In perfect timing with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center is rolling out its newest tech program for breast cancer patients.
Starting in mid-October, the hospital’s Breast Health Center will begin offering Samsung tablets to newly-diagnosed patients. The tablets will run a program designed by Breezie — a company that redesigns tablet user interfaces for the elderly — to help breast cancer patients receive accurate information relating to their diagnosis, track their symptoms and communicate with the right Piedmont Athens Regional professionals.
The purpose of the six-month program, according to Connie Phelps, the director of breast health at Piedmont Athens Regional, is to properly educate patients on what to expect with breast cancer and to make them feel more comfortable “as they go through the journey of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.” The tablets will also help avoid any misinformation surrounding the patient’s diagnosis.
“I like to tell patients, ‘Don’t go to doctor Google,’ because you can Google for information and not always get accurate information,” said Phelps, who helped found the Breast Health Center in 2004 and has worked on the tablet program since the idea started more than two years ago.
The program will provide multiple features for patients, including a calendar for their appointments, links to information and other content from the American Cancer Society regarding their diagnosis, educational videos from the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support explaining what to expect before and after surgery and contact information for Piedmont Athens Regional professionals and facilities.
The main feature is its symptom tracker, which will allow patients to determine if they’re experiencing side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments and create a detailed report that patients can give to their physician.
The Breast Health Center is starting the program with 20 Samsung Tab A tablets — a 9.7-inch device that usually runs between $200 and $300. The center will survey patients at the start and end of the program’s six-month duration to see how useful patients find the tablet. Feedback from the surveys will determine if the Breast Health Center will continue or expand the program, Phelps said.
While the tablet doesn’t function like a traditional Android device in that its user interface is overhauled with larger icons and text, Phelps said patients can still use the tablet for entertainment such as Facebook or Solitaire to help pass the time at home or in the waiting room.
“I think for a lot of patients, it’s going to be a really neat tool,” Phelps said.