New app can help health professionals with cancer referrals

A new app has been launched to help GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals in Scotlandwith referrals for patients suspected of havin cancer.

Doctors can use the app to help with cancer referrals
Doctors can use the app to help with cancer referrals

The free app, available on iOS and Android, was developed with health professionals and patients, and features a quick reference guide for doctors and other health professionals dealing with patients who are suspected of having cancer. 

The app was created by the Scottish Centre for Enabling Technologies (SCET), commissioned by the Scottish government, who invested £12,000 in the development of the app.

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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.”

SCET, who are based at the University of the West of Scotland, allows a continually updateable guide, allowing health care professionals to access the most up-to-date information as soon as it’s available.

The app includes information on symptoms and signs as well as images on 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.

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“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.”