Apple Watch tapped for breast cancer treatment pilot program

The MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in New Jersey is deploying Apple Watch devices featuring a custom app to breast cancer patients in a pilot program to track behavioral information for ensuring treatment programs remain on target.

The Watch program, borne from a partnership with Polaris Health Directions, will drive Watch-collected data into Polaris' Polestar behavioral health outcomes management system, according to an announcement. The solution will engage patients in their treatment and care no matter their location, and allows physicians greater insight on patient well being outside of the office and treatment appointment, according to Polaris and cancer center leaders.

The pilot will provide 30 patients with Watch Sport 38mm models. The app, which will be available on Apple's HealthKit platform, will focus on two specific care points: the initial time following a diagnosis and after treatment has been completed, Cori McMahon, PsyD, director of behavioral medicine at MD Anderson Cooper, told mHealth News.

"Patient engagement is a critical factor in successful treatment plans. We expect using the Apple Watch will help increase engagement and collect data that ultimately allows us to further refine treatment plans," Generosa Grana, M.D., director of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper and head of the division of hematology/medical oncology at Cooper University Hospital, said in the announcement

The news is just the latest report on how Apple's first-ever wearable and healthcare platform is gaining traction. As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, a new Apple Watch app aims to enhance cancer care and improve patient monitoring during treatments such as chemotherapy. The Medopad Apple Watch Chemotherapy app, which is in pilot at London's King's College Hospital, lets users share data with caregivers on everything from activity to temperature.

What's more, New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System is piloting the Watch as an mHealth tool to help patients manage high blood pressure and live a healthier lifestyle. Ochsner officials say the focus is helping patients make positive changes in day-to-day routines and be proactive in healthcare.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper pilot will provide physicians with greater detail on patient moods, sleep patterns, activity and other behavioral indicators relating to treatment.

"For the first time, we can identify detrimental behaviors in real time," Mark Redlus, senior VP of Labs and Innovation at Polaris Health, told mHealth News. "That's what you can do with a wearable that you can't do with anything else."

For more information:
- here's the announcement
- read the mHealth News report

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