Online cancer support services
Professor Paulo Lisboa, the leader of LJMU’s Statistics and Neural Computing Group, is evaluating the effectiveness of web-based resources in the diagnosis of cancer.
Professor Lisboa is conducting research on the potential of internet-based diagnosis tools, particularly for use with cancer patients. His goal is to ascertain whether the EpiCentre (Electronic Patient Information) portal promotes better informed medical decision making and best practice.
The research is being carried out in close conjunction with the Linda McCartney Centre (Liverpool), the Christie Hospital (Manchester), the Queen’s Medical Centre (Nottingham) and the Istituto dei Tumori (Milan). Funded by the European Union as part of the Biopattern Network of Excellence Project, the project combines electronic data entry with a prognostic modelling tool.
The EpiCentre portal contains specialist cancer information provided by senior UK-based health care professionals and would mainly be used by oncologists following patient surgery, and before finalising therapy. Clinical and laboratory information would be entered and logged onto a database, and patient records could be recalled and edited instantly.
The patient information system is tailored to suit the particular characteristics of each patient. The portal outlines what medical treatments are available and which are most applicable to each patient's condition. It will match the disease type to the most effective therapeutic remedy, based on the patient’s demographic characteristics as well as clinical and genetic traits.
This could ensure that those who require aggressive treatment, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, have immediate access to determine their compatibility. Predictive accuracy will also avoid the common problems associated with systems of care management. Cryptography will also ensure patient confidentiality at all times.
Patients themselves will gain access to the portal as soon as they are added to the system. They will be able to access their own files as well as comprehensive information on the type of cancer they have. The portal will also have a directory of 'trusted' links to external websites, all of which will have been approved by senior consultants.
It is hoped that this multi-faceted support could be a prototype for future web-based healthcare.