Oral Presentation FCIC Survivorship Conference 2013

How can eHealth support self-directed and shared survivorship care? (#16)

Afaf Girgis 1
  1. Psycho-oncology Research Group, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, UNSW Sydney, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in Australia; third in terms of highest number of years lost due to disease, disability or injury. People diagnosed with CRC report physical, psychosocial and financial needs, which if unmet, adversely impact on quality of life and well-being. There is currently no systematic assessment promoting timely response to these needs. Furthermore, hospital-based follow-up care for cancer survivors has resulted in fragmented, sub-optimal care and under-recognition of increasingly complex survivorship issues, is unsustainable and unlikely to continue except for the most high-risk patients. In the South Western Sydney Local Health District, we are developing and testing the acceptability, feasibility and costs of “Healthy Life”, an innovative and potentially sustainable cancer care model. Translating evidence into practice, Healthy Life aims to minimise variation in cancer care and facilitate individually tailored holistic care from the time of diagnosis, during treatment and into survivorship or palliative care. Healthy Life will be built using the UNSW Healthy.me eHealth system, which has been trialled with university students and in fertility clinics, with a pilot study recently completed with breast cancer survivors. This innovative eHealth system will include a) routine, perpetual screening of physical and psychosocial needs, from diagnosis, to trigger prompt identification of burden and efficient channelling of health services towards those most pressing needs; b) a personal illness/health management system to inform tailored self-directed and shared care; and c) enhanced continuity of care, through automated feedback and information exchange between patients’ treating team and GPs. The model will be embedded into the current local area health cancer care model, initially for CRC patients, with future extension to other tumour groups; and has potential for utilisation with other chronic illnesses in the future.