Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Apps Aren't Helpful

I found an article in Cure Magazine (if you have cancer and aren't a subscriber, you are missing out) on this 'cool' new app for people living with cancer, called LivingWith. Its supposed to help those of us with cancer in dealing with their disease and its treatment.

'With the number of moving parts associated with a cancer diagnosis and its treatments, patients now have a “one stop shop” to help them navigate their journey.'

An app? Seriously? How can an app do that? I am skeptical to start. First, are you sick and dealing with your cancer and you need to find an app and start using it to communicate with your friends and family. Also, do they want to use an app too? And are they online all the time so they would see requests and updates. 

'The app allows patients to create a tight-knit circle of friends and families to stay connected and easily update loved ones; send requests to people asking for help with daily tasks; track mood, pain and sleep; and keep track of questions or important information for oncology team appointments.

And its all connected to a website. And what does this website do for the patient? Well it can help the caregiver.

Patients, caregivers and health care teams can download the app for free, using the Apple or Google Play stores, or by visiting the This Is Living With Cancer site – which is the main hub for the program designed to share inspirational stories and offer patients and their caregivers an online tool to help.

Oh, and they can send you selected, or their fancy word 'curated' information. This means they are mining the information they send you and then selecting what to send you. 

“They are able to self-identify their tumor type and then start getting some curated information over time,” said Basavaiah. “It is not just for the patients. It is for the whole team around them: the health team, caregivers, their support network.”'

Did you see that the app wants to connect with 'the health team'? Is your oncologist going to sign up to be on the app with you? Do they seriously think medical professionals have time to check on their patients through an app?

I even downloaded the app to try it out. The first thing it wants is for you to connect with other people. So you need to get your friends and family on it before it can help you. 

I did go to their website to see what was on it, other than pushing the app. I went to the Cancer Specific section and selected breast cancer. They only had links to breastcancer.org, American Cancer Society, and Susan B Komen. That wasn't very helpful. It is depending on other sites to provide the information and doesn't seem to 'curate' an yof it. You still need to dig through those sites for information. And it only had information on nine types of cancer.

I also went to the news portion of their site and it had articles on nutrition and coping with cancer treatment - the fun stuff like nausea, getting enough nutrition when you can't keep anything down, etc. But none of the articles I read were very detailed or provided much solid information.

So I tried it. I was on their website. And I can say I would not bother with it at all. Simply not worth the effort. I think that even if you are someone who is online all the time and just diagnosed with cancer, I am not sure it would be that helpful at all. Nothing seemed to be focused to young people with cancer - who are the most likely to be users of an app.

So my rating is one star out of a possible five. I wouldn't suggest recommending it to anyone. 

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