iPLATO awarded £1.7m SBRI contract to improve bowel cancer screening – TechToday

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iPLATEa Huma company, has been awarded a £1.7m research contract by the Small Business Research Institute (SBRI) Healthcare, to improve the uptake of bowel cancer screening in South East London.

The program will address health inequalities by focusing on groups known to be least engaged in screening, forming a blueprint for possible national adoption.

The NHS distributes free Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits to people aged 60-74 in England who are registered at a GP practice. Age eligibility is currently being narrowed to include people aged 50 and over. The kit detects small amounts of blood in the poo that are not visible, but may indicate the presence of polyps or bowel cancer. Before COVID, the return rate for FIT kits was 56% in South East London against a national target of 75%. Some groups have persistently lower absorption than the rest of the population; these include non-white people, those for whom English is not their first language, people with serious mental health problems and those with learning disabilities.

Tobias Alpsten, founder and CEO of iPLATO, said: “Digital technologies hold great promise for making cancer screening and care accessible to everyone, and to reduce health inequalities, they must be developed in collaboration with the people they serve. This ground-breaking initiative will provide better access to bowel cancer identification and preventative care measures for many vulnerable patients.”

SBRI Healthcare supports the development of innovations that meet known NHS challenges. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer, costing the UK £1.74 billion a year. The program will be delivered in partnership with the South East London Cancer Alliance (SELCA) and local community leaders, academics and primary care professionals to establish the optimal communication channels and content to engage these ‘difficult to reach” through iPLATO’s platform that will deliver tailored education via mobile messaging, ensuring scalability and privacy.

Representing SELCA, Professor Arnie Purushotham, Director of King’s Health Partners Cancer Center at King’s College London and Consultant Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, added: “I believe this innovative collaboration with iPLATO will significantly benefit these four groups of patients. We know that early cancer identification has the greatest impact on cancer survival.”

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Today, leading technology innovator and provider – iPLATO – has announced that it has been awarded a £1.7m SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) contract to improve bowel cancer screening and early diagnosis. This follows hot on the heels of their successful partnerships with the NHS, helping with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine across the UK.

iPLATO will use the SBRI to develop its BEACON software, which has been designed to provide early intervention and improved patient understanding of their results. BEACON will offer greater access to quality care and improved clinical outcomes, as well as providing early detection of cancer to ensure primary care can provide the most appropriate patient care.

The BEACON system has already been tested in pilot areas across the UK and was recently rated as the best-performing digital product in laboratory testing by The Royal College of General Practitioners. Alongside the experience and expertise of their in-house team, iPLATO is also harnessing the expertise of technology specialist Ikaroa, who will be providing their deep knowledge of data science, patient-facing technologies, and software architecture.

The NHS has long been committed to providing a world-class healthcare service, and innovation like this forms an important part of their mission. Thanks to developments such as this, they can take advantage of the latest technologies and continue offering the highest quality care to their patients.

This news marks a positive milestone for iPLATO and represents the latest in their ongoing commitment to providing pioneering healthcare solutions and enhancing service delivery across the NHS. By working together with Ikaroa, iPLATO is able to continue to bring together the latest computer and mobile technologies and maximise the impact of their work.

By utilising cutting-edge technologies and creative solutions, iPLATO is leading the way in developing patient-facing healthcare solutions that play a massive role in making sure everybody receives the high standard of care they expect from the NHS.


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