Breast cancer is a scary enough diagnosis to navigate alone. The plethora of information a patient gets from medical specialists and online sources can be daunting. Now the University of Michigan has come up with a free app that's the next best thing to having a personal physician on-call 24/7.
Breast Care Ally was created to help patients make sense of their diagnosis as well as the care they should be getting after they walk out of their doctor's office. According to the team who worked on developing the app, patients are usually left confused after receiving too much mixed information about treatment from their surgeon, oncologist, or radiation oncologist.
The app was designed to help filter the information and personalize it for each patient's individual case.
"We went to each specialist involved in breast cancer care and asked, 'If you could have someone follow your patients after they left the office or the hospital, what would you want to remind the patient or encourage the patient to do?' We then went to our patients and asked them a similar question: 'What are the things you need after you leave us?'" said Michael Sabel, MD, from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was part of the team responsible for developing Breast Cancer Ally.
According to reports, medical experts, as well as the team who developed Breast Cancer Ally, see mobile technology as a great tool for helping patients with treatment. The app was designed to help patients navigate the information available and provided to them and make sense of it to help their ease of mind, rather than causing more stress and confusion.
The team has released a statement saying that they plan to make Breast Cancer Ally the first in a suite of customizable mobile apps to help patients get the best information possible for their unique cases. They hope the app can guide patients in making the best decisions for their own treatment and provide them with with the most up-to-date information available.
In addition to Breast Cancer Ally, the team is also releasing Melanoma Ally in the coming months and plans to have apps developed for patients with prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and other cancers.
The developers plan to incorporate additional features in the app's version 2.0. For instance, they aim to include the ability to get more physician feedback through a dashboard to allow doctors to see how their patients are following up on their self-care via records made in the app.
Breast Cancer Ally is currently only available for iOS devices.
Photo: Gerry Lauzon | Flickr