Cancer services are struggling to deal with backlogs, workforce shortages, and escalating costs which are impacting cancer survival rates. Over 10,000 people with suspected cancer are currently waiting more than 104 days to see a clinician and a recent report showed 25% of people diagnosed in the past two years have lacked specialist cancer nursing support during their treatment. Almost half (44%) said this led to being unsure about what treatment side effects they should be looking out for or how to take their medication.
The digital solution empowering patients during cancer treatment
In February 2022, Careology worked with Nuffield Health to demonstrate how cancer care could be improved through the use of connected remote monitoring and engagement technology.
As part of the partnership, cancer patients at Nuffield Health Derby Hospital had access to a fully digital care support solution, allowing them to track their symptoms, vital signs and wellbeing measures. Patients logged their symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting within Careology. They could also log metrics such as heart rate or physical activity by connecting it to a wearable device such as a smartwatch. This gave patients the ability to monitor their own health and better understand their own cancer journey. On average over 65% of the patients who used the Careology app each month logged how they were doing and engaged in self-care.
Identifying symptoms early can prevent patients from deteriorating and, as referenced in a recent study, tracking these electronically can improve quality of life. Careology’s remote monitoring technology enabled Nuffield Health’s nurses to look after their patients in a safe, scalable and efficient manner through a dashboard as part of Careology Professional. Nurse engagement data reported a 100% adoption rate of Careology Professional.
Providing a better patient experience
Using real-time insights through patient-reported data available in the platform, Nuffield Health’s cancer care teams were able to work out which patients were most in need, while the virtual ward view enabled nurses, pharmacists and clinicians to provide a more personalised and connected patient experience. Nursing staff benefitted from this increased visibility into how the patient was coping and could monitor the effect it had on their quality of life. This added layer of visibility about the patient’s life as they progress through treatment meant that nurses could react quickly if there was an issue.
The digitisation of questionnaires such as Holistic Needs Assessments (HNAs) meant patients were more forthcoming in filling them out as they were easy to access on the app at any time, despite patients being sick or having limited experience with technology. The questionnaires, which are normally filled out by the patient on paper, freed up the nurses as they no longer had to put this information into patient records manually. This meant the nursing team could develop Personalised Care and Support Plans more easily.
Careology provides a space where patients can access the information they are normally given about their symptoms, medicine and treatment process, reducing the need for multiple paper leaflets. Thanks to their partnership and integration with Macmillan Cancer Support, Careology is able to show Nuffield Health’s patients trusted and personalised information from the charity in the app. This helps patients to manage their symptoms and learn more about their condition as they progress through treatment. In providing this service digitally, Careology has supported Nuffield Health in its drive to be more sustainable by replacing paper health information leaflets and questionnaires. Nuffield Health also uses a blended approach to cater for those patients who are unable to use digital care.
Providing oncology nurses with information at their fingertips
Careology’s dashboard was specially developed in collaboration with Nuffield Health’s cancer care team. They were fully supported in how to use the dashboard through Careology’s comprehensive onboarding programme. Throughout the process, Nuffield Health was supported with any issues or concerns through Careology’s support help desk and they had regular huddles where they could ask questions, offer feedback or talk through any updates to the platform.
The nursing team was able to regularly feedback about how they were finding the solution. For example, Careology ensured its technology was registered as a medical device to enable automatic patient reminders to take medication which they would have been unable to do without being approved. Working with Nuffield Health, Careology designed the digital solutions so that nurses and patients could gain the most amount of benefit from the technology. The information in the dashboard was adapted to provide patient information more quickly and easily to detect symptoms early.
“Careology has been a fundamental partner in supporting Nuffield Health with adopting best practice digital innovation to improve care for our patients. The deployment of Careology at Nuffield Derby Hospital was a smooth and highly professional implementation that has quickly proved beneficial, connecting our patient and nursing teams. Nuffield Health is now looking forward to developing this important partnership with Careology further.”
Wouter Van den Brande, National Hospital Operations and Development Director, Nuffield Derby Hospital
Adapting to make a bespoke digital platform
Careology worked closely with the oncology nursing team to make improvements to the digital platform to ensure both clinician and patient were getting the best experience possible.Throughout the feedback from nurses and patients was collected regularly which fed into the design of the platform. Any changes were made incrementally; for example, patients said that they were forgetting to update their symptoms in the app so push notifications were created, increasing engagement by 12%.
“At Nuffield Health we understand the important role digital technology plays in healthcare. Providing greater visibility through virtual wards supports how complex conditions, like cancer, are treated most effectively. We believe the digital cancer care technology Careology provides is truly best in class and will help us to better support our patients, clinical colleagues and hospitals.”
Steve Winton, Head of Digital Services, Nuffield Health
Following the successful pilot at Nuffield Health Derby Hospital which ended in October 2022, Nuffield Health will now complete a full rollout of Careology’s platform across their sites nationwide.
“A definite thumbs up from me on the app!” patient user
“It’s a brilliant app and not too difficult to use” patient user
About Nuffield Health
Driven by our purpose to build a healthier nation, our experts have been working together for more than 65 years to make the nation fitter, healthier, happier and stronger.
Nuffield Health provides health and wellbeing for every part of you. We believe that the best healthcare should help prevent illness by looking after mind and body. That’s why our connected health and wellbeing offering spans physical and mental health – from providing mental health support or hospital care and treatment to personal training, health assessments, GP services and physiotherapy.
We work together as a team to help you achieve your health and wellbeing ambitions, championing free health and wellbeing programmes in local communities by giving more people the tools they need to live a healthy life. These programmes help people understand and improve their own health, from those living with joint pain, to helping rehabilitate people experiencing the long-term effects from COVID-19. Find out more about us and our pioneering models of care: https://www.nuffieldhealth.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Careology is building the world’s leading digital cancer care platform. The patient-facing app allows users to manage and navigate all aspects of treatment from their device - while providing critical insight on symptoms, medications, side effects and more to healthcare teams through the Careology Professional dashboard. By increasing the potential for patients to self-serve, improving clinical workflows and making remote monitoring possible, Careology is helping to free up workforce capacity, while reducing costs, improving patient and clinician experience, and optimising health outcomes. All of which is relieving pressure on health systems.
Launched in 2019 by veteran healthtech entrepreneur, Paul Landau, after his own family’s experience with cancer, Careology (recommended by Macmillan) is working to address growing cancer treatment waiting lists with leading providers and insurers, including Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden, Nuffield Health, Aviva and Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare. Its technology has been recognised by the Journal of Medical Informatics which ranked Careology as the highest-scoring patient-facing cancer app available.