Breast cancer has become a chronic disease. While therapeutic advancements have transformed cancer from a terminal illness to that of a chronic one, healthcare systems have been slow to adapt. Patients who are already suffering are at risk of losing track of not just their treatment plan but also missing out on valuable education about their condition. This leads to deficiencies in patient care for those that need it the most.
To address this problem, Drexel Radiology physicians, under the leadership of Dr Parrillo, decided to develop CancerCarePartner - a smartphone interface that emphasizes patient education while keeping track of the different treatment options that a patient will undergo.
Through a simple but interactive user interface, CancerCarePartner will layout personalized patient plans that explains the specific diagnosis (such as the differences between DCIS/LCIS/other forms of breast cancer as diagnosed through radiology and pathology) as well as potential personalized treatment options outlined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (e.g surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation). Patients will also have access to scheduling appointments and assistance programs, if needed. Finally, a breakdown of patient's treatment, along with what to expect at every step, will be administered through a specific timeline illustrating each treatment decision.
CancerCarePartner will certainly answer the Triple Aim of Healthcare as laid out by the IHI. Firstly, it will streamline the patient care experience. Patients will have an easy to use, smartphone-accessible app which would be available not only for educational resources, but also for communicating with care providers to answer questions patients may have during the diagnosis and treatment process. Secondly, this will also improve population health outcomes by providing an interface for patients to communicate long term adverse effects to care providers. Finally, the largest impact will be on cost burden, from reducing over-diagnosis/treatment and unnecessary utilization of resources to minimizing barriers of care delivery, this will put patients at the center of care, which is always the foundation of reducing patient costs.
At the end of the day, receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be life changing, but undergoing therapy to fight cancer doesn't have to be. Simple care coordination and patient teaching have demonstrably changed patient's lives, and that is what our Drexel Cancer Care team is attempting to achieve.
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