The University of Surrey researchers have launched a telemedicine project for remote monitoring of cancer-patients undergoing chemo to treat breast, bowel and blood cancers.
Called the eSMART (for Electronic Symptom Management using the Advanced Symptom Management System Remote Technology) will enable patients to immediately report side-effects they experience as a result of the treatment.
The information sent via a smartphone will be securely collected into a hub computer that will automatically assess the symptoms and alert the medical personnel immediately if the need arises.
“Over 3 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Europe and it is likely that this number will increase by at least 65 per cent over the next 20 years,” said Nora Kearney, Professor of Cancer Care at the University of Surrey and eSMART's Principal Investigator.
“Given this predicted increase, the need for personalised cancer care is becoming even more crucial. Our system will give patients continual support both during and after chemotherapy, while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own homes.”
The system also provides patients with real-time information and advice on how to manage their symptoms at home, without the need to travel to hospital.
Researchers believe that using ASyMS will reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and help to identify and treat those which are life-threatening much quicker than current care systems. In addition, it is anticipated that the use of ASyMS will significantly reduce healthcare costs.
A €6m (£4m) grant from the European Union will fund a large 1,000 patient trial in England, Austria, Greece, Holland, Ireland and Norway, with the hope that the new system will be integrated into routine cancer care in the future.