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Apps for Medical Treatment

Hello everybody. My name is Luis Fernandez Luque. I am eHealth researcher of the Qatar Computing Research Institute In this session, we are going to speak about the use of mobile and wearable technology for cancer. Let’s start from the beginning. Supporting the early diagnosis of cancer. I will give you some example how we can use mobile technology to help in early diagnose which is very important to prevent cancer and also to reduce the impacting quality of life of the patient.
One typical example is the use of mobile application to take picture of moles so that you can track changes that may be a indication of a potential melanoma there are many mobile applications are very well developed that facilitate the communication with the dermatologist who are at the end especially who are able to do the diagnose. However, you have to be careful. Some of those mobile application may go one step further, or even give you the diagnose. And we know from research that many of those mobile applications are giving you the grown diagnosed and having a grown diagnose or thinking you don’t have a melanoma And you actually have melanoma which is a very serious skin cancer may kill you.
So you have to be very careful. And even though there are application for the diagnosis of cancer. Don’t trust them. You always have to consult your physician. Also, in more research and in very early stage there are people who are integrating sensors in for example, bra that help you to detect changes in the breast and that can be an early sign of potential breast cancer Again, this is not going to be a substitute for mammography or the professionals, making the diagnosis. But can help you to do the to identify changes that may be an indicator or something happening. In low income setting, also mobile technologies being used, to help professionals in the diagnosis of cervical cancer.
So you may have in rural areas of Africa or places where you don’t have a specialist. A healthcare professional taking picture of the cervix and that’s an automatically to the specialist who are able to do the diagnose. And also, more common nowadays, there are mobile applications that support the smoking cessation. It, then, sending you mobile text messages or sometimes the application. And that can help to prevent relapse to a smoking in places where actually there are high prevalence of smokers and that can have a very big impact including lung cancer prevention.
However, I’m going to focus in in the next slide in self-management how mobile technology can support self-management One of the reason why we care so much about self-management is at the end of the day, we spend most of the time with other physicians. We are not in the hospital, so it’s what we’re doing at home and with our friends, and etc. So, the hospital that has very big impact that goes for people with cancer and without cancer. But living with cancer requires an increasing amount of aid for her self-care. Especially now that many cancers are becoming chronic, a long turn disease. Four years ago, Jackie Vendor from the University of Toronto, did a study.
Reviewing over 200 mobile application and found that very few actually, only 11 of those application, they were supporting disease management. That changes nowadays. And you will find more and more examples in many different diseases. Most of those mobile applications are in English, but some of them are appearing in another language. One example is always, always it’s a mobile application that helped to track the symptoms, side effects, how do you feel, etc. if you have breast cancer. And it is designed to support the communication with the physicians, so when the patient go to the physician’s office, they can have the list of all the different symptoms and how that person have been handling the disease.
and also the same time in the mobile application you can learn about the different treatment, how to better cope with the side effect, with the symptoms of the disease etc. There are also a sample of similar concept but to increase the communication between the nurses and children with cancer which is often very challenging because kids may have lower communication skill. So what they did was a video game, called SISOM at the University Hospital of Oslo that helps kids to better express how they feel about the different treatments about the different symptoms and by playing the video game they are expressing how they feel.
And they can take that, the nurses, to better guide the interview with the patient and learn more about the feelings of the patient and also to identify which are the personal strengths that the kids have, that may have an impact in the cancer care plan. More recently, in a very important ecology conference, they presented a study on the user, a tablet, so that the patient can report their symptoms. Actually what they found is that the patient using the tablet survived longer. You will be surprised. How can using a tablet can increase survival? But the principle was very simple.
By using the mobile applications, the health care professional they have very detailed information about the different symptoms of the patient how they are doing, etc. And they use that information to increase and personalize more the treatment and the care for those patients. So if you or I start to have symptoms about something, and the healthcare professional know they can do something to minimize their impact. And at the end, that can have a huge impact in quality of life. This is actually happening right now. We already have the research results and there are even researcher taking one step further.
They are using new technology, at home, like weighted scales, a blood pressure monitor, etc., which can be integrating a smart home to support in the future. The use of those technology to enhance chemotherapy at home So there are people who are working on using those technology. So maybe in the future, it would be possible to get the chemotherapy not in the hospital but at home. And as part of an initiative is called in Casa, which is an in European project.

Mobile and wearable technologies are the rapid developed technologies during recent years. In healthcare, many applications are invented and implemented. In this video, Dr. Luis would introduce several mobile and wearable technologies applied to cancer management or patient support, such as:

  • Supporting early diagnose
  • Supporting self management
  • Self-reported outcomes
  • Chemotherapy at home
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Application of Digital Health Interventions

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