A man who has successfully battled against cancer has created a free online service to help reduce stress in hospital patients.
Martin Clarke had a shop in Morpeth – The Clock Tower Store – for about six years.
While a patient at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle a few years ago, he became somewhat overwhelmed with phone calls and texts inquiring how he was as he received treatment for a cancer of the bone marrow.
At the time he thought it would be useful if there was some other way that he could keep family and friends updated.
The idea resurfaced last year as he continued to make good progress and he entered into discussions with a web design company.
Mr Clarke worked on developing a safe, secure and easy-to-use service and Patient Latest went live in April.
He said: “I created this free service because I know it will make it easier for everyone to keep in touch, to keep informed and well connected.
“The patient, or person acting with the patient’s permission, exclusively controls who can read any messages or latest updates that they make in their private area.
“You provide updates as to the patient‘s latest situation within the secure message board.
“In a nutshell, it’s like the patient is given a free safety deposit box.
“Only the patient has a key to open it, plus their chosen loved ones, relatives and special people who they have invited to have keys.
“This means the patient opens the box and leaves their update inside it, then the box locks. Their key holders are immediately notified by email that a patient update has been made.
“As the patient’s exclusive key holders, they can then open the box and read the update. If they would like to, they can also leave a message for the patient inside before the box locks.
“This system saves stress, time and money for all people in the communication loop. I think if widely used it could save millions for the NHS in terms of time saved for nurses not having to take so many calls on the ward.
“It is simple to join and all that is needed is an email, a password and a name.”
He had an autologous transplant (a type of transplant that uses the person’s own stem cells) in April 2013 and is still monitored on a monthly basis, sometimes more frequently depending on his condition, at the Freeman.
People can access Patient Latest using a smartphone and via the internet.
Mr Clarke added: “The system can be used as much or as little as patients feel necessary.
“It’s also a form of insurance because if they are unable to get a signal on their mobile phone, they can still access the hospital’s wifi connection using their mobile phone and access the service to keep in contact with their personally selected private secure group.”
For more information and to sign up, visit www.patientlatest.com