Dr. Steven Kalkanis, director of the Center for Cancer Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, wanted to make life easier on people who are searching for answers after being diagnosed with cancer.
A new app can help users learn about treatment options, map appointment locations by GPS, schedule appointments and connect to their medical records, said Kalkanis, a neurosurgeon.
"When we opened the cancer center (September 2012), we thought that when a patient gets cancer, there are a million pieces of the puzzle" they need to know about, Kalkanis said. The cancer surgery center is part of the Josephine Ford Cancer Institute.
"There are so many moving parts, it is easy to get lost in process," he said. "We want to help usher people through that process to help them improve their quality of life."The Cancer Surgery Mobile App
was developed for $12,000 by Birmingham-based Kart Media Group, a digital media agency specializing in mobile, social, and interactive media.
After two months of beta testing, Kalkanis said the app is free for download for Android and Apple devices. There have been more than 1,000 downloads so far.
Hospitals have been developing a variety of apps for patients and physicians.
For example, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in August released its KCI Trials App to help physicians and patients locate an appropriate clinical trial.
Kalkanis said Henry Ford is the largest provider of adult cancer services in Michigan, with more than 14,000 patients treated and 3,000 discharges each year.
The Center for Cancer Surgery has the state's Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI) scanner. The center also offers neurosurgery for brain tumors and robotic surgery for prostate, kidney, gynecological, thoracic, and head and neck cancers.
"A lot of people come to us for second opinions, then go to Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic," Kalkanis said. "What we are hoping is that people understand through this app the treatment is the same or better here."
Kalkanis said the clinical trials function in the app will increase the number of patients enrolling in Henry Ford's clinical trials.
"We do the most number of clinical trials for cancer surgery in Michigan," he said. "In neurosurgery, we are in the top five in the country, but that is not true across the board for all specialties."
Kalkanis said many patients are unaware clinical trials are available at Henry Ford and other hospitals.
"We don't have patients searching for trials if they don't know about it," he said. "This will let them know about it and we hope will generate more (volunteers for) clinical trials."
Here are some functions of the cancer surgery app:Search treatment by cancer type. Get detailed information about diagnostic, surgical and research options for more than a dozen types of cancer, including breast, prostate, lung and liverSchedule appointments. Connect directly by phone to a cancer specialist or nurse at the center with its 24-hour cancer hotline at (888) 777-4167. Get GPS driving or public transportation directions to Josephine Ford locations in Southeast Michigan. Connect to Henry Ford's MyChart electronic medical records system. The portal allows patients to consult their doctor through secure messaging. Patients can view their lab, radiology or test results, and renew prescriptions. "Henry Ford develops smartphone app for cancer surgery patients" originally appeared in Crain's Detroit Business.