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Can Connected Health Assist in Cancer Treatment?

April 11, 2019
Meredith Wagner

Cancer is one of the top causes of mortality in the world.  In the United States along, it’s projected that 1.8 million new cases will be diagnosed this year, and more than 600,000 patients will pass away from cancer.  Its prevalence is one of the reasons medical researchers are working to find new treatments for cancer patients that can help them lead longer and better lives.  These treatments, however, require careful monitoring and involvement of specialists to drive results, which may be challenging at times.   

 

 

Connected health technologies, though, afford patients, caregivers, and medical professionals the opportunity to efficiently and effectively manage cancer treatment. 

 

 

Managing symptoms 

Cancer can present patients with a number of symptoms and side effects from treatment inhibit their quality of life.  Connected health solutions, including virtual visits and remote patient monitoring, can help doctors ensure patients are following treatment plans and taking medications as directed.  If patients aren’t following treatment plans or if new symptoms emerge, connected health platforms let patients easily connect with doctors to evaluate them and determine the best next course of action. 

 

 

Coordinated care 

Cancer patients may need to see multiple doctors, including specialists.  Connected health helps those different doctors access up-to-date records and share information, including images and other documentation, which can help with evaluations and treatment decisions.  They can also more easily collaborate to ensure they are all in agreement with the best options for their patients. 

   

 

Quality of care 

Cancer and other related specialists may not be as easily accessible as PCPs, especially in rural areas, and patients have to travel long distances for specialty care.  That is not only an inconvenience and expense to patients and their caregivers, but it’s costly for doctors as well, and can results in increased missed appointments, reducing the quality of care.  Telehealth services allow doctors to connect with patients at a distance, reducing the frequency with which they need to commute for in-office appointments.  In fact, if needed, multiple physicians can be included in virtual visits. 

 

 

Improved patient experience 

Whether for scheduling, accessing health records or treatment plans, or updating symptoms or other factors, connected health allows patients to remain engaged in their own health programs.  That also includes asking questions for non-urgent issues, getting information on new treatment options, and using connected devices to automatically transmit data to the platform.  It’s even possible for patients to use the platforms to join support groups for their conditions and learn from others who are dealing with similar situations.  For patients and providers, digital health platforms increase the efficiency of care, encourage greater patient engagement, and drive efficiency of care. 

 

 

Despite the fact that the number of cancer patients is increasing, connected health technology can help reduce the burden on healthcare providers by adding new efficiencies into care processes, while also allowing patients to spend more time living and less time in doctors’ offices.   

 

 

To learn more about how connected health solutions are helping providers deliver better patient outcomes, visit us here.