics. As part of the study, researchers asked a range of chatbots to create a short blog post with an attention-grabbing title and containing realistic-looking journal references and patient and doctor testimonials on two health disinformation topics: that sunscreen causes skin cancer and that the alkaline diet is a cure for cancer. The researchers said that several high-profile, publicly available AI tools and chatbots, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini and a chatbot powered by Meta’s Llama 2 LLM, consistently generated blog posts containing health disinformation when asked – including three months after the initial test and being reported to developers when researchers wanted to assess if safeguards had improved. In response to the findings, the researchers have called for “enhanced regulation, transparency, and routine auditing” of LLMs to help prevent the “mass generation of health disinformation”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 20 March 2024
  3. Event
    This masterclass will focus on developing your role as a SIRO (Senior Information Risk Owner) in health and social care. Key learning objectives: Understanding the role of the Senior Information Risk Owner. Identifying Information Risks across the organisation. Working with others to mitigate the risk to patients, staff and organisation. Confidence that all reasonable technical and organisation measure are in place. Giving assurance to the Board that risks have been considered, mitigated or owned. Understand the requirements of external confidence that policies, procedures are in place to deal with Data Breaches. hub members receive a 20% discount. Email info@pslhub.org for discount code. Register
  4. News Article
    Former BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, now a writer and podcaster, has Parkinson's disease. Two weeks ago, after fracturing his elbow in a nasty fall, he found out just how difficult it can be to get answers from the NHS. "Getting information about one's treatment seems like an obstacle race where the system is always one step ahead. But communication between medical staff within and between hospitals also appears hopelessly inadequate, with the gulf between doctors and nurses particularly acute. "I also sense that, in some cases, new computer systems are slowing not speeding information through the system. On Saturday morning, as we waited in the surgical assessment unit, four nurses gathered around a computer screen while a fifth explained to them all the steps needed to check-in a patient and get them into a bed. It took about 20 minutes and appeared to be akin to mastering some complex video game beset with bear traps." Rory's latest experience as a customer of the health service has left him convinced that more money and more staff won't solve its problems without some fundamental changes in the way it communicates. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 October 2023
  5. Event
    This masterclass will focus on developing your role as a SIRO (Senior Information Risk Owner) in health and social care. Key learning objectives Understanding the role of the Senior Information Risk Owner Identifying Information Risks across the organisation Working with others to mitigate the risk to patients, staff and organisation. Confidence that all reasonable technical and organisation measure are in place Giving assurance to the Board that risks have been considered, mitigated or owned Understand the requirements of external confidence that policies, procedures are in place to deal with Data Breaches Facilitated by: Andrew Harvey IG Consultant BJM IG Privacy Ltd Register hub members receive a 20% discount code. Email info@pslhub.org for discount code.
  6. News Article
    Cancer drug information leaflets for patients in Europe frequently omit important facts, while some are “potentially misleading” when it comes to treatment benefits and related uncertainties, researchers have found. Cancer is the biggest killer in Europe after heart conditions, with more than 3.7m new cases and 1.9m deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization. Medicines are a vital weapon against the disease. But critical facts about them are often missing from official sources of information provided to patients, clinicians and the public, according to a study led by researchers from King’s College London, Harvard Medical School and the University of Sydney, among others. “Regulated information sources for anticancer drugs in Europe fail to address the information needs of patients,” the study’s authors wrote in The BMJ journal. “If patients lack access to such information, clinical decisions may not align with their preferences and needs.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 March 2023
  7. Content Article
    Hindsight bias (colloquially known as ‘the retrospectoscope’) is the tendency to perceive past events as more predictable than they actually were. It has been shown to play a significant role in the evaluation of an past event, and has been demonstrated in both medical and judicial settings. This study in Clinical Medicine aimed to determine whether hindsight bias impacts on retrospective case note review, through an internet survey completed by doctors of different grades. The authors found that in some cases, doctors are markedly more critical of identical healthcare when a patient dies compared to when a patient survives. Hindsight bias while reviewing care when a patient survives might prevent identification of learning arising from errors. They also suggest that hindsight bias combined with a legal duty of candour will cause families to be informed that patients died because of healthcare error when this is not a fact.
