Grampians Integrated Cancer Service (GICS) is working to develop an online system to help cancer patients more easily store, record and organise their health information.
It is an effort to help cancer patients and their families share information about their treatment, and manage appointments and medication during what can be an emotional and confusing time. GICS's move to create an online app to manage patient information comes after the trial of a hard-copy folder called My Cancer Care Record was found to be successful for patients at GICS and partnering organisation North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS).
Feedback from the trial found 97 per cent of users found My Cancer Care Record useful and 40 per cent said they would use it if it was available as an app.
GICS Consumer Advisory Group member Ian Kemp has been a driving force behind the My Cancer Care Record trial and the push to develop an app. His wife died of cancer in 2010 and he has since been active in working to improve experiences for people with cancer.
"With Vera's (Mr Kemp's wife) initial diagnosis we got told a whole lot of information really quickly. Coming to this from a non medical background was difficult," he said. "Not only are you trying to listening to what the medical condition is and the treatment, at the same time you are dealing with your emotions."
Mr Kemp said the creation of a digital version of the My Cancer Care Record was at least 12 months away with initial work to secure funding, but the 'incredible' work of IBM staff to develop a design was a kick start to the project.
Eighteen IBM participants volunteered their time over 48 hours in a Hackathon to design a digital version of the My Cancer Care Record after hearing presentations from cancer patients about their challenges when keeping track of information during a weekend in July.
IBM application designer and Hackathon organiser Jacob McIntyre said the event brought new and long-time IBM staff together, while volunteering their time for a community project and learning new things.
"We wanted to help an organisation that had a problem but perhaps didn't have the funding or technical skill," he said.
Teams pitched their final digital software design to GICS judges who chose a winning design.