Global Cancer Institute (GCI) is a non-profit charity aimed at improving the survival and quality of life of underserved cancer patients worldwide. Program Coordinator Allie Bukowski manages two GCI programs: the Patient Navigation Program and the Young Women's Breast Cancer Database, both of which are designed at a high level to help underserved cancer patients worldwide improve their access to and interaction with quality cancer care.
Allie’s job involves working with collaborators on the design and execution of these projects-- everything from logistics and finances to training and facilitating communication with global doctors.
Through the Patient Navigation Program, Patient Navigators "navigate" cancer patients throughout fragmented health systems-- from helping with referral appointments and translation services, to assisting with insurance paperwork and linking patients to hospital and community services.
Allie created an app to manage the Patient Navigation Program. Using the app, Patient Navigators can record information about patient interactions and fill out necessary questionnaires which ultimately help recruit new participants, collect demographic information, and organize clinical information.
The Young Women's Breast Cancer Database aims to collect information about breast cancer occurrences in young women from underdeveloped countries, where young women are disproportionately affected by the disease as compared to those in developed countries. The goal is to record both patient-based and healthcare provider-based information on demographics, lifestyle factors, quality of life, fertility, clinical characteristics, and treatments from young breast cancer patients.
The Young Women’s Breast Cancer Database app Allie created allows women to fill out important forms via tablets while they’re waiting to see a doctor.
Before using AppSheet to convert Google Forms into apps for these projects, everything was done on paper. This was problematic for a couple of reasons. First, it made it very difficult to analyze data in general; data would need to be manually uploaded to Excel or some other analysis tool in order for it to be useful. Second, it was difficult to collaborate globally when information was not easily accessible or shareable.
So far, the apps have been used for recruitment and data collection for more than 50 patients between the two projects, and have significantly improved productivity and process at GCI.
“Before the questionnaire apps on the tablets, one of my doctors would tell me about her "database" back home: the file room in the basement of her hospital. If she wanted to compare breast cancer patient outcomes, she would have to go down and physically pull out a patient's clinical record from the drawers and write down the information inside of it,” Allie says.
Allie also remarks that AppSheet’s offline capabilities are integral to the programs’ success. She says, “In low resource areas around the world, wifi is either spotty or completely unavailable-- if we just used Google Forms for data collection, there would be great potential for loss of data or other technical issues. One of the best features of AppSheet for us is the ability to complete questionnaires without wifi.”
Ultimately, the use of AppSheet has transformed the way GCI operates serves its mission.
“The ability to create apps and collect information through AppSheet has greatly improved the efficiency of data collection and GCI’s ability to understand what is happening with projects and patients around the world.”