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APP to strengthen communications between doctors and cancer patients

Grant number: 20/05531-8
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: March 01, 2021 - February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Medical Clinics
Principal researcher:Haroldo da Gama Torres
Grantee:Haroldo da Gama Torres
Company:Magnitud Desenvolvimento de Talentos Ltda
CNAE: Desenvolvimento e licenciamento de programas de computador não-customizáveis
City: São Paulo
Assoc. researchers: André Luiz Toyama Carneiro
Associated scholarship(s):21/05244-1 - App to strengthen communications between doctors and cancer patients, BP.TT
21/03513-5 - APP to strengthen communications between doctors and cancer patients, BP.TT
21/02726-5 - App to strengthen communications between doctors and cancer patients, BP.TT


According to the WHO, prevalence of malignant neoplasms in developing countries has been growing due to population aging and lifestyle. Patient care depends on multimodal treatments that combine surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, with adverse effects for patients and high costs for the health system. Whenever possible, cancer treatments aim at healing patients, increasing survivorship, and improving life quality. Throughout this process, offering integral clinical support to patients is critical as they grapple with a combination of symptoms derived from the illness itself and its treatment. While cancer survivorship rates have indeed increased in the past few years, morbidity demands generated by treatments and the need for patient functionality gains are equality on the rise. These are the challenges of survivorship: life after cancer diagnosis, treatment and post treatment (KARSTEN et al., 2018). In view of that, streamlined communications between caretakers and patients is of the essence. Evidence shows that technology is a key ally to improve communications between doctors and patients, decreasing ER visits and improving patient life quality and survivorship (BASCH et al., 2017). Giving patients a voice, listening to their complaints regarding toxic treatments and diagnosis is extremely valuable - the so-called Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) have become a clinical strategy widely recognized (DOBROZSI; PANEPINTO, 2015). In fact, literature shows PRO-based tools increase predictability of ER visits (SUTRADHAR; ROSTAMI; BARBERA, 2019). Additionally, estimates indicate such tools may help avoid 40% to 60% of ER visits altogether, with up to 50% savings in emergency service costs (PANATTONI et al., 2018). Health clinics in Brazil rarely employ formal communication protocols for the interaction between health professionals and oncology patients. Phone and WhatsApp requests overwhelm doctors, leading to significant differences in response standards, and potentially inaccurate decisions for lack of precise information at hand. In health facilities in which communications is not integral to service (i.e., public hospitals), patients face enormous difficulties to obtain fast responses to more serious events or complications. In this context, this project's hypothesis is that a phone application focused on improving communications between health professionals and cancer patients may substantially improve the clinical evolution of the latter, as well as contribute to the structure of the health system by reducing operational costs and stress levels of all stakeholders. In terms of market expectations, we believe hospitals and health plans will adopt this solution due to both its economic impact and positive effects to patients' life quality. The value proposition to health professionals is also critical - as "ambassadors", they will be responsible for stimulating patients to adopt this solution. Project development has been underway since 2019, with a pilot version should be ready for launch at the end of 2020. (AU)

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