Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are effective treatments for cancer but can cause a range of unpleasant side effects, some of which need to be treated quickly. NHS Dorset wanted to better support patients in between hospital visits, by giving them advice and support at home.
Patients at Poole Hospital undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment are piloting a new remote care service that monitors their progress and helps them manage symptoms at home. The service aims to improve patient safety with timely self-care advice and early access to hospital if required.
Patients are supplied with easy-to-use devices such as blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters and asked to submit regular observations for analysis. If any readings fall out of range, clinicians are alerted. Patients also complete a questionnaire about their symptoms three times a week.
Oncology Monitoring @ Home uses the award-winning Inhealthcare platform to connect patients with clinicians via a choice of digitally inclusive communication channels including mobile app, website or automated telephone call.
A recent European study published by The BMJ found that remote monitoring can provide a safe, secure and real-time system that optimises symptom management and supports cancer patients to remain at home.
The service has received excellent feedback from both clinicians and patients and following a detailed evaluation, the aim is to role the service out across Dorset.
Verbal feedback from the programme includes:
- Clinical teams can quickly determine patients who are unwell or having side effects of the treatment, prioritising care to those that need it most.
- Time is saved as clinical teams no longer have to call each patient and gather large amounts of information, saving time and administrative workload.
- Thorough monitoring means patients feel supported.
“This innovative system designed by patients and oncology teams should provide patients with early advice at the onset of symptoms to empower a patient to safely manage milder symptoms at home or, when symptoms are more significant, to seek urgent advice from the acute oncology hotline service.”
Dr Amélie Harle, oncology consultant and clinical lead for the programme at NHS Dorset
“For me, the service is accessible, usable and I’d be grateful to receive it.”
Sheila Soper, a 74-year-old cancer patient
“Remote monitoring can enhance care, improve safety and increase quality of life for cancer patients. We’re delighted to be working with NHS Dorset which is using our tried-and-tested technology to help boost health outcomes.”
Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare