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UKONs Conference 2022 in Belfast - Cancer Care in the Digital Age.

April 11, 2023

The UK Oncology Nurses Society recently held their annual conference in Belfast on the 11-12th November. This year’s theme saw a focus on cancer care in the digital age and we were thrilled to be there and part of conversation. The weekend comprised a series of headline presentations and breakout sessions, along with nearly 150 posters on display, representing teams from all over the UK.

It was our first year at UKONS and it did not disappoint. The conference was well organised and the team supporting our stand went to every effort to ensure we were ready to go first thing on the Friday morning. Our stand featured a projected video image of the app to help highlight the key features and the stand was busy all weekend with the team demonstrating our cancer companion platform to oncology teams from all over the country. We were thrilled by the interest and enthusiasm we received and look forward to following up these conversations.

As well as exhibiting at our stand we were really pleased to have had 3 posters on display this year which can be viewed HERE. This represented the results of 4 years of hard work getting to this stage and included; hearing from cancer patients through covid, health inequalities and digital exclusion and a case study of one of our key digital tools the virtual pre-assessment pathway. This work prompted much discussion around the value of MySunrise to cancer patients at every stage through their cancer treatment from diagnosis to support after treatment.

Reflecting on our time at UKONs and all the conversations we’ve had, we take away 3 key learning points;

  1. The pressures on cancer services across the UK are huge with some reports of 40% increase in patients through the door from some areas. As a result, teams are well motivated and receptive to thinking differently about how services must change to absorb this demand, whilst continuing to deliver high quality cancer care.
  2. There seemed to be wide agreement from delegates that the complexity of treatments and the cancer pathway lends itself well to digital support which offers real benefits in terms of improving outcomes, patient experience and realising the potential of digital and virtual/remote support.
  3. NHS cancer centres and teams are all very much at different stages of maturity with using digital tools, but all appear to be trying to address similar challenges and actively looking into how digital can best help to support patients and relieve demand and strain on services.

Advances in cancer treatments are bringing incredible benefits in terms of outcomes and survival but with this comes new and increasing demands on the service. Our vision is focussed on how we can help to redesign cancer services around digital, relieving demand, whilst improving patient experience and outcomes.

It was a real privilege to be able to share at UKONS what we have learnt on our journey of development in the South West and we remain focussed on how we can work collaboratively with NHS Cancer teams across the UK in supporting these challenges.

We look forward to following up with you all and of course to next year’s UKONs in Wales 2023 when we hope to share more on our progress.

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