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Nurse-Designed Software Innovations Are Changing the Cancer Experience

SARAH HANDZEL, BSN, RN | June 24, 2016
Features also include an online journal to record positive thoughts, photos and memories, and multimedia experiences like guided imag­ery, focused breathing, and meditation exercises. Through a partnership with Byron Katie, a thought inquiry program has been developed to help people identify and examine negative, stressful thoughts, one thought at a time, to promote a more positive mindset.

Another option invites users of CanSurround to join a group, allowing people to support and comfort each other in a community that understands the cancer experience intimately. Once subscribed, users will receive emails from the CanSurround team every 3 days with specially selected informational articles and messages to educate, inspire, and inform.

Graham Dodge

Graham Dodge

The idea for Sickweather was born when co­founder, CEO, and president Graham Dodge became a parent. He was concerned after discovering that there was no real-time in­formation about the spread of illness where he lived. During this time, another company cofounder was caring for a parent with cancer and was also worried by the lack of information about illnesses in his community.

Both men were inspired to figure out how illnesses could be tracked, so that they and the public could take more informed steps to protect against getting sick. As Dodge noted, “We see this as being something for anyone who is a caretaker for anyone else—whether its parents with young children or anybody caring for someone having chemo. It’s (for) whoever is in the position of caring for somebody else and making decisions for them.”

Although not developed specifically for pa­tients with cancer, Sickweather provides invalu­able information about the occurrence of illness in a person’s surrounding community. Actively avoiding areas where sickness is present is critical in oncology, because cancer and cancer treatment methods can leave a person with a severely weakened immune system.
The knowledge provided by the program can help those affected by cancer and their caregiv­ers limit their exposure to illnesses that can be devastating to already fragile patients.

Sickweather is available online or as a mo­bile app. The program uses preset algorithms to scan social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for illness by using keywords. Data are also collected from crowdsourced inputs.

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
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