A guide to better health at your fingertips

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For many of us, having a smartphone or tablet allows us to check our email, update our social status or even tweet a friend, anytime or anywhere.

But now, having a smartphone or tablet will also help healthcare providers appropriately screen a patient for cancer, thanks to a free new app from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).

CCO’s Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) app is now available on Apple’s App Store and is giving healthcare providers easy and immediate access to the information they need to assess patients for cervical cancer. A web-based mobile version is also accessible at https://screening.cancercare.on.ca for users of other mobile platforms.

The app offers healthcare providers easy access to the OCSP’s cervical cancer screening cytology (Pap test), guidelines and step-by-step recommendations for follow-up of abnormal screening test results. Providers are also able to easily download and print, or email, educational materials, such as handouts, for their patients at point-of-care.

“In an effort to make this tool easy to use both for those who are technologically savvy, as well as those who are not, the app underwent an evaluation where it was tested against well-known principles for usability,” says Deborah Chan, from Healthcare Human Factors, the company which reviewed and tested the app.

CCO’s mandate is to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and to make sure patients receive better care every step of the way. This app is the third created by the organization—a Symptom Management app and Drug Formulary app are already available on CCO’s website—and is another example of how the organization is working with healthcare providers to ensure preventative screening is conducted to help catch and prevent the onset of cancer in Ontario patients.

“This app is the first tool in CCO’S multimodal approach to disseminating cancer screening guidelines to healthcare providers,” says Dr. Joan Murphy, Clinical Lead for the Ontario Cervical Screening Program. “As well as presenting clinical guidelines in print and electronic PDF format, we are broadening accessibility by having more digital options. Our aim is to ensure the information is easily available, in a format providers want to receive it in, for use in clinical settings.”

CCO also has plans to expand the app to support screening for breast and colorectal cancer.

“Having this app on my phone makes it easy for me to quickly refer to the guidelines no matter where I am, be it in clinic with a patient or during an educational session with peers. It is very clear and easy to use,” says Dr. Edward Kucharski, a family physician with Sherbourne Health Centre and one of CCO’s Regional Primary Care Leads for the Toronto Central LHIN.

For more information about Cancer Care Ontario, visit www.cancercare.on.ca. For information about cancer screening and links to the new Cervical Screening App, visit www.cancercare.on.ca/screenforlife.