We all love being cared for, especially when we are going through a difficult phase (emotionally and/or physically) in our life. The journey of Cancer is one such example, where great care means everything and increases chances of a positive outcome.
As long as the cancer patient is being cared for both in inpatient and outpatient settings, they will almost always be receiving the right care at just the right time, as they are under the diligent watch of their care team 24x7. However, once the patient is discharged, there exists no reliable means of delivering the right care at the right time in the absence of their care team. Most often, the patient is discharged with few instructions on paper. Once the cancer is diagnosed, the patient and their family are given a binder consisting of hundreds of facts and tasks that the patient needs to act on at just the right time and in the right sequence.
When I went through my yearlong cancer treatment, it was a living hell for my family and me. While we faced this toughest phase of our lives with a lot of courage, perseverance, and positive mindset, it was indeed an extremely painful experience, and would have been easy to give up all hope. After every chemotherapy treatment, when I would get discharged after spending up to a week in the hospital, I would tell my wife that nobody on this planet deserves to go through such pain. (By the way, I went through 10 such chemo treatments, which is not uncommon for cancer patients)
While I had a fantastic care team, I still ended up in Emergency Room several times due to not following instructions that were presented in the binder I described earlier.
These incidences happened while I was recovering from my treatment and not under the direct care of my care team. One such incident occurred when I was in my nadir period after a chemo cycle. In cancer treatment, nadir commonly refers to the lowest point that an individual's blood cell count will reach as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Because of low blood cell count, it is extra hard for your body to fight off germs during this time.
While I was in my nadir period and recovering, I was starting to feel a bit better. Outside my home office, there was a beautiful orange tree with big oranges waiting to be harvested. I went out, picked some, and squeezed them into a glass so I could have a wonderful drink of fresh orange juice. What could be healthier for me than fresh juice?
This simple, innocent act almost killed me. Buried somewhere in the binder was the fact that I was not suppose to ingest any raw fruits or vegetables during my nadir period. The result is that I came down with neutropenic fever and was hospitalized for seven days. Although the right instruction was there in the binder, there was no mean to deliver the right information to me in the context of what's happening with me at a given moment.
During my cancer journey, I was surrounded by caring friends and they made a huge difference by helping my family and me in many ways. Still, there was no means to orchestrate and optimize their collective efforts in the context of what's happening with me at a given moment.
In addition to the help I received from family and friends, there were also complementary consumer and enterprise services offered by my insurance, hospital, cancer support groups, and other organizations. However, there was no way to consume them effectively in the context of what's happening with me at a given moment.
Continuous Care with the Care Models
Fast forward five years, and these problems still exist for cancer patients and their families worldwide. The care is still not continuous and this is resulting in disappointing outcomes more often than it should. At the same time, technology has seen an explosive growth, especially in the areas of Cloud Computing, Mobility, Internet-of-Things, and Social Messaging. The world we live in is also rapidly ramping up on the technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality. The consumer service space is growing rapidly with the likes of Uber, Airbnb, UberEATS and others.
Today we are at the perfect confluence of people, services, information and technology to build a caring world around every cancer patient and their families that would continuously care for them in the context of what's happening with the patient at every crucial moment of their cancer journey.
At Neuhope, we are modeling this new caring world for cancer patients and their families by defining a set of care models for every cancer. Here are some of the key characteristics of these care models:
They are the basic building blocks of the caring world.
They complement the existing treatment protocols.
They encapsulate the patient context, the right information, the right people, and the right consumer and enterprise services.
They deliver the right care at the right time by ensuring that the patient is doing the right things at the right time, the right services are offered to the patient at the right time, the right people are involved in patient care at the right time.
They have measurable outcomes that help us in evolving these care models over the period of time to optimize the care delivery.
They can intelligently switch between the machine and the humans while delivering the care.
Machines cannot replace the capacity of a human being to care for a fellow human being; they can only augment that capacity.
Starting with Breast Cancer
Initially we are focusing on breast cancer but have plans to build care models for anyone suffering from any kind of cancer or other chronic disease. The objective of our initial set of care models is to help newly diagnosed breast cancer patient and their family in:
As the patient and their family proceed along with patient's treatment plan, number of other care models will help them in:
Understanding the complicated treatment procedures, such as surgery, chemo and radiation.
Preparing for these treatment procedures.
Recovering from these treatment procedures.
Managing the side effects of these treatment procedures.
Following up on patient's mood and various important tasks that the patient should perform at the right time.
Maintaining the positive mindset.
Connecting with family and friends for any domestic help.
Connecting with the right services in the areas of medication, diet, physical training, cleaning, transportation, accommodation and others.
We are all set to build a caring world for cancer patients and their families by leveraging our Neuhope platform; and we are building it one care model at a time.