Center for Connected Health to develop app for chemotherapy patients

Partners HealthCare's Center for Connected Health in Boston has received a research grant from the McKesson Foundation's Mobilizing for Health initiative to develop an interactive mHealth program to improve medication adherence and clinical outcomes in patients with cancer using a smartphone app, according to an announcement.

Based on clinical guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Oncology Nursing Society's (ASCO-ONS) standards for safe chemotherapy administration combined with evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice, a self-management solution will be designed to help home-based patients on oral chemotherapy to better monitor their symptoms.

"Oral chemotherapy is quickly becoming the treatment of choice due to their ease of administration and potential cost savings. However, patients often do not adhere to treatment because of severe side effects, inadequate supervision in the home setting and misinformation," said Kamal Jethwani, M.D., corporate manager for research and innovation at the Center for Connected Health, in a written statement. "This personalized and targeted mobile-based program will aim to engage patients, to break down barriers to adherence, decrease adverse side effects and improve quality of life."

The program will include a three month, randomized, controlled trial of 104 cancer patients recruited from Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

An algorithm in the app will provide self-care strategies to help patients manage their symptoms. Interactive features will deliver educational messages about the disease process, medications, symptoms, benefits of adherence, strategies to prevent side effects and psychosocial support. A medication-tracking device will be integrated in the mobile-enabled system to provide participants feedback on their symptom control as well as medication adherence.

This is the third consecutive year the Center for Connected Health has received a grant from the McKesson Foundation's Mobilizing for Health initiative. In October 2012, the McKesson Foundation announced that it awarded a grant to the Center for Connected Health to develop a text messaging program to improve pain management in cancer patients. The study involved text messaging and IVR technology to collect self-reported pain assessments, monitor the impact of pain on patients' daily lives, and provide tailored, multi-dimensional and supportive feedback.

To learn more:
- read the announcement