Can health apps damage your health?

Technology can be fantastic but every week sees the launch of a new smartphone or tablet app. If you have ever wondered just how beneficial the thousands of ‘health related’ apps are, then take a look at this article.  There are 3 things to bear in mind.

1 No app is better than a qualified medical professional

2 If you want an app, go to the more respected websites like Cochrane, NHS and Red Cross

3 No apps are currently regulated.

Eyes on Evidence newsletter: Issue 45, January 2013

NHS Evidence produces Eyes on Evidence – you can sign up to receive regular emails.

A retrospective case record review shows the number of preventable deaths in English NHS hospitals is unacceptably high, but not as high as previously estimated.
An analysis of the impact of New York City policy to restrict the use of trans fat for human consumption shows a significant fall in the trans fat content of fast food purchases, without a commensurate rise in the level of saturated fat. 
A systematic review and meta-analysis show that the molecular detection of tumour cells in regional lymph nodes is associated with an increased risk of disease recurrence and poor survival in patients with node-negative colorectal cancer.
Results of a randomised controlled trial show that offering either additional free nicotine replacement therapy or higher intensity proactive telephone counselling to people who rang a national helpline for support to stop smoking, did not increase quit rates over and above those obtained using standard helpline support. 
A Cochrane review concludes that antihypertensive drugs have not been shown to reduce mortality or morbidity in adults with mild hypertension and no previous cardiovascular events. Significantly more people taking antihypertensive treatment discontinued treatment due to adverse effects, compared with placebo. However, the review has some significant limitations. 
The QIPP Collection highlights examples of local best practice, demonstrating how NHS organisations have implemented new practices which have both cut costs and improved quality. 

Thachil J.; Whitehead G.A; Indian Journal of Pediatrics; September 2012,

Clotting screen requests in pediatrics – an article published in Indian Journal of Pediatrics, September 2012, vol./is. 79/9(1233-1235), 0019- 456;0973-7693 (September 2012)

Author(s): Thachil J.; Whitehead G.A.

Institution: (Thachil) Department of Hematology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool, L7 8XP,  (Whitehead) Department of Child Health, Macclesfield General Hospital, Macclesfield, United Kingdom
Language: English

blood sample

Abstract: Coagulation parameters are routinely requested among all age-groups in pediatrics to identify abnormalities which may contribute to bleeding manifestations or thrombotic complications. These results are vital especially in the management of sick children although in some cases, they may be helpful in identifying those with inherited bleeding disorders and to confirm or exclude non-accidental injury. Despite the usefulness of these screening tests, it is important that the professionals who are responsible for the care of children interpret the results of these tests in the most accurate manner to avoid unnecessary further investigations and inappropriate management.

Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2011.
Country of Publication: India
Publisher: Springer India (Barakhamba Road 110001, New Delhi 110 001, India)
Publication Type: Journal: Article

… K.Koss et al; Nature Genetics; October 2012,

This article “Common variants at the MHC locus and at chromosome 16q24.1 predispose to Barrett’s esophagus” was published in Nature Genetics, October 2012, vol./is. 44/10(1131-1136), 1061-4036;1546-1718 (October 2012)

Author(s): Su Z.; Gay L.J.; Strange A.; Palles C.; Band G.; Whiteman D.C.; Lescai F.; Langford C.; Nanji M.; Edkins S.; Van Der Winkel A.; Levine D.; Sasieni P.; Bellenguez C.; Howarth K.; Freeman C.; Trudgill N.; Tucker A.T.; Pirinen M.; Peppelenbosch M.P.; Van Der Laan L.J.W.; Kuipers E.J.; Drenth J.P.H.; Peters W.H.; Reynolds J.V.; Kelleher D.P.; McManus R.; Grabsch H.; Prenen H.; Bisschops R.; Krishnadath K.; Siersema P.D.; Van Baal J.W.P.M.; Middleton M.; Petty R.; Gillies R.; Burch N.; Bhandari P.; Paterson S.;
Edwards C.; Penman I.; Vaidya K.; Ang Y.; Murray I.; Patel P.; Ye W.; Mullins P.; Wu A.H.; Bird N.C.; Dallal H.; Shaheen N.J.; Murray L.J.; Koss K.;  Bernstein L.; Romero Y.; Hardie L.J.; Zhang R.; Winter H.; Corley D.A.; Panter S.; Risch H.A.; Reid B.J.; Sargeant I.; Gammon M.D.; Smart H.; Dhar A.; McMurtry H.; Ali H.; Liu G.; Casson A.G.; Chow W.-H.; Rutter M.; Tawil A.; Morris D.; Nwokolo C.; Isaacs P.; Rodgers C.; Ragunath K.; MacDonald C.; Haigh C.; Monk D.; Davies G.; Wajed S.; Johnston D.; Gibbons M.;

Abstract: Barrett’s esophagus is an increasingly common disease that is strongly associated with reflux of stomach acid and usually a hiatus hernia, and it strongly predisposes to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), a tumor with a very poor prognosis. We report the first genome-wide association study on Barrett’s esophagus, comprising 1,852 UK cases and 5,172 UK controls in the discovery stage and 5,986 cases and 12,825 controls in the replication stage. Variants at two loci were associated with disease risk: chromosome 6p21, rs9257809 (P combined = 4.09 x 10<sup>-9</sup>; odds ratio (OR) = 1.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) =1.13-1.28), within the major histocompatibility complex locus, and chromosome 16q24, rs9936833 (P combined = 2.74 x 10<sup>-10</sup>; OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.10-1.19), for which the closest protein-coding gene is FOXF1, which is implicated in esophageal development and structure. We found evidence that many common variants of small effect contribute to genetic susceptibility to Barrett’s esophagus NHS Evidence | Page 7 and that SNP alleles predisposing to obesity also increase risk for Barrett’s esophagus.

