Cancer doctors at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital are monitoring patients from home via Skype video link.

The remote Patient Monitoring Programme was introduced in May this year by the haemato-oncology team at St Bartholomew’s, part of Barts Health NHS Trust.

Participating patients also have access to a patient portal where they can view their medical information, test results and latest appointments online and post their health questions to the haemato-oncology team 

The programme has been introduced as part of the Cancer Care @Home programme for patients who have a stable form of blood cancer, who do not require treatment, may be post-chemotherapy or on therapy.

These patients require monitoring by specialist teams, but do not necessarily need to go into hospital. Instead, video consultations, using Skype, are conducted with patients in their own homes.

“Patients who come to see us are often anxious about coming into hospital,” said Samir Agrawal, consultant in haemato-oncology.

“They may travel a long way, bringing a carer with them and are often waiting in suboptimal conditions for their hospital appointments. 

“National surveys showed that London was underperforming in the area of patient satisfaction with cancer care delivery. As a result, we decided to take matters into our own hands and look for better and more flexible ways of looking after patients.”

Clinical nurse specialist Katie Miles said the remote monitoring programme allows staff to work more effectively.

“Since implementing remote patient monitoring we have more clinic slots available and can provide longer slots for our ill and complex patients. This is a nurse-led, rather than consultant-led, service which leads to significant cost savings too.”

The remote Patient Monitoring Programme is funded by the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund.

Plans for the future include linking messaging between the patient portal and the trust’s electronic health record system Cerner Millennium to ensure the most up-to-date information is available in the portal.