University of Manchester trials remote monitoring system for arthritis patients to submit data to EHR

A research team at the University of Manchester has shared plans to trial a system designed to support patients living with rheumatoid arthritis to send daily symptoms to their health record.

The Remote Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis (REMORA) system enables users to download a symptom tracking app to their smartphone or tablet which they can log into using NHS details. Symptoms can be recorded on a daily basis to log the impact of rheumatoid arthritis between appointments, with the data then sent into a central location and summarised graphically before being made available to view within the EPR.

Dr Sabine van der Veer, senior lecturer in health informatics, is a co-lead for the study, and has explained how a “major advantage of REMORA is that we have successfully sent patient’s data into the NHS”, whereas historically records have “only included information entered by the clinicians. We are changing this, by learning how patients can contribute information themselves and ultimately improve their long-term health.”

During the trial the data provided by patients on their symptoms will be made available to clinicians during consultations, so that the clinician can use it to help manage the patients care.

The trial is to run at 16 hospitals across Greater Manchester and North West London during 2024 and 2025, exploring whether patients benefit from symptom tracking; how to optimise this tracking; how to ensure digital inclusivity; how the data generated can support wider research and direct patient care; and whether the system offers value for money. In addition, the study aims to raise learnings around allowing patients to control who has access to their data using an electronic consent system from home.

Results from the trial are expected in 2026, with the Manchester team sharing hopes that the system could become a funded NHS service available for free to all rheumatoid arthritis patients if the results are deemed positive. They have also shared hopes that the system could grow to include other long-term conditions.

Professor Will Dixon, study co-lead and consultant rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital, commented: “It can be difficult for patients to recall and describe the ups and downs of their health in a few minutes during a consultation. By tracking symptoms day-to-day and making them automatically available at consultations within the electronic medical record, we will generate a clearer picture of how someone has been in the last six months which could have a transformative impact on treatment and care.”

The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and Versus Arthritis.

In other news from Manchester, HTN looked into Health Innovation Manchester’s three-year strategy which places focus on optimisation of  digital and data products, integrated collaboration, and enhancing the region’s ability to deliver innovation in health.