A study on a novel smartphone application for the informal caregivers of cancer patients
Stephanie J Fonda, PhD has 20 years of experience in research, with the past 15 focused on #diabetes. Dr. Fonda has designed research projects to develop new technologies for assisting with diabetes self and care management, internet-based programs for facilitating patient-provider communication, patient education, and care management, and telehealth eye care programs screening for and promoting public awareness of diabetic retinopathy.
Her latest work encompasses a study in and around the support of family members who are informal primary caregivers for loved ones diagnosed with cancer as they begin, proceed, and complete their cancer care. The number of individuals living with cancer has increased by 4 million from 2012 to 2022 (1) ; increasing the number of informal caregivers by 6.1 million.
Being a #caregiver to a cancer patient can be an incredibly stressful experience. Caregivers must manage multiple tasks, from scheduling appointments and managing medications to providing emotional support and assistance with daily activities. The emotional, and sometimes physical, toll of watching a loved one battle cancer can be overwhelming. It’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves and seek support from family, friends, or professional resources to help manage the stress of their caregiving role. (2)
This study evaluates the support caregivers need throughout this process via a mobile app. As well as their feedback, requests, and suggestions to adjust the platform to make it more user-friendly and successful.
Support from informal caregivers is crucial for cancer patients. Family members and friends taking care of their loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer often experience anxiety and depression due to the caregiving burden. Being able to report symptoms the loved one experiences as well as their own symptoms may provide health benefits to both the cancer patient and the caregiver. Medable, Inc. created a smartphone app for informal caregivers of cancer patients (TOGETHERCare™) to collect this information and to provide resources for self and patient care.
Despite the burden of caregiving, their perspectives are not routinely collected. The Medable, Inc TOGETHERCare™ smartphone application (app) collects observer-reported outcomes for cancer patients and caregivers concerning their own mental and physical health, as well as tips and resources for self-care and patient care.
This study demonstrated that caregivers are willing to complete frequent surveys about themselves and their patients. The app is unique because it provides a remote method to collect caregivers’ observations about the patient that may be useful for clinical care.
Get the download here: PLOS Digital Health
#openaccess #cancertreatment #caregivers #cancer #mobileapp #abstract
In cooperation with Medable, Inc & Kaiser Permanente. This work was conducted, in part, with NIH (National Library of Medicine) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding. Dr. Fonda and Estenda participated through a subcontract with Medable, Inc.