Four years ago, Emily Cashel discovered a brain tumor that changed the course of her life and career. This experience inspired her to start HealthWale, a #PatientEmpowerment company, specially designed with patients in mind. With HelathWale, you can record, compile and share your complete medical information, anywhere.
Read more about Emily's journey and about why she started HealthWale below!
Originally published on emcashel.com
At the age of 24, a mass (Anaplastic Astrocytoma, stage 3 brain cancer) was found in my brain. I went through surgery, radiation, and 12 rounds of chemo. Now, three years later, I also have PTSD, depression, neurological deficits as well as chronic, debilitating physical effects from cancer treatment. This is, unfortunately, not uncommon for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors (CS): overall quality of life (QoL), according to one study that reviewed all available literature on the topic, found that AYA survivors tend to ‘have worse’ QoL when compared to the general population, regardless of other demographics.
QoL is an important factor when dealing with a health crisis in any population, not just AYAs. A patient’s QoL is directly affected by the financial burden and bureaucratic nightmare that can arise within the healthcare ‘ecosystem’. Barriers are artificially created for patients and their families that cause stress, periods of care lapses, and untreated after effects. By making accessibility dependent on money, education, and a support system, certain populations are being excluded within the healthcare ecosystem from the full spectrum of care required.
This inequity can be combated by actively engaging these underserved groups with a tool 77% of the US population already possesses, a smartphone. The smartphone can act as a portal where an individual's health information is stored by the user by means of an installable app. This information will automatically be reorganized into anticipated forms and requests and inserted into calendars and notifications. Having everything in the palms of patients' hands will prompt them to be more active and informed participants in their healthcare and combat the treatment delays and denials of coverage resulting from improperly completed documentation.
While focused on the needs of the patient, there is no reason preventing third parties from monetizing the aforementioned technology. It is in the interest of providers to streamline information gathering and processing in this ‘era of open information’ and technological transformation. Anticipating information requests, facilitating patient responses, and accelerating the speed at which patients receive benefits will have numerous advantages. For example, payer’s administrative labor expended on customer service matters and appeals will be reduced, providers will receive payment for care more quickly and consistently, and patients may avoid larger medical costs that arise from delayed care. Utilization of existing technology in this model will not only improve the operation and efficiency of the healthcare ecosystem in the U.S. but better the QoL for patients participating within it who already face sizable physical and emotional challenges resulting from their medical conditions.
Interested in supporting Emily on her journey to launch HealthWale? Learn how you can get involved here!