AN INNOVATIVE new pilot scheme has launched in the West Midlands aiming to give patients the ability to undergo a procedure to detect the causes of digestive or stomach complaints in the privacy of their homes.
Patients awaiting an endoscopy will soon be able to undertake a similar, less invasive procedure from the comfort of their own homes.
West Midlands 5G (WM5G), NHS Arden and GEM CSU, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, and CorporateHealth International are exploring how a pill-sized camera, enabled by 5G could be used to deliver a colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) at home under medical guidance.
Ramesh Arasaradnam OBE, Senior gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK with around 20,000 deaths each year.
“We also know that if detected early, the prognosis is good.
“Each year, over 2 million endoscopies are scheduled to take place through the NHS, but the level of demand combined with limited clinical capacity has resulted in a backlog.”
Working with specialist connectivity partners, the pilot will develop the CCE Smartbox, a device that can be used independently in patient’s homes.
Supported by 5G, the Smartbox will both capture and transmit images of the bowel without the need for a hospital setting.
As of April 2021, there were 187,000 patients scheduled for an endoscopy in hospitals in the UK, many of whom are on waiting lists for their procedures.
It is hoped that the development of the 5G-connected Smartbox will reduce this bottleneck through self-administration of the test.
He added: “Through the application of 5G technology, it is feasible that patients can swallow the capsule and undertake the whole process in the comfort of their own homes.
“As we strive to build the evidence base, we believe that many of these procedures could potentially be undertaken each year easing the burden on the NHS and reducing stress and uncertainty for patients.”
Visit https://www.wm5g.org.uk/ for more information.