New technology could extend cancer survival by up to five months

Funding announced for two innovative Scottish tech projects that will give clinicians real-time symptom updates to inform decision-making

OWise is an app which provides clinicians with a real-time view of patient-reported outcomes for for breast cancer patients

Cancer patients in Scotland could soon be able to share their symptoms with their medical teams in real time using new technology after two new projects each received a £100,000 award to progress to the second phase of the prestigious Cancer Innovation Challenge.

Enabling cancer patients to share symptoms as they happen has been proven to improve treatment options and increase survival rates by up to five months.

The two projects record so-called Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) and integrate them with NHS technology systems.

Enabling cancer patients to record symptoms such as pain, nausea or tiredness as they experience them gives doctors a more-accurate understanding of their condition and how they are responding to treatment.

Getting accurate information from patients about their symptoms at the time they are experiencing them is core to this. This is particularly pertinent for people with cancer. How they feel really matters

The tools will enhance cancer patients’ experiences during treatment, potentially improving their life expectancy and also delivering longer-term insights into the effectiveness of different treatments for clinicians.

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, said: “Ensuring the person receiving care is at the centre of medical decision making is crucial.

“Getting accurate information from patients about their symptoms at the time they are experiencing them is core to this. This is particularly pertinent for people with cancer. How they feel really matters.

“Patient-reported outcomes (PROs), using innovative tools such as these, will enable doctors to weigh-up risks and benefits of treatments.

“It takes the pressure off the patient having to remember how they felt a week or two ago when they are coming in for their next appointment.

“Using such tools has the potential to enhance the quality of life for patients while they are going through treatment.

“Ultimately, it is about improving services, treatments and outcomes for people with cancer.”

OWise is an app developed by Px HealthCare specifically for breast cancer patients.

It will include a specific notification which nudges patients to contact the Cancer Treatment Helpline in reaction to certain symptoms in a bid to address Scots’ reticence to ‘be a bother’.

Crucially, the OWise tool, which provides clinicians with a real-time view of patient-reported outcomes, will be able to be integrated with TrakCare – a patient management system widely used throughout NHS Scotland.

My Clinical Outcomes is a web-platform used to collect and analyse variation in patient-reported outcomes

Px is currently developing the tool in partnership with NHS Lothian and has had patient feedback via engagement with Maggie’s Centres cancer charity.

My Clinical Outcomes (MCO) is a web-platform used to collect and analyse variation in patient-reported outcomes.

It has been tailored for patients in Scotland with any cancer type and will be piloted with haematological cancer patients at NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Using MCO, patients answer regular assessments and track the impact of their condition on their life through a personal dashboard. Clinicians can immediately access this valuable new information about the effectiveness of treatment to inform ongoing clinical decisions.

The solution has been designed to include guidance from Macmillan Cancer Support and is interoperable with Orion Healthcare, another well-established clinical portal used in Scotland.

Both now have six months to further develop their prototypes and further demonstrate their benefits and roll-out potential.

Using such tools has the potential to enhance the quality of life for patients while they are going through treatment

Professor Andy Mount, dean of research at College of Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, and chairman of the strategic management board of the Cancer Innovation Challenge, said: “We congratulate those successful companies in the Phase 2 competition and look forward to the development of their technologies, to address the opportunity of harnessing data to drive innovation in cancer treatment in Scotland.”

The Cancer Innovation Challenge aims to inspire novel data and technology innovations to help Scotland become a world leader in cancer care.

It is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and delivered by three Scottish innovation centres, led by The Data Lab and supported by the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI) and Stratified Medicine Scotland (SMS).

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