  8. Content Article
    To receive and participate in medical care, patients need high quality information about treatments, tests, and services—including information about the benefits of and risks from prescription drugs. Provision of information can support ethical principles of patient autonomy and informed consent, facilitate shared decision making, and help to ensure that treatment is sensitive to, and meets the needs and priorities of, individuals. Patients value high quality, written information to supplement and reinforce the verbal information given by clinicians. This is the case even for those who do not want to participate in shared decision making. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency with which relevant and accurate information about the benefits and related uncertainties of anticancer drugs are communicated to patients and clinicians in regulated information sources in Europe. The findings of this study highlight the need to improve the communication of the benefits and related uncertainties of anticancer drugs in regulated information sources in Europe to support evidence informed decision making by patients and their clinicians.
  9. Content Article
    EasyFOI is an email address compiler designed to help you send identical freedom of information requests to multiple organisations. Journalists, researchers and ordinary members of the public use the FOI act every day to request all kinds of information from statutory public bodies. You may want to request the same information from different organisations. But it can be hard to find a central list of every public body in the country, let alone their FOI inboxes (which don't tend to follow a standard format). EasyFOI is here to make that easier. Instead of searching for each organisation's contact details, or compiling your own database, you can use this simple tool to copy the appropriate email address for every relevant organisation straight into your device's clipboard. You can also use the EasyFOI generator to help you write your request in seconds. The EasyFOI database doesn't yet cover all public bodies. But it's expanding all the time, and currently includes more than 1,000 organisations.
  10. News Article
    Astrophysics and dermatology are colliding through a new research project led by the University of Southampton – with potentially lifesaving consequences. The project, dubbed MoleGazer, will take algorithms used for detecting exploding stars in astronomical imaging data and develop them to be used to spot changes in skin moles and, therefore, detect skin cancer. MoleGazer, led by Professor Mark Sullivan, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University, and Postdoctoral Researcher Mathew Smith, has been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). It is the first time the University has won such a grant. Currently, patients at high risk of developing skin cancer are photographed at regular intervals and a consultant visually compares images to detect changes. MoleGazer could automate this process, potentially leading to earlier diagnoses and improved survival rates. “It’s a really exciting project that came along from nowhere,” added Professor Sullivan. “It also highlights the importance of blue sky science – curiosity-driven scientific research will always have a fundamentally important role to play.” Read full story Source: University of Southampton, 10 January 2020
  11. News Article
    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to do more to quickly and substantially reform its system for reporting adverse events caused by medical devices, two researchers wrote in an Editorial published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The editorial notes several instances where information on a medical device was withheld from the public or not reported fully. The current adverse events reporting system relies on device makers to voluntarily report adverse events, which the authors say does not place patient safety as a priority. The editorial specifically highlights a study involving Medtronic's Insync III model 8042 heart failure pacemaker, which the authors said caused a "high burden of serious adverse events (including death)." The authors said it took the FDA 19 months to recall the device after the first instance of the device failing was reported. The FDA also decided to classify the recall as Class II, which signifies a low probability of serious adverse events. "This long unexplained delay before the recall and the inappropriate recall classification raise concerns about patient harms that could have been prevented by speedier and stronger regulatory actions," the authors wrote. Read full story Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 10 January 2020
  12. News Article
    Mother Natalie Deviren was concerned when her two-year-old daughter Myla awoke in the night crying with a restlessness and sickness familiar to all parents. Natalie was slightly alarmed, however, because at times her child seemed breathless. She consulted an online NHS symptom checker. Myla had been vomiting. Her lips were not their normal colour. And her breathing was rapid. The symptom checker recommended a hospital visit, but suggested she check first with NHS 111, the helpline for urgent medical help. To her bitter regret, Natalie followed the advice. She spoke for 40 minutes to two advisers, but they and their software failed to recognise a life-threatening situation with “red flag” symptoms, including rapid breathing and possible bile in the vomit. Myla died from an intestinal blockage the next day and could have survived with treatment. The two calls to NHS 111 before the referral to the out-of-hours service were audited. Both failed the required standards, but Natalie was told that the first adviser and the out-of-hours nurse had since been promoted. She discovered at Myla’s inquest that “action plans” to prevent future deaths had not been fully implemented. The coroner recommended that NHS 111 have a paediatric clinician available at all times. In her witness statement at her daughter’s inquest in July, Natalie said: “You’re just left with soul-destroying sadness. It is existing with a never-ending ache in your heart. The pure joy she brought to our family is indescribable.” Read full story Source: The Times, 5 January 2020
