NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For cancer patients, one of the biggest impediments to effective treatment is a lack of adherence to regimens prescribed by their physicians. This has become a growing challenge as chemotherapy administration has shifted from IV infusions at oncology centers, to oral medication taken at home. In fact, it's estimated that more than one third (up to 40 percent) of all oral chemotherapy patients are not complying with their treatment plans, which can impact their outcomes.
Launching today, WorkUp is the first technology-based service platform that lets oncology practices instantly offer patients an 'app' to securely connect them with practice staff to address side effects and other issues, while providing customized medication calendar support for the patient's unique cycle timeline. The clinic-branded app is automatically given to patients for free as they leave the clinic, and is accessible on whatever consumer platform the patient prefers – whether web, flip-phone, smartphone, or even landline, using text-to-speech. WorkUp's oral chemotherapy platform is in use by leading oncology centers across the U.S., including North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates (NSHOA) in East Setauket, New York and Toledo Clinic in Toledo, Ohio.
"Although healthcare information and data is increasingly digital, no one has ever transformed static FDA product information into a dynamic, interactive care management platform until now," said Kenny Engels, co-founder and CEO, WorkUp. "Providing the entire care team – both patients and providers – with a digitized, personalized roadmap is the critical piece in improving adherence. As a result, we believe WorkUp can change the state of the art for cancer care."
Bringing patients and their care providers together for better outcomes
With oral chemotherapy, physician-run oncology centers are challenged to monitor patients' compliance between visits. Overwhelmed by changing schedules, side effects, trouble getting their medication delivered on time, or insurance payment issues, patients may delay a crucial start date or report problems too late. When they do call about an issue, they typically contact their nurses – which can lead to phone tag and waiting for help that others at the practice could provide.
The WorkUp platform solves these problems by offering a "GPS" and collaboration system for patients and their caregivers. Patients of any age can enroll and engage with their oncology centers using text or simple web capabilities from their mobile devices or computers, 24/7, and know that they will receive help. They also receive continuing prompts and reminders to take their medication as directed.
Moreover, WorkUp empowers oncology practices to map out, track, time and digitize every step of an individual's treatment plan, pulling from FDA-level product information and practice-level quality standards and protocols. Medication schedules, side effect monitoring guidelines (nuanced by when a treatment regimen began), and dose adjustment algorithms are all automatically converted into patient-specific instructions and reminders. The platform also includes a "triage layer" to route a patient issue to the right person at the right time. All these features are helping oncology centers to improve the quality and efficiency of care while reducing its costs.
"WorkUp took a lot of the stress of my cancer treatment away," said Adrienne Oleson, a breast cancer survivor from the West Coast. "If I had a symptom like nausea, I could contact my care providers directly and receive a quick response. WorkUp also helped me learn how to understand my body better and understand and control side effects."
"WorkUp shares our goal of maximizing patient safety and treatment compliance," said George Calcanes, North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates, which is using the platform. "Oral chemotherapy regimens are planned out very precisely, and patients need to stay onboard with them. WorkUp also extends our resources; we can attend to the patients who are onsite with confidence that those at home are being looked after."
Increasing Revenues for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Pharmaceutical manufacturers stand to gain too, by ensuring that patients are able to start their regimens as early as possible, manage their side effects, and fully benefit from their therapy. The WorkUp platform supplements manufacturers' patient hubs and specialty pharmacies, which sit outside of the patient-provider relationship and therefore lack the visibility into patient issues. By being alerted by WorkUp to drug-related issues, manufacturers can potentially increase their oral chemotherapy revenues by 15 to 20 percent.
For more information about WorkUp, please visit workuphealth.com.
WorkUp is the first technology platform to help oncology practices improve patients' oral chemotherapy adherence to boost their quality of life and potentially extend their lives. The patent-pending technology transforms static FDA-level product instructions into a dynamic, interactive platform connecting patients digitally with their care providers, 24/7. WorkUp empowers oncology practices to improve the quality and efficiency of their patient care while reducing costs. The platform also enables pharmaceutical manufacturers to address barriers to treatment, and improve revenues by ensuring that patients stay on their medication regimens. Visit workuphealth.com for more information.
Caroline Legg, Warner Communications
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