2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.
Country of Publication: United States
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group (345 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10010-1707, United States)
Publication Type: Journal: Article

BMJ Editorial: The automation of systematic reviews

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 10 January 2013)

  1. Guy Tsafnat, senior research fellow1,      Adam Dunn, research fellow1,
  2. Paul Glasziou, professor2,                          Enrico Coiera, professor1

An extract from BMJ Editorial Jan 2013 – “The Cochrane handbook stipulates that systematic reviews should be examined every two years and updated if needed,1 but time and resource constraints mean that this occurs for only a third of reviews.2 Indeed, it may take as much time to update a review as it did to produce the original review. If this effort were redirected at developing methods to automate reviews, then updating might one day become almost effortless, immediate, and universal.”

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Never Again? a book on the Health and Social Care Act 2012

Never Again? The story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 explains why and how the Act became law; from the legislation’s origins 20 years ago, through the development of the 2010 White Paper Liberating the NHS to the passage of the controversial Bill through both Houses of Parliament.

The book, published jointly by the Institute for Government and The King’s Fund, focuses on what Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, is trying to achieve through the NHS reforms and considers the role the Liberal Democrats played in introducing amendments to the legislation and passing the Bill.

Written by ex-Financial Times public policy editor Nicholas Timmins, the book discusses:

  • the fact that details of the NHS reforms remained  unclear before  the May 2010 election
  • how ‘the pause’ to the legislation came about
  • the appointment of Sir David Nicholson as chief executive designate of the NHS Commissioning Board
  • Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, reviving opposition to the Bill
  • how the coalition government helped the passage of the legislation through the House of Lords.

See the key moments that led to the Act reaching the statute book in our Health and Social Care Act timeline
Read Anna Dixon’s blog: Evolution or revolution: the story behind the Health and Social Care Act 2012

The Staff Library does not endorse this book but merely includes it here as part of further reading around The Health and Social Care Act 2012.

News from NHS Networks

NHS Networks requires free subscription before you can read any of the following articles in full.

Elearning: If you are looking for a less physically demanding alternative to gym membership in January, try our e-learning courses for practice managers looking to build a healthier, more robust business to meet the challenges of the new year.  There is a free course on CQC compliance, plus several courses on finance, employment and HR issues and primary care medical contracts.

Children and young people’s health and wellbeing in changing times
The NHS Confederation has published a report on the impact of the health reforms on children and young people’s health and wellbeing. Read more »

NHS Improvement turns spotlight on stroke
NHS Improvement has published Spotlight on Stroke.  Read more »

Health survey comes of age
The Health and Social Care Information Centre is running the annual health survey for England (HSE) for the twenty-first time.  Read more »

Action plan for improving the use of medicines and reducing waste
A report commissioned by the Department of Health looks at how the NHS is working to improve the use of medicines and tackle avoidable medicines wastage.  Read more »

Direct access to diagnostic imaging for cancer 
NHS Improvement has produced a document to help diagnostic imaging for cancer. Read more »

The health and social care ratings review  The Nuffield Trust has been commissioned by the secretary of state to review whether aggregate ratings of provider performance should be used in health and social care.  Read more »

National continence survey
The all party parliamentary group (APPG) for continence care is pushing to make integrated services more widely available to all age groups, and also to help break the taboo which prevents individuals seeking and receiving medical attention. Read more »

Key performance indicators for improving access to psychological therapies
Latest figures from the NHS Information Centre.  Read more »

Smoking campaign gets under way
The Department of Health has launched a new campaign to encourage smokers to quit in the new year.  Read more »

Making integrated out of hospital care a reality
This report discusses the foundations for integrated care for adults, children and young people, with a focus on implementing out of hospital care, and connecting primary, community and social care. Read more »

Primary care IT services operating model published The NHS Commissioning Board has published a document setting out how the management of IT systems will be organised for primary care providers (dentists, pharmacists and optometrists) from April 2013.  Read more »

New child abuse alert system for hospitals announced  Hospitals will have a new system to help doctors and nurses spot children suffering from abuse and neglect, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has announced.  Read more »

Lessons learned from the hospital pathways programme The hospital pathways programme aims to improve both processes of care and interactions between staff and patients through a collaborative programme involving five acute trusts, the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation to apply techniques, not widely used in the NHS.  Read more »

Allied health professionals bulletin – December 2012
December edition of the Allied health professionals bulletin.   Read more »

Cancer services coming of age report published   The cancer services coming of age report has been published.   Read more »

NHS funding transfer to local authorities
The Department of Health has written to the NHS Commissioning Board with provisional information on the transfer of £859m in 2013/14 to from the NHS to local authorities.  Read more »

Transforming end of life care in acute hospitals
A short report reflecting the views from a focus group complements progress reports from acute trusts involved in the transform programme pilot.
Read more »

NHS Commissioning Assembly: next steps
The NHS Commissioning Board has published further information about the NHS Commissioning Assembly, the community of leaders for NHS commissioning.  Read more »

Payment by results 2013/14 road test package   The road test exercise provides an opportunity for the service to test out the new tariff and supports the planning process. Read more »

Advance care planning toolkit   A team at the National End of Life Care Programme (NEoLCP) has developed an advance care planning toolkit to help care providers approach the planning process with confidence and knowledge.  Read more »