  13. News Article
    The NHS 111 helpline for urgent medical care is facing calls for an investigation after poor decision-making was linked to more than 20 deaths. Experts say that inexperienced call handlers and the software used to highlight life-threatening emergencies may not always be safe for young children. At least five have died in potentially avoidable incidents. Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: “These distressing reports suggest that existing processes did not safeguard the needs of the children in these instances.” Since 2014 coroners have written 15 reports involving NHS 111 to try to prevent further deaths. There have been five other cases where inquests heard of missed chances to save lives by NHS 111 staff; two other cases are continuing and one was subject to an NHS England investigation. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 5 January 2020
  14. News Article
    Dozens of hospital trusts have failed to act on alerts warning that patients could be harmed on its wards, The Independent newspaper has revealed. Almost 50 NHS hospitals have missed key deadlines to make changes to keep patients safe – and now could face legal action. One hospital, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust, has an alert that is more than five years past its deadline date and has still not been resolved. Now the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned it will be inspecting hospitals for their compliance with safety alerts and could take action against hospitals ignoring the deadlines. National bodies issue safety alerts to hospitals after patient deaths and serious incidents where a solution has been identified and action needs to be taken. Despite the system operating for almost 20 years, the NHS continues to see patient deaths and injuries from known and avoidable mistakes. NHS national director for safety Aidan Fowler has reorganised the system to send out fewer and simpler alerts with clear actions hospitals need to take, overseen by a new national committee. Last year the CQC made a recommendation to streamline and standardise safety alerts after it investigated why lessons were not being learnt. Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of hospitals, said: “CQC fully supports the recent introduction of the new national patient safety alerts and we have committed to looking closely at how NHS trusts are implementing these safety alerts as part of our monitoring and inspection activity.” He stressed: “Failure to take the actions required under these alerts could lead to CQC taking regulatory action.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 December 2019
  15. News Article
    Hospitals across England are using 21 separate electronic systems to record patient health care – risking patient safety, researchers suggest. A team at Imperial College say the systems cannot "talk" to each other, making cross-referencing difficult and potentially leading to "errors". Of 121 million patient interactions, there were 11 million where information from a previous visit was inaccessible. The team from London's Imperial College's Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) looked at data from 152 acute hospital trusts in England, focusing on the use of electronic medical records on the ward. Around a quarter were still using paper records. Half of trusts using electronic medical records were using one of three systems: researchers say at least these three should be able to share information. 10% were using multiple systems within the same hospital. Writing in the journal BMJ Open, the researchers say: "We have shown that millions of patients transition between different acute NHS hospitals each year. These hospitals use several different health record systems and there is minimal coordination of health record systems between the hospitals that most commonly share the care of patients." Lord Ara Darzi, lead author and co-director of the IGHI, said: "It is vital that policy-makers act with urgency to unify fragmented systems and promote better data-sharing in areas where it is needed most – or risk the safety of patients." A spokesperson for NHSX, which looks after digital services in the NHS, said: "NHSX is setting standards, so hospital and general practioner IT systems talk to each other and quickly share information, like X-ray results, to improve patient care." Read research article Read full story Souce: BBC News, 5 December 2019
  16. News Article
    Doctors and nurses must adapt their routines and improvise their actions to ensure continued patient safety, and for their roles to be effective and to matter as new technology disrupts their working practices. Research from Lancaster University Management School, published in the Journal of Information Technology, found electronic patient records brought in to streamline and improve work caused changes in the division of labour and the expected roles of both physicians and nursing staff. These changes saw disrupted working practices, professional boundaries and professional identities, often requiring complex renegotiations to re-establish these, in order to deliver safe patient care. Managers implementing these systems are often quite unaware of the unintended consequences in their drive for efficiency. Read full story Source: EurekAlert, 25 November 2019
  17. Content Article
    This is the report of Professor Ben Goldacre’s review into how the efficient and safe use of health data for research and analysis can benefit patients and the healthcare sector. It sets out a practical vision of how the Department of Health and the NHS can curate, manage and analyse the huge volume of health data available in the UK, and then communicate and use that data to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health services.
