New guide identifies IT cancer resources

Cancer patients, their families and their caregivers can turn to a new guide for help in utilizing technology while dealing with the disease. The eHealth Initiative (eHI) on Feb. 12 published the Health IT Cancer Resources Guide, which lists more than 75 tools -- from mobile apps and websites to social networks -- that aim to improve cancer care.

The guide -- organized in five sections: decision making, education, treatment management, social support and lifestyle management -- was developed by eHI's National Council on Cancer and Technology, which includes representatives from the American Cancer Society and American Society of Clinical Oncologists.

"eHealth Initiative has produced a remarkable compilation of patient resources that are digitally accessible," said Peter Yu, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in a statement. "As our country's demographics evolve to an older population, at greater risk for cancer, but at the same time more digitally sophisticated, this work sets us on a forward path that leads to greater patient engagement in their own health decisions."

eHI developed the guide based on the findings of the Issue Brief on eHealth Tools and Cancer Care, a review of 124 articles that examined how telemedicine, mobile health, Web-based technologies and social media are being used in cancer care today. The brief showed how such tools can remove geographic barriers, enhance decision-making capabilities and improve patient-provider communication.

"A diagnosis of cancer strikes fear in every patient, their family members and friends, and coping with this disease is extraordinarily difficult," said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO of eHI, in a statement. "The Health IT Cancer Resources Guide will help patients become aware of and take advantage of the many outstanding digital resources available today that can help them understand their condition, make informed treatment decisions, anticipate their care needs and connect with others who have had similar experiences."

"We hope this guide will be a valuable and unique resource for patients, family caregivers, and medical professionals to help patients understand and manage their care most effectively," said Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and eHI board member, in a statement.

Click here to view the full guide.