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Tool aims to personalise cancer care

11 June 2015 09:26

A touch-screen tablet can be used to record cancer patients' main concerns

A touch-screen tablet can be used to record cancer patients' main concerns

Cancer patients can now have their care more closely tailored to their personal needs, thanks to a new tool developed by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Patients can record their needs and concerns using a touch-screen tablet before the data is transmitted to a clinician via a secure website.

The information collected through the electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA) is then used to help draw up a personal care plan for the patient concerned.

Boosting patient confidence

More than half (54%) the patients surveyed for their views on eHNA said the tool had enabled them to raise their concerns with those caring for them.

And over a third (36%) told the Ipsos Mori researchers that it had helped boost their confidence when it came to discussing sensitive personal worries.

An analysis of nearly 4,000 eHNA-generated care plans, meanwhile, sheds light on what most concerns newly diagnosed cancer patients.

It shows that one in four find it difficult to cope with cancer's emotional impact, while many also struggle with sleep, anxiety and fear.


Being able to walk, get around and travel is another major concern of cancer patients, although foreign holidays need not be ruled out if people are covered by a cancer travel insurance policy.

Top concerns revealed

According to the analysis, the most common concern among those with cancer is how to deal with their worry, fear or anxiety.

Coping with tiredness, sleep problems, pain and eating issues are other major concerns, as are worries about getting frustrated or angry, and the disease's effect on memory and concentration levels.

Macmillan Cancer Support's director of services and influencing, Juliet Bouverie, says the survey shows that using eHNA results as a framework for talks with clinicians benefits patients.

She adds that providing healthcare professionals with detailed information about what most concerns patients can help them improve the way they plan and provide care.