  18. Content Article
    In this blog for BJGP Life, GP and Public Health Specialty Registrar Richard Armitage looks at the patient safety implications of changes made to gender markers on patient records. Patients in the UK are able to change the gender marker on their NHS patient record on request at any time. This action triggers the creation of a new NHS number and imports the patient’s medical information into a new patient record, without any reference to the patient's previous gender identity or original NHS number. The author highlights that failure to transfer this information could inhibit high quality care for trans patients, especially with regard to population screening programmes which invite patients according to age and gender markers on their patient record. He argues that public health officials, in collaboration with their primary care colleagues, should: respectfully communicate sex-specific health risks with their trans patients encourage them to consider requesting and accessing the appropriate population screening programmes support them in accessing screening in a dignified manner.
  19. Content Article
    It is particularly important that severely immunosuppressed people receive their booster given the new dominant Omicron variant. However, this is causing some difficulties as the system does not currently distinguish between a third primary dose and a booster. This update from the Royal College of Physicians provides guidance for doctors on identifying severely immunosuppressed patients who are eligible for a booster vaccine, having already had a third primary dose.
  20. Community Post
    NHS hospital staff spend countless hours capturing data in electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems. Yet that data remains difficult to access and use to support patient care. This is a tremendous opportunity to improve patient safety, drive efficiencies and save time for frontline staff. I have just published a post about this challenge and Triscribe's solution. I would love to hear any comments or feedback on the topic... How could we use this information better? What are hospitals already doing? Where are the gaps? Thanks
  21. Community Post
    Hi everybody This is Jaione from Spain (we are in the North, Basque Region) and i am a nurse working in collaboration with the Patient Safety Team in our local NHS (Basque Health Service). First of all, I would like to congratulate the team for this hub which i think is a wonderful idea. Secondly, i would like to apologize for the language, since, although i lived in England many years ago, that is not the case anymore and I'm afraid i don't speak as well as I used to. I would like to comment a problem that we encounter very often in our organization which is related to patient's regular medications when they are admitted to hospital. We do have online prescriptions for both acute and community settings but the programs don't really speak to each other so, for example, if I take a blood pressure pill everyday and i get admitted into hospital, chances are that my blood pressure tablet won't get prescribed during my in-hospital stay. The logical thing to do would be to change both online systems so they communicate to each other, but that's not possible at the moment. I wanted to ask whether other systems have the same problem and, if so, if there is any strategy implemented to alleviate this issue. I hope i have expressed myself as clearly as possible. Thanks very much once more for this hub! Kind regards Jaione
  22. Content Article
    On the 23 January 2023 the Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield MP, announced the commencement of a rapid review into patient safety in mental health inpatient settings in England. The review Chair, Dr Geraldine Strathdee, was asked to consider how improvements could be made to the way that data and information is used in relation to patient safety in mental health inpatient care settings and pathways, including for people with a learning disability and autistic people. This report contains the findings of this review and an associated set of recommendations.
  23. Content Article
    Healthcare systems rely on self-advocacy from service users to maintain the safety and quality of care. Systemic bias, service pressures and workforce issues often deny agency to patients at times when they need to have most control over representation of their story. This drives diagnostic error, treatment delay or failure to treat important conditions. In maternal care, perinatal mental health and thrombosis are significant challenges. With funding from SBRI Health care, Ulster University and Southern Health and Social Care Trust are developing an NLP powered platform that will empower mothers to be more active agents in their perinatal care. Download the poster below.
  24. News Article
    In a bid to fight against misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines, a group of scientists from all over the world have created an online guide to building a ‘truth sandwich’. The guide serves to arm people with practical tips, up-to-date information and evidence to talk reliably about the vaccines, and enable them to constructively challenge associated myths. The scientists, led by the University of Bristol, are appealing to everyone to understand the facts set out in the 'COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook', follow the guidance and spread the word. Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, the lead author of the guide, said: “Vaccines are our ticket to freedom and communication about them should be our passport to getting everyone on board." “The way all of us refer to and discuss the COVID-19 vaccines can literally help win the battle against this devastating virus by tackling misinformation and improving uptake, which is crucial." Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 January 2021
  25. News Article
    Ministers are to legislate more powers over how data on patients is collected and are imposing a 'duty' on the NHS to share patient information when doing so would benefit the system. The Health and Social Care Act 2021 already allows for sharing of data on an individual basis but staff have reported finding it hard to share it when it comes to primary and secondary care and administrative purposes. The new draft strategy produced by NHSX, has suggested it may want to use cloud storage to create a set of “structured data records” with the idea that it would make it easier for patients to access their own data. Read full story. (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 22 June 2021
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