- Vinehealth and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust have been selected from 1,643 applicants as one of the winners of NHSX’s newly launched Techforce19 grant
- Partnership with The Royal Marsden — a world-leading cancer centre — will see Vinehealth provide its cutting edge application to support isolated cancer patients during COVID-19
- This pilot project will explore the ability of the app to provide immediate psychological support during the lockdown, with a specific focus on reducing anxiety, facilitating remote care at home and making it easier for patients and clinicians to communicate
- Partnership is the start of a planned roll-out to cancer centres across the UK
The Techforce19 Challenge & Vinehealth
NHSX launched the Techforce19 Challenge at the end of March, aiming to use technology to support the elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating through COVID-19. The main areas being tackled are remote social care, optimisation of staffing, and mental health, with the key focus on tools that can be rapidly rolled out to reach these groups at scale.
Vinehealth and The Royal Marsden were selected by Techforce19 to fulfil the scope of supporting the mental health and well-being of cancer patients. The grant will support Vinehealth to partner with The Royal Marsden — one of only a few Cancer COVID Hubs in the UK and world-leading cancer centre. Clinicians will investigate whether the technology will help remotely support cancer patients who may be anxious about the impact of COVID-19, increase confidence and give patients a sense of power during an incredibly unsettling time.
How will Vinehealth support patients through this time?
This partnership will enable The Royal Marsden to explore the app’s potential to enable cancer patients to effectively self-manage during isolation, to support them to know the right time and place to access further support should they need it and also to help them manage anxiety induced by the pandemic, ultimately seeking to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
The app will be provided to a small group of 40 Royal Marsden patients receiving systemic therapy for any cancer type, focusing on three components:
- Improving patient confidence and the patient experience: by providing easy access to all relevant information and details for support services
- Improving medication and side effect management: by delivering behavioural-science informed nudges to patients and caregivers
- Enabling effective remote communication with a patient’s clinical team: by providing simple and clinically relevant summaries to inform consultations
Why is this important?
Cancer patients are one of the most vulnerable groups with respect to COVID-19 and most are currently subject to stringent isolation. This has created a need to increase virtual appointments and minimise non-essential travel to hospitals. The additional need to avoid unnecessary emergency department visits and reduced access to GP services, all patients are having less face to face communication from healthcare professionals.
Communication between the patient and their care team is always a fundamental part of the care journey, and expected changes to treatment plans create an even greater need for the correct support and guidance to be communicated effectively. A mounting body of evidence also indicates that better symptom and medication self-management by patients at home can significantly increase cancer patient survival rates.
What will be the impact of this project?
This project precedes a planned roll-out to patients across the UK supported by NHSx’s Techforce Programme.
The Royal Marsden’s leading role in cancer services across London combined with the national reach of NHSx and the fundamental scalability of Vinehealth’s technology will enable considerable impact on cancer patients across the UK in a short space of time.
You can download the Vinehealth app from the iOS or Google Play Store here.