Forte Medical joins ABHI UK Healthcare Pavilion

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) recently launched the UK Healthcare Pavilion, a single platform to unite MedTech companies with the UK healthcare sectors, both NHS and private. Forte Medical is very happy to have joined such an august and respected portfolio of companies, providers and innovators.  Our entry features films about our technology featuring advocates, policy makers, healthcare professionals and the AHSN Network. Click here to view.

Antibiotics and urinary tract infections

Antibiotics, better tests, UTI: Guardian publishes Forte response

A rise in persistent UTIs could be linked to antibiotic crackdown appeared in The Guardian on Saturday 5th October. As usual, no-one mentioned accurate basic specimen collection, which can lead to unwarranted specimen quality variation, failed analysis and less-than-targeted prescribing. Giovanna Forte had something to say. Click here to read her published letter.

Comment: The Basic Diagnostic Failure That Affects 1 in 3 Women

Its time to reignite our NHS! Now our beloved health system has been blessed with new funding, we can furnish every hospital and GP practice with the latest digital technology and AI. We can burnish the reputations of our healthcare leaders because they have modernized patient care. 

It seems it is so much easier to spend new money, than it is to fix a failing system. Yet while this exciting digital revolution takes place, the Department of Health and NHS continue to fail 15m patients every year, whilst flushing £1.2bn of public funds down the loo. This is more than a shame; it’s a scandal.

There is one basic diagnostic process which is not as sexy as glittering new tech. It doesn’t excite our healthcare commentators. It will not invest our clinical leadership with shiny accolades that add kudos to reputation. It will not be covered by the media because it’s a waste product that no one really likes to talk about. Yet this waste product carries as much, if not more diagnostic clues to our health as its counterpart, blood. We need to talk about urine.

“If you don’t make the effort to collect the urine specimen properly, all the clever stuff you do later is pretty pointless. It’s a case of rubbish in, rubbish out,” says a Senior Microbiologist at Barts’ Heath NHS Trust. “The need for change is likely to be politically driven, rather than scientifically.”  The science is evident, the political will is not.

The lack of any protocol for urine collection is causing persistent, widespread and expensive diagnostic failure that starts in the GP surgery. For unreliable frontline diagnoses lead to critical conditions, hospital admissions, and expensive, complex treatment, not to mention the millions of patients who continue to suffer. This is not the fault of our hardworking and overstretched GPs and frontline nursing staff.  It is our healthcare leaders who persistently overlook the need to make urine analysis and treatment right-first-time.

Take urinary tract infection (UTI), a condition largely suffered by women. The last relevant data to come out of the NHS Unplanned Admissions Committee cites untreated UTI as the cause of 184,000 unplanned hospital admissions that cost the NHS £434m to treat (2013/14). This is hardly surprising when we know that 20-30% of initial antibiotic prescribing for UTI fails (Chronic Urinary Tract Infection Campaign CUTIC).

The majority of these annual 15m diagnostic failures will relate to women, who with UTI, suffer the most pain, most time off work and loss of income, whilst being prescribed the highest rate of broad-spectrum antibiotics, putting us firmly in the front line of antibiotic immunity. The need for a robust protocol around urine analysis has become critical. Data from CUTIC tells us that:

  • 1.4m women suffer from chronic bladder pain and urinary dysfunction
  • 1 in 3 women will have a UTI by the age of 24
  • 50% of dipstick tests don’t detect infection
  • 70% of infections risk recurrence within a year
  • 47% of Gram-negative blood infections have a urinary source and can lead to potentially fatal sepsis

NHS Improvement advises that 50% of the global rise in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has a urinary cause; yet our health service still routinely relies on unreliable dipstick tests to indicate infection, leading to broad spectrum antibiotics remaining the first prescribing port of call; for the pregnant woman this is highly undesirable as it can extend life-long risk of antibiotic immunity to the unborn child.

Overuse of antibiotics is directly linked to the lack of a protocol for urine collection, transportation and analysis. National contamination rates are as high as 70% in some areas of the country, a postcode lottery situation that fails patients, microbiologists and the clinicians whose job it is to make people better. Non-invasive and cheap to collect, urine can help diagnose myriad conditions that cost the NHS billions of pounds. They include:

  • Kidney stones, infection and disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Liver disease
  • Pre-eclampsia and other potentially serious pregnancy related conditions

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Professor Tim Briggs, founding father of the Department of Health’s NHS Getting It Right First Time programme (GIRFT) both cite the need to eliminate variation in national diagnosis and treatment. We must challenge them to make the changes necessary to this most basic diagnostic process, to save lives, save money and create a solid foundation upon which the evolution of diagnostic medicine can flourish.

Right now, the best digital diagnostic technology in the world that relies on urine, won’t work. If the basics are right, the rest can follow. If they are not, then Mr Hancock and Professor Briggs … keep on flushing.

Forte Medical: Series A investment growth round is open

This week saw the launch of Forte Medical’s Series A investment round for growth, export and new product development. Seeking £3.5m, the company is engaging with prospective investment partners who can attract investors with an interest in evidenced, disruptive diagnostic medical devices with digital potential.

Institutional, corporate or personal investors who can assist the business long term are seen as the most promising and attractive partners. For more information, contact our CEO Giovanna Forte.

Giovanna Forte on TV

Disruptive TV: Giant Live Health Innovators

Barry Shrier, Founder of annual health innovation event Giant Live, presents the third Disruptor Giant Health Innovators TV interview featuring Giovanna Forte, CEO of Forte Medical, Francis White from AliveCor, Dr Sophie Bostoc​k of Sleepio and Etienne Bourdon from Healthy Health. Watch the half-hour programme here with Disruptive Live

Urine sample collection

Trends in Urology & Men’s Health: solving the problem of contaminated urine samples

Despite its importance, there is no standard for urine collection. In this article the author, Professor Frank Chinegwundoh, discusses the problem of inadequate samples and describes a collection system that can help. Visit the Jan-Feb issue of Trends in Urology & Men’s Health.

Antibiotics

New research: AMR and children’s E.coli

Antibiotic resistance in children’s E. coli, a bacteria that is the most common cause of urinary tract infection, is high against many antibiotics commonly prescribed in primary care and could make them ineffective as first-line treatments, warns a study led by researchers at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London.

Ashley Bryce, Céire Costelloe, Mandy Wootton, Christopher C Butler, Alastair D Hay; Comparison of risk factors for, and prevalence of, antibiotic resistance in contaminating and pathogenic urinary Escherichia coli in children in primary care: prospective cohort study, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, , dkx525, https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkx525

Why is a contaminant-free urine sample is important?

Doctors can tell a lot about your health from your urine sample, if taken properly.

Insightful piece by Rob Eley and Michael Sinnott from The University of Queensland

Read the full article: The Conversation

Preventing Infections and Reducing AMR

An advocate and active player in healthcare infection prevention, we will participating at the Knowlex Infection Prevention and Control 2018 exhibition being held on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at The Brewery, London EC1Y 4SD.    It is the event to hear more about  the latest research, science, innovation and discover real-world solutions in the challenge against infection prevention  Further event information can be found here.

Preventing Infections and Reducing AMR

We have been talking prevention for some time so are pleased to see this report from Public Health England advocating right-first-time devices.

Read the full summary here