Stratified Follow Up
There is currently little evidence that routine follow-up identifies disease recurrence yet it is costly and time consuming therefore national guidance encourages stratification of patients onto follow up pathways based on risk.
The NHS Operational and Planning Guidance 18/19 placed requirements on Cancer Alliances to roll out stratified follow up pathways for breast, colorectal and prostate pathways.
Patients should be stratified for follow up by their clinician following initial treatment based on clinical need. This ranges from professional led follow up for those to higher risk of disease recurrence to self management for low risk patients who following treatment will no longer have routine follow up appointments. Instead these patients are educated to self-manage their condition with back up from the clinical team and access to remote monitoring and re-entry pathways. A needs assessment is carried out and an individual care plan drawn up to address the needs of these individuals aimed at minimising risk and support to manage on-going conditions. .
The Cancer Alliance agreed a stratified follow-up pathway model can be seen below:
Breast Stratified Follow Up
In the North East and North Cumbria there are a number of Trusts who already offer this service, with the remainder working towards implementation by March 2019. The Cancer Alliance have approved a regional protocol based on one developed by nurses at Gateshead Trust.
There is currently one Trust offering this service and another two looking to develop it. There are existing shared care agreements in place to enable patients to have monitoring undertaken in primary care so we are looking to build on this.
Some of our sites are looking to implement stratified follow up for patients at low risk of recurrence. A protocol based on the NHS England best practice documentation attached below is being debated with the Expert Advisory Group
Remote Surveillance Monitoring
Remote surveillance monitoring is the technology that enables specialists to schedule and monitor surveillance tests for patients who have completed treatment for cancer, without the need for a face to face outpatient appointment to convey the result. Its primary role is to support low risk patients treated with curative intent that are suitable for a supported self-managed pathway.
Typically this is communicated via an online patient portal which patients control. Accessed via a website that provides patients with an online health record these tools this enables people to track their healthcare on any web enabled device. They also enable appointment booking, direct communication with clinicians and access to test results.
The Cancer Alliance is working on a digital solution to be used regionwide which will enable remote surveillance monitoring.