Apps, Secondary Care

Southampton GDE speeds up access to test results

A new digital model of follow-up care for prostate cancer patients based on Southampton’s personal online health record is speeding up access to test results and reducing the need for hospital appointments.

The development gives men access to view their PSA blood test results as soon as they are uploaded by the lab, as well as complete assessments, view patient information and message their clinical team – removing the need for routine appointments unless essential.

The My medical record a personal online health record developed at University Hospital Southampton was adapted in partnership with the TrueNTH programme, a global initiative led by the Movember Foundation, to improve critical areas of prostate cancer care.

As part of a national trial funded by Prostate Cancer UK, the self-management model was introduced at UHS and four other hospital trusts across the country, with its implementation evaluated by the University of Southampton.

In results published by the journal BMC Cancer the study, which ran for three years and involved 2,675 men and 250 workshops, showed that outcomes were the same or even better for men than traditional follow-up care, with lower per patient costs.

The clinical teams at UHS initially had concerns about patients having access to results before clinicians had assessed them, the project showed men were not adversely affected even if their test results were abnormal.

Within the prostate cancer service at UHS, where the solution is used for surveillance, test results, patient information, signposting and interactive web access to the clinical team, a specialist cancer nurse can remotely review 20 patients per hour – who do not then need to attend a clinic appointment – compared to six in a traditional outpatient setting.

Alison Richardson, professor of cancer nursing and end of life care at the University of Southampton and chief investigator on the study, said: “The management of follow-up for men who have prostate cancer varies widely, with many men worrying while they wait for their PSA results, unsure of how to access support if they have any problems as a result of their cancer and its treatment.”

“If implemented properly, this model gives men back control over their own follow up while ensuring they can still access the support and care they need.”

“That’s why it is so important that NHS trusts take into account the three key elements that make this model work. Without preparation for supported self-management through the workshop, access to a support worker and a well-functioning IT platform, men will find it difficult access the standard of care they need.”

Kevin Hamer, programme manager for My medical record at UHS, added: “We were delighted to be part of this important project which is based on our My medical record model and has demonstrated such clear benefits to patient care and experience.”

“We continue to expand its use in more specialties, as well as discuss the possibility of providing services to other trusts in England, and we are very excited about the potential our system has to improve healthcare nationally, such as it has in this case.”