New research to revolutionise healthcare through remote monitoring of patients

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In February this year, a team of researchers, including Professor Emma Ream and Dr Jo Armes of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, launched a new programme of research called eSMART (Electronic Symptom Management using ASyMS Remote Technology). The project uses mobile phone technology to remotely monitor patients who are undergoing chemotherapy to treat breast, bowel and blood cancers.

The project, being led by researchers at the University of Surrey in partnership with King’s College London and ten other academic institutions across the world, will use the Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS) to allow patients to report the side effects from their chemotherapy via a mobile phone.  The information is sent securely to a computer, which assesses their symptoms and triggers alerts to doctors or nurses within minutes if the patient requires a specialist intervention, while also providing patients with real-time information and advice on how to manage their symptoms at home, without the need to travel to hospital.  

Researchers believe that using ASyMS will reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and help to identify and treat those which are life-threatening much quicker than current care systems.  In addition, it is anticipated that the use of ASyMS will significantly reduce healthcare costs.

A €6 million grant, from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme, will fund a large 1,000 patient trial in England, Austria, Greece, Holland, Ireland and Norway, with the hope that the new system will be integrated into routine cancer care in the future.  The research team is also developing and testing the system for use by people with other types of cancer and long-term conditions such as heart failure.

Professor Emma Ream and Dr Jo Armes, will be joint principal investigators on a major part of the project that looks at the capture and analysis of follow up data to determine longer term outcomes of using the system.  

Speaking after the launch of the project, Emma Ream, Professor of Supportive Cancer Care, King’s College London, said, “Effective management of symptoms during chemotherapy is critical for patient safety and quality of life. However, we don't know how optimal symptom management during treatment impacts survival and longer term side effects after treatment ends. This is what we will be able to determine through this work.”

Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery 

The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s College London is the world’s first professional School of Nursing, established by Florence Nightingale. 

The number one Nursing and Midwifery School in London (Complete University Guide 2014) and highly regarded by leading London NHS Trusts with links to industry, health services and policy makers, the School develops leading-edge nurses and midwives of tomorrow – practitioners, partners, and leaders in their field.

The School has over 1,000 full-time students training to be nurses and midwives plus an extensive portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate activities to meet the needs of a wide range of healthcare professionals seeking continuing professional development.  The School is at the forefront of health services, policy and evaluation research and home to the influential National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU). For further information visit: www.kcl.ac.uk/nursing. 

King’s College London

www.kcl.ac.uk 

King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2013/14 QS World University Rankings) and the fourth oldest in England. It is The Sunday Times 'Best University for Graduate Employment 2012/13'. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has more than 25,000 students (of whom more than 10,000 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and more than 6,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £554 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.

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