Web-based App Improves Survival--Part II

Web-based App Improves Survival--Part II

How can an app improve cancer survival? My last post discussed an ASCO Post article  about the first randomized trial to show improvement in cancer survival with Web-mediated follow-up versus standard office-visit follow-up. The authors attribute the effect to earlier access to care and the fact that "an algorithm for early detection of a symptomatic relapse or complication was used to trigger early supportive care or treatment."

A provocative idea not addressed directly in the article is that the app enables that earlier access by helping patients overcome the many obstacles to reporting symptoms in a timely fashion, such as symptoms that they...

  • didn't recognize as significant
  • wanted to ignore or deny, consciously or unconsciously
  • felt reluctant to report

In Minimizing Patient Delays, I delve deeper into the complex issue of why patients who recognize a warning sign or symptom might delay reporting it. With the various reasons for delayed diagnoses in mind, it makes sense that the app would help. 

Without seeing the app, I don't know exactly what questions were posed to patients. Given what we're learning about communications in social media, I'm guessing that patients find it easier to answer truthfully and fully online than in-person, whether the questions were specific, e.g., "Are you having any cough at all?" or general, e.g., "Are you having any new symptoms?"

Healthy Survivors get good care, whatever it takes. I'm excited to see the many ways that digital technology will help more patients become Healthy Survivors.

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