This mobile phone app has been developed by oncologists working with engineers at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering in Oxford ( http://www.ibme.ox.ac.uk ), together with a spin-out company, t+ Medical.
The app is for use by people with cancer who are being treated with oral chemotherapy at home, to record any side-effects or possible infections. This information is available immediately for hospital nurses to review. If a patient requires intervention from a nurse, the system generates an alert and pages the nurses. The chemotherapy dose can then be adjusted by doctors and nurses via the system, without the patient needing to attend the clinic in person.
This app is designed to fit into a patient’s lifestyle: the diary can be entered quickly whether the patient is at home, at work or on holiday. Patients take their temperature and answer a short series of questions on their mobile phone in the morning and the evening. The data is sent via an encrypted 3G link to a secure server and can be viewed by cancer nurses at the hospital. If the patient is experiencing particular side-effects, the phone displays advice on easing the symptoms. When data are received which indicate that the patient might need medical intervention (for example, showing a rise in temperature which could be caused by an infection), the system highlights the data and sends pager alerts to the nurses. A nurse is then able to contact the patient by phone and offer advice (such as recommending admission to hospital). At the regular clinic visit, after looking at the online graphs of data received over time from the patient, the doctors may decide to increase or decrease the chemotherapy dose. Dosage can therefore be fine-tuned to be as effective as possible, while taking into account the risks of side-effects.
The results of an initial clinical study of the system have been published in the scientific journal “Annals of Oncology” and the latest study (“DATACAP”) has just been completed.
For more information on this app, please see http://www.ibme.ox.ac.uk/bsp/research/healthcare-apps/ .