Digital Support Line- CancerAid
In June 2017, CancerAid, a digital cancer tool, procured one of the largest investments, of half a million dollars, in the history of the show Shark Tank, Australia. The app quickly rose to the position of number one cancer app in Australia, the UK, and the US. CancerAid is a mobile app that can be used by cancer patients and their caregivers to track the symptoms and treatment and to connect to their families, friends and a community of people with similar experiences. The app has been developed by a team of two Australian oncologists, Dr. Nikhil Pooviah and Dr. Raghav Murali-Ganesh.
The doctors realized during their consultations that better-informed patients with a strong support system showed better treatment outcomes.“People who came in with family members and a ring binder, that sort of system in place with a support mechanism, anecdotally tended to do better, and we were able to prescribe more treatment and they were able to tolerate and manage the side effects better,” says Dr Pooviah.
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it is an extremely traumatic experience. Sometimes they need to be provided with printed information which might not be up to date. CancerAid addresses this issue by providing them medically reliable up to- date information that they can peruse at their own pace and share with friends and family, says Dr. Murali-Ganesh.
“CancerAid provides patients with personalized cancer information. We also organize the journey so we have a medications area, a symptom journal and we know that living with cancer is an isolating experience, so we have designed a community allowing patients to connect to others going through similar experiences,” says Dr. Pooviah.
“One Of The Reasons Why Raghav And I Both Became Doctors Was To Help Patients. Canceraid Allows Us To Help Even More Patients Than Ever Before,”Dr Nikhil Pooviah
The community feature has greatly helped the users and this is where they tend to spend the most time. “Patients really like connecting with other people who have gone through similar experiences. Instead of just hearing from the doctors and nurses about how they should feel, hearing from other patients and what they’ve gone through is very powerful,” says Dr. Murali-Ganesh. The app also helps the patients by providing them personalized and reliable cancer information, the ability to journalize their symptoms and feelings and to track appointments. The patients can also nominate family, friends or a member of their medical team who supports them as their “champions”.
Champions are allowed to view the patient’s CancerAid account. The app is available free for patients and caregivers. The hospitals are charged for integrating CancerAid into their electronic medical record, which permits the medical care providers to access the patients’ symptoms logs. This enables hospitals to provide better care at a lower cost with fewer hospital admissions.
The CancerAid team has already received requests to develop it in Spanish, French, Dutch, and Chinese, as well as for other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The team plans to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into the app in the future and to make it a wearable technology too. “One of the reasons why Raghav and I both became doctors was to help patients. CancerAid allows us to help even more patients than ever before,” says Dr. Pooviah.
The App Way To Better Health
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