Belong, The Cancer Treatment Management App, Helps Patients Optimize Their Treatment Journey
Treatment management app Belong helps patients manage their cancer treatment by providing customized information and connecting users to doctors, fellow patients and treatment databases
Most people today can say they’ve used technology to manage their health – whether a device that measures their heartbeat as they run, their breathing as they sleep or an app that counts calories. Among patients with chronic conditions, technology is being used more and more to help not only manage treatments but also to cope with everyday life.
Technology can also be used to get patients to be more proactive. Proactive patients seek out new treatments and clinical trials, they rely on social networks to provide information, contacts and emotional support, and they are active participants in conversations with their doctors, not just listening but also asking questions and getting second opinions. Engaging and user-friendly technology, such as smartphone apps, can motivate patients to be more involved in their treatments, especially if they’re easy to use.
One such app is Belong. Belong offers a free a suite of tools to help cancer patients better manage their treatment process. It does this by organizing all the information the patient needs in one accessible location, and by connecting the patient to a community of doctors and other patients who can share their wisdom and answer questions. The app also draws from its large database to inform users about potentially life-saving or life-prolonging treatments, by alerting them to treatment steps other users with their same conditions took.
To use Belong, the patient anonymously enters personal information, including their type of cancer. They are then added to discussion threads with doctors, nurses and other experts who can answer users’ questions and give advice. There are separate discussion threads for various types of cancer and for other topics, such as insurance and cancer charities.
Belong also performs studies on how patients deal with their treatments. In a recent study, the researchers found differences in how male and female patients deal with various types of cancer and how proactive they are about their treatment. They’ve uncovered some interesting insights.
According to Belong’s analysis, men who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more proactive than women with the same diagnosis – they are more likely to ask their doctor questions, to go online in search of support forums and new treatments, and to change their lifestyle. In patients with colon cancer, on the other hand, women are more likely to be proactive, and in patients with lung cancer, men and women are equally involved.
As more and more patients turn to social networks and the Internet for support and advice, more apps such as Belong will be developed. Patients with diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions are only beginning to harness technology to improve their quality of life, in addition to the millions of people who use apps and wearables to track their diets and improve their fitness.