Digital Health Age: Weekly news roundup

Digital Health Age takes a look at some of the biggest stories that have emerged over the course of the past week.


Held ransom

UK security officials believe they know who caused the WannaCry ransomware attack that was launch in May.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) state that the Lazarus hacking group is behind the cyberware attack that spread across the world and crippled a high number of NHS trusts.

The hacking group are notably known for its apparent attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014.

When the WannaCry cyberattack launched, many suspected Lazarus of conducting the attack with many reports pointing towards activity in North Korea.

The cyberattack raised issues about the NHS’ IT infrastructure and the underfunding and lack of staff training that exacerbated the situation. The attack caused trusts to cancel appointments and staff were forced to use pen and paper as computers were taken offline.

Whilst the NCSC is confident that Lazarus conducted the attack, Pyongyang’s involvement in ordering the attack in uncertain.


London goes tech mad

London Tech Week was launched on Monday by the capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. When launching the event Khan unveiled a £1.6 plan that will help 100 small business in London deliver low-carbon and clean-tech products in an attempt to fight climate change and pollution.

The mayor spoke about his passion for the UK capital and his hopes of making London the world’s leading ‘Smart City’.

Speaking at the launch, Khan said: “As Mayor of this great city – the best city in the world – it fills me with pride to see our tech sector thriving. New technologies are having an enormous impact on our way of life – reshaping our societies, our economies and our culture.”

“My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world’s leading smart city”.

During the week the tech community was called on to help tackle health problems in the city.

200 entrepreneurs came together at the HealthTech Innovators Conference to examine ways that technology can help problems such as air pollution, diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and cardiovascular diseases.

Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor for business, said: “London is Europe’s leading tech hub: our talent, diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and global connections put us at the heart of advances in digital technology. At the same time London faces a hugely pressing environmental challenge in cleaning up our air – more than 9,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to related illnesses.

“The Mayor is implementing the boldest and most ambitious package of measures of any global city to clean up London’s filthy air and we’re looking to the capital’s tech community to come up with smarter, more accessible ways for people to manage and improve their health.”


Time for bed

In other news a sleep-tracking startup which raised over $40 million has announced it is shutting down.

Hello was founded by James Proud in 2012 and went on to develop the Sense home sleeping monitor after raising $1.9 via Kickstarter. Sense is a sleep tracker that sits on the user’s bedside to encourage use. It also comes with a small sensor that attaches to the user’s pillow and an app for viewing sleep patterns and ratings.

The company confirmed it is shutting down but is still trying to find a home for Sense. Talking about the future of Sense, Proud said the company is ‘working hard to ensure that it does not’ shutdown.

There are no details on why the company is shutting down but it could be that competition from larger tech companies such as Apple – who recently purchased sleep tracking company Beddit – and Withings, which offers a similar product are proving too fierce of competitors.


New beginnings

Life sciences organisations MedCity and the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) have called upon the newly formed government to reinstate a life sciences minister.

The position was created in 2014 by David Cameron but since 2016 has been allocated across several different ministerial portfolios.

MedCity and the NHSA are now calling upon the government to reinstate the position.

Dr Hakim Yadi, CEO of the NHSA said: “After a turbulent year the new government must act swiftly to reassure industry of its commitment to supporting life sciences through an economic strategy for growth.

“As a priority to guide the sector the new government should reinstate the post of life sciences minister. The life sciences sector has been hampered on delivering important projects because of uncertainty, post-EU referendum, which has seen a series of policy implementations pushed back with a resultant stifling effect on the economy.

“There is an opportunity with Brexit for new approaches to regulation and greater collaboration with the Commonwealth and other countries. To minimise any negative impact we are calling on the new government to re-instate a life sciences minister, as a priority to guide the industry.”







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