Do not think anymore that your mobile phone is only used to pass the time in the waiting room during your treatment. Indeed, a new wave of patient-centric apps is helping people to understand their disease better, learn more about side effects, and help make the day-to-day management easier. All these apps aim to be useful for monitoring and managing care and are a rising resource for cancer patients nowadays. These apps are a great example of how mobile devices are becoming an integral part of the healthcare industry, changing how care is delivered and received. This new use of mobile devices is accompanied by an important novelty for patients, which is being able to be more proactive in their treatment.
These apps can’t replace the care of a clinician and oncologist, but at least it can make the painful process easier for patients and their families during the treatment. It is obvious that apps are by no means intended to diagnose or treat cancer.
Mobile apps aim to support the world of medicine. Indeed, these apps can aid early cancer diagnosis by allowing patients to keep track of their health between appointments. Moreover, it can help by making healthcare management easier: apps should empower patients by providing useful information that enables them to manage the challenge of cancer treatment. Thus, self-management apps can play an important role in helping patients to both cope with illness and communicate with their healthcare professionals. The last point is particularly important since apps make it possible to help tightening the link between cancer patients and their doctors. Through these apps, phones can display a variety of biometric data. For example, thanks to this technology, patients and doctors can connect what symptoms are related to what medication or activity. Patients can also send daily updates to their doctors, which can be critical when treating cancer. Furthermore, if patients experience severe side effects, they’re able to manually enter information into the app, which is then shared with their clinicians.
Apps can have different features to help cancer patients manage their treatment. For example, mobile apps can list information on specific cancers, provide a place to write questions, write/record answers, list medications, record symptoms and more. So these apps are very helpful for patients in their organization. Recording their doctor’s visit in a voice memo allow them to remember exactly what has been said by playing it back later. Moreover, these apps also serve as a medication reminder and it’s a key tool for patients struggling to take their meds.
In the field of mobile apps for cancer patients and survivors, it also exists patient support tools that help them stay connected with other patients and friends (CaringBridge is a popular one).
- Several examples of apps for cancer patients and survivors
At first, there are an overwhelming number of apps available today, so it is important for you to find the one that suits you best and corresponds to your specific needs. Each application can respond to various requests through different features. Below are some examples of applications for cancer patients with the features associated.
CareZone: when receiving treatment, remembering information, care notes, medications, dosages and schedules can be overwhelming. This is why this app aims to simplify the process by offering a number of features that help people stay on top of their treatment. The calendar to keep track of appointments, a folder for important contacts and an easy-to-use journal should prove extremely helpful for you and your doctors.
Pocket Cancer Care Guide: this app has been developed by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. It turns the phone into a handy dictaphone so people can record answers from their doctors and nurses. This is very helpful for people who have trouble remembering certain facts and want to make sure everything is clear.
Create to Heal: this app focuses on creativity and stress relief. Its aim is more to compliment a care plan nicely. Indeed, cancer patients can expect guided meditations, music, and art that can reduce stress and aid the healing process.
So, these apps include information on diseases, tools to help patients manage their health, resources and networks that assists and supports them through treatment and survivorship.
- Mobile apps for cancer patients and survivors can be improved
As chronic cancer is becoming more prevalent, and apps getting more sophisticated and easier to use, more and more patients will use them. This is the reason why it will be important to improve these apps to certify their benefits.
Mobile apps for cancer patients and survivors can be improved because there are hundreds of them but only a small amount has been tested properly and approved. Indeed, unfortunately some of these apps have been put on the app stores with limited testing and no clear involvement of cancer survivors in their development and evaluation. It would be very interesting to have patient or doctor feedback so that people could be sure they are using the best apps to help them fighting the disease. Today, because we don’t have these feedbacks, it’s difficult to determine which apps or types of apps are most effective, and among which groups of survivors. In that sense, there is a need for different partnerships and an innovative approach to developing, reviewing and testing mobile apps for cancer survivors.
There is great potential and many innovative opportunities in this world of electronic devices aimed in particular at improving the care and outcomes of cancer patients. It just needs to be improved to be more credible and effective for patients and the medical profession.
To help people recovering from their disease, fitness apps and nutrition and healthy eating apps are also important to keep fit, eat healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the abundance of these apps, everybody can find one to fit his specific needs.
Finally, we can say that some apps truly have the potential to improve cancer patients’ health and well-being. However, the challenge is choosing apps that are appropriate for their specific situations and certified to be efficient by doctors and cancer survivors.
People can be reassured because we should see rapid developments in this area since these applications arrive on the scene at a time when health care is becoming a major focus for tech giants like Amazon and Apple.