NHS England Has Introduced Six New Medical Innovations

3D render of a robot with nuts and bolts

The National Health Service (NHS) England has announced new innovations in the realm of medicine to be included in a new fast track payment system. These include an app to improve self-management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), angled scissors to reduce tears during episiotomy, and new treatments for Clostridium difficile infection and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

These medical innovations and technological improvements aim to provide better access to revolutionary medical innovations by eliminating the need for multiple local price negotiations and providing guaranteed automatic reimbursement. The NHS will be able to negotiate bulk buy price discounts for medical facilities such as hospitals and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

NHS will be closely monitoring the tariff’s impact on improving patient’s health outcomes and improved coherence throughout the NHS. The organization has gone on to say that it isn’t done just yet and people can expect more technologies to be released in the future via the Academic Health Science Networks.

The Academic Health Science Networks are organizations aimed to improve patient outcomes by improving healthcare and driving economic conditions. There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England established by NHS in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale, aimed at improving health and accelerating economic growth. Due to a strong infrastructure spread across various regions of England, accessing and sharing of information is done quite effectively.

Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, was quite proud of the recent discoveries and had this to say, “The NHS has a proud track record of world firsts in medical innovation, but getting wide uptake has often been far too slow. Our new payment system brings clarity on fast track funding to get groundbreaking new treatments and technologies to NHS patients. Many of them not only improve care but will save the NHS money too.”

Stevens also announced separate central funding for CCGs to buy mobile electrocardiograph (ECG) devices that patients can use to identify and measure atrial fibrillation. This technique is economically feasible and easily accessible since it can allow for systematic mass screening, given that the condition was silent in around two thirds of newly diagnosed cases, according to a new research.

Atrial fibrillation is linked with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure and death, and its presence is likely to increase threefold by 2050 in the US. It becomes more common as a person gets older, especially after the age of 65.

The six innovations are:

  • Web Based Applications For The Self-Management Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Software for the self-management of COPD can improve the quality of life for patients living with COPD. They give patients the ability to manage their condition by making sure patients are effectively using their inhalers, enable effective selfcare and enable face to face pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

COPD is a progressive respiratory disease which makes it hard for a patient to breathe properly. The disease, as it worsens, is characterized by chest tightness, coughing with large amounts of mucus, shortness of breath and wheezing.

COPD is caused largely due to tobacco smoking and exposure to lung irritants contained in air pollution and dust. As a person inhales toxic air, they are exposed to these irritants which can lead to serious damage to their lungs.

This toxic air crosses through the windpipe into the bronchial tubes of the lungs, leading to the numerous smaller tubes called bronchioles which further branch into alveoli. These tiny air sacs have a network of blood capillaries which run along them for gaseous exchange into and out of the bloodstream. This toxic exchange can lead to ephesema.

  • Prostatic Urethral Lift Systems To Treat Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

An alternative surgical procedure for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a common and chronic condition where the enlarged prostate can make it difficult for a man to smoothly pass urine, which can lead to urinary tract infections and urinary retention, which can further lead to renal failure in extreme cases. BPH usually occurs in older men.

This is an alternative to existing surgical treatments – TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) or laser surgeries which can be quite invasive and risky. These existing treatments involve cutting away or removing existing tissue, require an average hospital stay of 3 days and often catheterization for many days post-surgery. Therefore they are not ideal, especially for older men or someone who has a weak immune system, due to high risk of post-surgery infections.

The new procedure introduced by NHS uses adjustable, permanent implants to pull excess prostatic tissue away so that it does not narrow or block the urethra. after the operation is finished, patients can return home after just a couple of hours, usually without a catheter, and follow-up is easy to carry out over a telephone.

Patients have significantly fewer side effects, undoubtedly the most significant being a zero percent risk of permanent sexual dysfunction and post-operative complications, such as infection and bleeding. The procedure is increasingly carried out under a local anesthetic.

  • Guided Mediolateral Episiotomy Scissors To Minimize The Risk Of Obstetric Injury

Approximately 15% of births in England require the woman to have an episiotomy, a surgical cut in the perineum. Out of these 15% women, around 25% experience a medical complication called obstetric anal sphincter injury, which causes anal leakage and which may require reconstructive surgery.

Using angled scissors during childbirth reduces the risk of this life changing complication. Preventing these injuries drastically increases the quality of lives of new mothers who have undergone this medical procedure. Reducing lawsuit charges by 50% alone could save the NHS in the region £23.5million ($30million).

  • Atrial Connecting Systems To Reduce Bacterial Contamination And The Accidental Administration Of Medication

Although rare, accidental injection of intravenous medication into an atrial line can lead to serious medical consequences which can in some cases require extreme amputation surgeries. Innovations focused on minimizing such risks will extensively increase patient safety in NHS hospitals.

  • Pneumonia Prevention Systems Aimed To Prevent Ventilator Related Pneumonia

100,000 patients are put on ventilators in the UK critical care units each year and about 10-20% are at risk of contracting ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP).

Patients who are admitted for severe head trauma or extreme neurological diseases are at higher risk of developing VAP. It is important to note that VAP’s symptoms are different from commonly acquired pneumonia.

Between 3,000 and 6,000 people die from VAP annually and better preventive methods can potentially save thousands of lives. VAP treatment costs the NHS approximately between £10,000 to £20,000 ($12,500 to $25,000) per patient. Total cost savings for the NHS are approximately over £100 million ($125 million).

  • Frozen Microbiota Transplantation For Recurrent Clostridium Difficile Infection Rates

Fecal microbiota transplantation is a treatment for clostridium difficile infection, which causes diarrhea like symptoms caused by Clostridium difficile bacterium. It is an effective alternative to antibiotic treatment for CDI at a comparable cost. High cure rates, estimated to be 90%, and reduced use of antibiotics equals a win-win scenario for patients and the NHS.

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