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New cancer app for health professionals

Published: 28 Feb 2016 00:01

Guidelines app makes referral process easier.

A new app which will help GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals with referrals for patients suspected of having cancer has been launched.

The app, developed with health professionals and patients, is available to download for free via the Apple and Google app stores. It features a quick reference guide for doctors and other health professionals dealing with patients suspected of having cancer.

Following the review of the Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer in September 2014, a hard copy of the quick reference guide was sent to all GP practices, pharmacists and prisons across Scotland as well as to NHS 24.

Due to on-going demand for the guide, the Scottish Government commissioned the Scottish Centre for Enabling Technologies, based at the University of the West of Scotland, to develop the app, which makes using the guide even easier.

The app allows the guide to be continually updated when the user is in a Wi-Fi zone. This gives health professionals the latest information available as quickly as possible.

Health professionals can also use the guide offline, if they are in a remote area, or doing a home visit to a patient. It also includes information on symptoms and signs and images of what to look out for.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"We are committed to supporting people with cancer and ensuring they have access to the best possible care.

"This app, which has been developed in partnership with health professionals and patients, will make it easier and quicker for doctors, pharmacists and senior nurses to access information on referral for those suspected of having cancer.

"The earlier a cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the survival outcomes. Improving the number of patients diagnosed at an early stage will reduce premature deaths from cancer and have a positive effect on overall life expectancy. I would therefore urge all relevant health professionals to download and use this free app.

"We are currently working with stakeholder groups and patients to develop our new cancer plan which is due to published by spring 2016 – ahead of the dissolution of Parliament. This plan will ensure that real improvements are made to services, based on the best possible evidence."

Chairman of the Scottish Cancer Referral Guideline Review Group, Dr Bob Grant said:

"I am delighted that it has been possible to develop this app. I am certain that GPs will find it a most valuable and powerful clinical support tool which will facilitate the earlier diagnosis of cancer. Any innovation that will lessen delay in diagnosis has to be warmly welcomed."

Dr Douglas Rigg, a Glasgow GP, who was also involved in the development of the app said:

"The app brings us quick access to information to support clinical decision making. It has immediate and constant access as the offline feature means no internet connection is required. The app will also allow for updates of any major changes in guidance. Mobile devices are becoming an integral part of GPs equipment and apps like this are part of the future of primary care and for GPs keeping knowledge up to date."

Notes to editors

The Quick Reference Guide app is available to download by using the key words 'cancer referral guidelines' in the Apple App store and Google store.

The Scottish Government invested £12,000 in the development of the app.

More information on the Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer are available here: http://www.cancerreferral.scot.nhs.uk/

The guidelines are aimed at health professionals. Members of the public looking for more information should visit the NHS Informs Cancer Zone: http://www.nhsinform.co.uk/cancer/