King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the first trusts in the UK to use the newly launched Apple Watch as part of patient care.
A limited number of cancer patients at the London trust will have access to an Apple Watch app developed by tech company Medopad to support their chemotherapy.
The company, which will also provide the watches, said the oncology app was developed with input from doctors at King’s College Hospital and features several capabilities mainly focused on improving patient adherence to medicines.
Patients using the app will receive reminders to take their medication and a tap alert for personalised drug regimens.
The app also allows patients to record their temperature and any symptoms if they have a negative experience with a medicine. This data is sent instantly to a doctor’s Medopad platform on their iPad.
The aim is to allow doctors to adjust drug regimens when they are required, helping to personalise chemotherapy care and reduce side effects.
Siamak Arami, a consultant haematologist at King’s College Hospital, described the app as “an exciting new development in medical technology”.
“This can eventually reduce the cost and improve the outcome of treatment for cancer patients,” he said.
Medopad co-founder Dan Vahdat told EHI News that a “very limited number of patients” will take part in the chemotherapy app pilot in its initial stages. The company needs feedback on how it works in a real clinical setting to learn what to optimise before a bigger roll-out.
Fellow co-founder Rich Khatib added that one of the biggest barriers was the availability of the Apple Watch, which is still absent from Apple stores.
Khatib went on the say that the company has plans beyond King’s College Hospital and this was the, “first solution of many to follow based on the Apple Watch platform”, suggesting a tool to monitor vital signs is in development.
“This is the first step to a new era in medicine,” he said.
Khatib explained that the company wanted to work in cancer care as current treatment is “very expensive and complicated” and there is an opportunity to improve efficiency.
King’s College Hospital, which ranks joint top of EHI Intelligence’s Clinical Digital Maturity Index of NHS trusts, has previous experience using apps to improve a patient’s experience of care.
Last month the trust announced it had adopted a smartphone app to support outpatients living with chronic arthritis by providing them with the ability to track hospital appointments and to access education resources and information about the hospital.