Dr Henry Carleton, managing director of the NHS division at digital cancer care platform Careology, has spoken about the benefits of receiving care at home and the impact COVID-19 has had on the health tech sector.
Careology is designed to allow its users to track their symptoms and side effects to treatment, as well as keep an eye on their vital signs using connected wearable technology.
The system also enables patients to keep a treatment journal, share information with their care team, keep tabs on where they are with their treatment plan, and receive helpful tips and articles to improve their wellbeing.
Carleton spoke with Health Tech World about how COVID-19 has highlighted the need for technology such as Careology.
He said: “Cancer patients who are on chemotherapy will be at greater risk, so isolation will be one of the mainstays of their treatment. On top of that, there are all the other benefits associated with people who receive care at home, in terms of the familiarity of their home, their family’s support, as well as being calmer and more relaxed.
“If you can get all of that while at the same time still have your connection with your cancer care provider, be that through an app or through continual remote monitoring of your vital signs, that means you can enjoy the benefits of being home, whilst also enjoying the benefits that most follow-up patients don’t enjoy, which is access to care.
“The game here is providing good clinical care, with minimum clinical risk and keeping in touch with patients, and if you can do that in a in a sustainable, scalable way, then patients can be monitored without utilising huge amounts of the care provider’s time.
“I think that patient-initiated follow-up and initiated care is going to come to the fore in the near future and hospitals need to find capacity and they need to break the mould of the old way of delivering follow-up care.
“It’s not at the expense of a face-to-face consultation, you have to marry the two up to deliver good pathways.”
Carleton also touched on the longer-term future of technology in the healthcare sector, as well as Careology’s potential.
“We need to create sustainable solutions because if we keep the current way of doing things, I worry that we don’t have the capacity to meet the need.
“My feeling is that this type of technology will be used in many of the other high volume, outpatient conditions.
“I think it’s definitely not there yet. But you can see how this type of blending of health tech with an equal practice on a pathway could really open doors to driving efficiency and keeping patients out of hospital, but still receiving very effective care. I think that’s where I’d like to believe it will head to in the next five years.”