Mobile Future

The Mobile Future of Cancer Care

By Christine Bork, CureSearch CancerCare

Mobile technology has become a driving force for innovation in healthcare, unlocking new efficiencies in management, care, and cost that are life-changing for patients. At CureSearch, our mission is to end children’s cancer by driving targeted and innovative research in an accelerated timeframe with measurable results. Knowing that more than 15,000 children receive a cancer diagnosis each year, and more than 40,000 children are undergoing treatment right now, we also have a focus on supporting families with their child’s cancer diagnosis. The CureSearch CancerCare app is our newest tool, and uses mobile technology to reshape how families manage their child’s cancer treatment.

When a child receives a cancer diagnosis, the entire family faces substantial stress and shock. The acute phase of treatment – when children are in the hospital and often undergo intensive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy – is especially distressing for parents and caregivers. Many parents struggle with how to cope with the complex and unfamiliar details of cancer treatment including doses, medications, blood counts, and scheduling. In the past, CureSearch provided parents and caregivers with three ring binders filled with information and tracking sheets. Parents would bring these binders to all of their medical appointments and use them at home to help organize and manage the various aspects of treatment.

But with the increasing ubiquity of mobile technology— 9 in 10 Americans now own a mobile device— we decided these binders should instead live in the smartphones of these caregivers. And we found that the parents and caregivers we worked with agreed. Almost 85% of our constituents said they would have used a mobile application to track their child’s treatment had one been available. However, fewer than 15% said they found a functional mobile application that helped them manage any aspect of their child’s treatment.

The idea for the CureSearch CancerCare mobile app was born. Our team set out to develop a mobile platform that would provide free, comprehensive treatment management capabilities to parents and caregivers caring for a child with cancer. It is designed to be a personal caregiving assistant, with a mobile dashboard that allows for easy organization of treatment dates, appointments, and medication schedules that automatically sync with the phone’s calendar.

The first pediatric cancer care app of its kind, CureSearch CancerCare strengthens the connection between patient and care team. Given that children often receive lab results from multiple places, commute to their hospital, or divide their treatment between local and national care centers, CureSearch advances parents’ ability to share crucial information with multiple medical professionals.

The app recently received national acclaim as the Grand Prize winner of the Mobileys, an annual mobile innovation competition that celebrates and supports early-stage applications and other mobile products that leverage wireless connectivity in new ways to have a positive social impact. In an upcoming webinar hosted by Mobile Future we are excited to join fellow Mobileys winner, FoodShare, to discuss the launch of our app, the important lessons learned along the way, and what it is like to be part of the mobile revolution that is changing what is possible in the healthcare field— from the waiting room, to the operating room, to the living room of a family hundreds of miles away. Please join us!