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Novel mobile phone technology linked to a server that communicates patients' symptoms
to healthcare professionals has been adapted to register the side- effects of chemotherapy
and provide advice on management of toxicity. We report a feasibility study to examine
the utility of home monitoring of patients' symptoms via a mobile phone.
Six colon cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, entered symptom data onto
user friendly screens on a mobile phone twice daily. This 'real time' self assessment
of nausea, vomiting, mucositis, diarrhoea and hand-foot syndrome and measurement of
temperature was sent via a secured connection to a remote computer. In the event of
moderate or severe symptoms (generating amber and red alerts respectively), the nurse
was immediately alerted by the computer, via a pager. The nurse then contacted the
patient to reinforce the automatic advice sent to the patient on their phone and to
assess the patient using clinical algorithms.
The patient used the mobile phones during the first two cycles of chemotherapy. The
data were successfully analysed by the server software and alerts were generated alerting
the study nurses to patients' symptoms at the appropriate time. There were 91 alerts-54
red and 37 amber; 54% (29/54) of the red alerts were data delay and transmission problems
which were swiftly rectified. The remaining red alerts were managed appropriately
by the study nurses. Both patients and staff felt confident in this approach to symptom
This study demonstrates that the technology for monitoring patients' symptoms worked
well. The patients felt secure in the knowledge that their symptoms were being closely
monitored and that they were participating effectively in their own care management.