Fall is typically a season of reds, oranges and yellows but it’s time to think pink this October for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women in the United States. Fortunately, the ever-advancing health technology industry provides a wealth of information, tools and connectivity to prevent and fight the disease.
Technology has paved a path of prevention, allowing the public to take necessary precautionary measures for early detection of breast cancer. Early detection is critical because it allows the patient to seek immediate treatment and prevent further development of the disease. It is crucial to be aware and educated about all aspects of the disease, from detection to treatment, which is why technology is one of the strongest weapons we possess in the battle against breast cancer.
7 Ways Technology Can Help:
- Awareness and Education: With technology, breast cancer awareness is made possible beyond the month of October. Websites are full with information on breast cancer year round. The best way to prevent and fight cancer is to be educated about the disease. But the enormous amount of online information can quickly become overwhelming, which is why a tool like InstantPHR is so useful. InstantPHR has a built in recommendation engine that compiles patients’ personalized information, including age, gender and comorbid conditions which allows us to narrow down all the information available to deliver patients specific recommendations – such as triggering a recommendation to go in for a yearly mammogram.
- Engagement: Social media and technology have made it easy for cancer patients and survivors to engage and participate in the fight against cancer. By making things personal, the patient is more likely to be engaged and participate in research protocols where their care can be managed with self-management action plans and journals to track their symptoms and treatments. Without tracking this critical data, doctors and researchers are unable to capture adverse reactions to treatments, often resulting in patients being unable to complete the protocol that, in turn, slows the process of getting new medications to market faster.
Online support groups offer another means of engagement and enable patients who are uncomfortable sharing personal information face-to-face or are otherwise unable to leave their homes due to side effects of their illness, to manage the emotional side effects of cancer treatment. These online support groups provide a comfortable setting for patients to discuss and alleviate their emotional and psychological symptoms in an open setting, which then allows them to better manage their physical conditions and symptoms.
- Testing tools: Technology has improved testing and early detection of cancer. Through advanced imaging and diagnostic tools such as mammograms, ultrasounds, PET scans and MRI testing, the ability to diagnose cancer is progressing.
- Appointment scheduling: People are constantly on the go and have little time to make appointments and remember when those appointments are coming up. With all that keeps you busy, your health should not be the one area of your life to take the back seat. With advances in technology, keeping track and scheduling appointments has become much easier. No longer do you need to call your doctor’s office and sit on hold waiting to schedule an appointment. With advances in patient portal technologies you can schedule your next appointment and set up reminders all online quickly and easily. From communicating with your provider to taking control of your health, appointment scheduling allows you to better manage all aspects of your care.
- Reminders: Regular testing for women is so important to help catch early stages of breast cancer. In a busy world it’s difficult to remember all the things you need to do. With mobile apps and dynamic reminders we can keep on track of all the things we need to do including getting essential medical testing and following up with our providers.
- Pulling reports straight to you: Access to your health records and medical history is important. The more info you have on hand the better prepared you are to get the care you need. By using an untethered patient portal like InstantPHR, you are able to bring together all of your medical records regardless of whether it’s coming from an appointment with your primary care provider, radiologist, pharmacy or that emergency room visit you’re your mishap on vacation. With this technology, we can not only bring these reports to you, but we can also make them meaningful by parsing the data into appropriate sections of your patient health record in easy-to-read charts and graphs.
- Referral networks: Fighting cancer is not something you do alone. Technology has made it easy for people to connect, share their story and form networks for those fighting the disease.
It is essential when dealing with cancer that all of a patient’s providers communicate to provide the best care possible. A robust referral network gives patients and their providers the tools needed to get the best possible care.