Prostate cancer (PC) is the commonest male cancer worldwide. Each year 10,000 UK men are diagnosed with advanced disease and incidence has increased by 41% since the early 1990s. Hormonal therapy and early chemotherapy have led to much improved patient outcomes and survival has been further extended (to 3-5 years) for patients even with advanced disease, by additional tablet-based treatments. During much of this time, PC behaves like a chronic disease, requiring stable medication and regular monitoring.
These undoubted patient benefits come at a cost. They have led to increased demands, placing major strains on the health service which is approaching a capacity crisis. The personal and financial cost to men and their families is also substantial requiring more frequent appointments for blood tests, toxicity monitoring and up to 15 clinic visits per year. These issues have encouraged exploration of alternative strategies to deliver care in line with the 2019 NHS long-term plan, which aims to reduce outpatient attendances by up to one-third within 5 years.
Itecho Health has developed an innovative digital platform (AscelusTM) which can potentially address this demand, especially when patients are on oral therapy, by reducing the requirement to attend hospital whilst maintaining full communication between patient, GP and the hospital. The AscelusTM digital platform integrates with NHS IT systems and allows patients to be securely linked via their smartphone or other device with their existing clinical team, allowing face-to-face outpatient appointments to be replaced by a convenient mobile interaction. The application can:
Patients can record symptoms
Receive clinical advice and test results
Check for medication interactions
Book appointments via their device
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, NHS Trust, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds
This project is currently funded by NIHR i4i Connect award