Roundup: NHS COVID-19 app shows phantom alerts, digital interventions for children’s mental health and more briefs

By | October 16, 2020


Users have complained of ‘scary and confusing’ pop up alerts from the NHS COVID-19 app, suggesting exposure to the virus and then disappearing.

The messages read: “Possible COVID-19 exposure. Someone you were near reported having COVID-19. Exposure date, duration and signal strength have been saved.”

It was later revealed that the messages are a default privacy notification from the contact tracing technology providers, Apple and Google.

The app has now been updated to fix the issue and a follow-up message from the government will tell people to ignore them.  

The app is targeted at users living in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland have an app of their own and have not experienced phantom messages.


A survey of NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in England has highlighted the ways digital literacy is impacting the adoption of digital interventions to support child mental health during the pandemic.

The survey of 135 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in England carried out by BfB Labs, an organisation focused on evidence-based digital therapeutics for children and young people, shows that:

  • Almost 4 out of 10 (36.36 %) of CAMHS have not adopted any new digital mental health tools to support children in need of mental health support since the onset of COVID-19.
  • The majority (63.64 %) of NHS CAMHS are signposting children and young people (CYP) to an online resource – rather than a proven digital intervention.
  • 45.4 % of NHS CAMHS believe digital therapeutics have a role to play in early intervention support.
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A limited knowledge of available digital interventions, cost, and a lack of clinical evidence were cited as the top three barriers for integrating new digital therapeutics.


By implementing InterSystems TrakCare for electronic observations, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS FT is on target to reduce costs by up to a quarter of a million pounds and save nurses an average of almost 10 weeks of time a year.

This has allowed the trust to automate observations and made them accessible in one single point of view for a clinician in the hospital or care setting, improving the speed and accuracy of decision making.

The system also automatically calculates early warning scores, the metric nurses and doctors use to assess whether a patient is deteriorating and when it passes a certain threshold, triggers emergency intervention.


A platform for public sector engagement, Refero has partnered with Microsoft UK and Sota Consulting Group to integrate services with Microsoft Teams.

The integration is backed by Azure Communication Services, a new feature that allows developers to add voice and video calls and text messages to their apps.

The new partnership will bring NHS trusts and practitioner practice to Refero’s healthcare and social care partners.

The 1.2 million staff across the NHS organisation who are currently using Microsoft Teams under the Microsoft 365 national contract will now have access to the Refero teleconsultation platform and will be fully integrated for video consultations processing and message response.


Eight NHS trusts across Greater Manchester have signed a contract with medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra.

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The partnership will give radiologists and specialists access to medical imaging technology, such as x-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, MRI scans and other diagnostic images, and facilitate faster diagnoses for patients.

The region-wide platform, known as a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), will be implemented in the cloud by Greater Manchester’s medical imaging partner Sectra alongside a system known as a vendor neutral archive (VNA).

The move will replace an ageing system and is expected to support 3.2 million people in the geographical reach of the Greater Manchester Cancer programme, making it one of the largest imaging programmes of its kind in the NHS.


Healthcare tech providers, Ascom and Person Centred Software have announced the extension of their joint contract, following a successful first year in partnership.  

Ascom and Person Centred Software first announced their partnership in June 2019, signing a £2.67 million joint contract to provide 7,800 smartphones to care home staff. Under the agreement, Ascom UK’s Myco 3 smartphone became the standard device for staff in over 1,200 care homes using Person Centred Software’s mobile care monitoring products.

The device allows staff to digitally plan, record and monitor the care of residents in near real-time, saving carers time usually spent on paperwork and admin.

The software was recently awarded ‘Best COVID-19 Software Solution’ in the Health Tech Digital Awards 2020.

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