We are a multi-disciplinary specialist cancer providers engaging in innovation using digital technology to improve patient centred care, in collaboration with a world-renowned computer engineering department in London, as part of the open source community.
‘my cancer assisT” is a series
of evolving innovative web based technologies developed by a specialist
multidisciplinary cancer team in collaboration with a world renowned computer
science department in London, to provide patients and their family and carers
with up-to-date relevant information and support about their cancer using
innovative digital technology.
The aim is to give patients more control over their health and well-being and a greater understanding of their medical condition, treatments and complications. This will better equip patients to manage their symptoms, reinforce when to seek medical advice and help and give them greater confidence at a time when their life has been turned upside down.
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, their world is turned upside down. They are often bombarded with paper-based information and signposted to generic websites, without clear guidance of what relates to them. Throughout the ongoing patient journey, information delivery is often patchy and limited by physician time. This has been formally acknowledged in the 2014 National Cancer Patient Survey, which reported that patient information provision is often suboptimal.
Provision of high quality, consistent and easily accessible information is vital in the management of cancer patients. As a solution, we have developed a prototype web-based application that provides clear and accessible personalised patient information.
The prototype is a password-protected web-based application, connected to the patient visit history. Personalised information and data e-cards can be developed, accessed and uploaded centrally at any time for patient review by the identified clinical team. This can include treatment information, contact details, letters, treatment summaries, photos and web-links. The App is functional regardless of mobile device and has strict access controls for privacy and security. All content is updated real-time with the latest version for all end users. The patient interface is simple and intuitive and can be adapted for use by other departments.
There are currently no other existing applications which support personalised patient information delivery including patient letters and consultation summaries that are linked directly to the timeline of the patient journey.
A demo of Pathways can be viewed below:
Optimising the nutrition of patients with cancer is key to successfully supporting delivery of chemotherapy, targeted therapies, radiotherapy and preparing those patients for major surgery. In a cancer setting, improved delivery of effective nutritional support could help patients tolerate their treatment better, reduce breaks in their treatment, reduce hospital admissions and improve overall quality of life.
Currently the nutrition team base their recommendations on snap shot information captured in busy clinics relying on patients providing a retrospective account of their symptoms. This makes it impossible to accurately quantify intake, assess dietary adequacy and establish a clear link with symptoms.
As a solution we have created APPetite, which captures real time information on dietary intake and symptoms for patients receiving treatment under the oncology team, linked with goals defined by the nutrition team to allow for medical optimisation. APPetite allows the user to enter nutrition related symptoms, weight, record daily fluid intake on a mobile device/desktop/computer to quantify their daily nutrient and fluid intake against their daily requirements. The integrated flagging system in APPetite alerts users when their nutrient and/or fluid intake fall below a defined safe threshold. This will identify patients requiring intervention earlier and could subsequently help reduce emergency hospital admissions. The interface was designed to be simple and user friendly. APPetite is password protected to ensure privacy and security. Only permitted members of the clinical team will have remote access to the information recorded.
APPetite will facilitate more effective patient-dietitian consultations and improve delivery of timely and more effective nutritional support and symptom management to patients. It will help to inform and empower patients by providing access to a monitoring tool for their nutritional care and enable them to know when to seek timely help. APPeite could also be used to better support patients’ nutrition as part of the survivorship initiative after completion of treatment.
There are currently no other existing applications available supporting patients needs directed at optimizing nutrient intake in a clinical setting that also incorporate clinical information into determining the user’s goals.
Both prototypes were recently presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Annual Conference 2015 and EHI Live 2015, attracting significant attention and support.
Next steps for both projects
We are now looking to secure funding, server access and developer collaboration following liaison with the Code 4 Health community, in order to create a functional app ready for further testing and refinement.
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Community Lead: Sarah Payne, Honorary Medical Oncology Consultant, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
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