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Greece to finally proceed with programs for oncology patients, incl National Cancer Registry

On the World Cancer Day 2022, Greece’s health ministry announced to finally proceed a series of programs for oncology patients. Among others, these measures include “Home Care”,  the upgrade of care for cancer patients via technology and a National Cancer Registry as Greece is one of the few European countries that do not have one.

Details of the program were revealed by secretary general of the health ministry, Ioannis Kotsiopoulos in an interview with state-run news agency amna on Friday.

The health ministry is planning a digital program related to cancer management. The creation of an “integrated digital care system for oncological hematological patients” is currently being prepared, Kotsiopoulos said among others.

He added that in the framework of the “Home Care” Programme, actions are getting underway which focus on using technology to provide treatment at home, including to cancer patients.

The goal is to reduce the patients’ suffering, both physical and mental, relieving them from having to go to hospital and providing treatment, with absolute safety, in their familiar home environment whenever possible.

“Utilising the potential of technology, we hope to substantially upgrade the care of cancer patients, creating a digital network of services that will support the work of physicians of all specialties and will guide the patient in all phases of the disease,” Kotsiopoulos stressed.

The Integrated Oncology Patient Care System is one of five digital health programmes funded by the European Recovery Fund. The total value of the programme is 37.2 million euros.

The system is intended to cover with digital procedures all the treatment of cancer and includes:

  • The development of the National Cancer Archive (Cancer Registry). Greece is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have a systematic registration of tumours and consequently the development of the National Cancer Registry is a top priority.
  • An Oncological Information System that will be installed in 10-12 selected hospitals and provide:
  • A digital platform that will host the Oncological Councils of the hospitals in order to design the optimal treatment for each patient from interdisciplinary teams of doctors who will cooperate.
  • A chemotherapy planning and management system that will include: planning based on treatment protocols, accurate and safe preparation of cytostatic drugs in the hospital and monitoring of their administration.

Support for patients with electronic applications (apps), so that patients have access, at any time, to key elements of their file, can manage their treatment plan, report symptoms and side effects of treatment and support their treatment, communicate easily with their doctor, be informed about their illness and even share their fears and anxiety.

In addition, parallel actions also funded by the European Recovery Fund are planned within the framework of the “Home Care” Programme, which focus on the provision of treatment at home and oncology patients, utilizing the technology in this case as well.

because of the strict time table of the Recovery Fund, the programs must be concluded by the end of 2025, Kotsiopoulos said adding that the relevant legislation is still due.

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