Prostate cancer patients at the Royal United Hospital in Bath can now avoid anxious waits to hear from their doctor by seeing blood test results online as soon as they are available.
In a new digital approach to aftercare being trialled at the hospital, men can take control of their own care and free up vital NHS time and appointments.
As well as being able to get their results online, men can complete assessments, see their patient information and message their clinical team.
RUH Prostate Cancer Nurse Specialist Ros Helps said: “Being able to access their blood test results as soon as they are available, without having to wait for a clinician to contact them, reduces a great deal of stress and anxiety.
“Men can also phone a support worker or nurse specialist if they want to discuss their results further.”
The remote monitoring system follows a trial involving five hospital trusts, including the RUH.
It was funded by the Movember Foundation in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK.
The Urology department at the RUH was one of the original pilot sites for this study and has recruited more than 700 men to take part who had stable prostate cancer or who had completed prostate cancer treatment.
It is estimated that the remote monitoring system has so far reduced the need for some 2,000 hospital appointments.
Ros Helps said: “It’s meant that hospital clinic appointments are used more efficiently and men do not have to spend unnecessary time attending clinic appointments.
“This new approach to care has proved to be so successful that there was no doubt that it should continue beyond the original pilot study.”
As well as the RUH, the NHS trusts involved in the trial – which ran for three years from 2014 and involved 2,675 men – were University Hospital Southampton, Dartford and Gravesham, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals trust in Truro.
The RUH Trust has a strong reputation for participating in national and worldwide research, with nearly 2,500 people taking part in 348 research studies last year.