AMTRA: Stronger sense of security thanks to digital follow-up of oncology patients at home
11 December 2016
E-health quickly gains ground in the field of medicine. As part of minister Maggie De Block’s mobile health pilot projects , the pilot project AMTRA (Ambulant Monitoring of Cancer Therapy using a smaRtphone Application) ran for twelve months (July 2017 – June 2018) in four oncology centers: Antwerp University Hospital, AZ Maria Middelares Gent, Grand Hôpital de Charleroi and CHU UCL Namur. It was examined to what extent oncology patients can be followed digitally at home via their smartphones.
Monitoring vital parameters and medication intake
The AMTRA app is used by cancer patients who are administered oral or intravenous chemo-, immune- or targeted therapy. Patients download the app to their smartphones and receive scales and/or a blood pressure monitor to take home with them. The application notifies the patients at regular points in time, to ensure they correctly take their medication and pass on vital parameters such as weight, blood pressure and heart rate to the doctors involved. Patients can also indicate side effects and how serious those are, so they can be treated faster.
After a trial period of 12 months with 184 oncology patients, the first results are known. 82% of the patients feel safer because of the constant monitoring of vital parameters. 80% of the patients say that contact with health-care providers improves by means of using the app. The parameters added by the patients are automatically sent to a secured environment to which only the people involved have access: the patient, the doctor and the oncology nurses. In 52% of the cases, that results in the gaining of time during well-prepared consultations. 71% of the participants would recommend the app to fellow sufferers. In total, 90% of the patients who used AMTRA indicated that they are pleased with the application.
Closer, customized follow-up
Because of the doctors’ and nurses’ constant feedback via the smartphone application among others, the patient is more aware of how he or she treats his or her body and more meticulously takes home medication. The patient immediately indicates the chemo treatment’s side effects via the app, so possible complications can be treated more quickly. Because of that, patients are able to maintain medication with the optimal dosage longer and with fewer interruptions. Prof Dr Marc Peeters, head of department of oncology at Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), explains: “The ideal chemo dosage is determined per person. The treatment runs optimally when the antitumor medication is administered in accordance with that ideal dosage schedule. The AMTRA project has shown that interaction with patients improves and as a result, they can be administered their medication with fewer interruptions or dosage reductions. Thanks to that, the patients’ chances of survival increase.”
Digital follow-up at home receives Health & Care Award
On April 25th 2018, AMTRA received the jury and public award during the health-care exhibition Health & Care at Expo Ghent. A jury nominated three projects, after which they as well as the public chose a winner. The two awards are a reward for the unique collaboration between hospitals, patients and the industry. In 2017, AMTRA already placed first for the ‘Zorgvinding’ award in the category ‘cancer care’.
- Antwerp University Hospital (UZA)
- AZ Maria Middelares Ghent
- Grand Hôpital de Charleroi
- CHU UCL Namur