Comment

Harnessing the potential of technology to fight cancer

Apps and digital tools can help people to customise treatment but we must make sure we create functional systems to be used in a practical environment

Apps and digital tools can help people to customise treatment but we must make sure we create functional systems to be used in a practical environment


Picture: iStock

There has been a digital theme to my work over the past few months. I am a huge advocate of using technology and the data it can gather when it benefits patient outcomes. 

In an era when mobile phones are the must have accessory, and research suggests 63% of the global population are using them, it’s a wonder we don’t offer apps or digital toolkits to allow people to customise their information needs. Before you all shout back at me saying you do already, it is still highly variable.

The RCN has recently undertaken a digital ready consultation and I think the key question is: what will help us get the best out of the data and technology available? It will be interesting to read what the responses are when they are published. 

In my view, embracing a digital path requires both the inventors or the innovators on the technology side and the end users in health care to fully engage. Otherwise we end up with systems that are not functional in a practical healthcare environment.  

Sharing ideas

I recently attended an Innovate UK event (an organisation that helps businesses understand new technologies). Technology businesses, NHS doctors, nurses, social care practitioners and academics came together to share ideas and discuss opportunities to use technology. 

These events are happening across the UK. Among some of the presentations were two businesses who are being funded as part of the Cancer Innovation Challenge in Scotland, a £1 million project funding data science solutions. The projects were: My Clinical Outcomes – a web-based platform that automates the collection and analyses of patient reported outcome measures (PROMS), and OWise breast cancer – a website and mobile app that enables an individual to personalise their treatment programme and support. 

More information about these projects can be found at the links below.


About the author

Susanne Cruickshank @Sue_Cruickshank, chair of the RCN cancer and breast care forum
 

 

 


Further information

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs