According to data from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), approximately reports 32 million Americans live in counties without an oncologist. In these areas, cancer patients may struggle to find or have no access to support for symptom management, mental health, nutrition and other challenges brought on by the cancer experience.
A digital care management platform can provide positive value and impact by supporting patients who may otherwise not have access to holistic oncology care. This is the conclusion is based on a poster presentation during the 48th Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society/ONS Congress, held April 26 – 30, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas.
Iris™, a digital service developed by oncologists, connects cancer patients instantly to US-based, high-quality, interdisciplinary and personalized cancer care, including 24/7 on-demand oncology nurses, oncology-specialized mental health therapists, oncology nutrition support, a community of trained peer mentors (cancer survivors), and proactive digital outreach and content from Iris clinicians.
The service, developed by OncoHealth, is available at no cost to patients.
Improving quality of Life
Research finds that symptom monitoring and access to supportive oncology care can improve quality of life, reduce emergency department visits and hospital admissions, and decrease the total cost of care for cancer patients. 
“Iris is bringing tailored oncology care to patients when and where they need it through a first-of-its-kind digital platform available via smartphone,” explained Anju Chowattukunnel, BSN, RN, OCN, Senior Director of Oncology Nursing, OncoHealth.
“I’m proud our oncology nursing team is available 24/7 to provide immediate side effect and symptom management support. Giving a patient instant access to oncology clinicians to triage a symptom can help them avoid a potential unnecessary urgent care or emergency room visit, reducing financial and travel burdens and calming anxieties around unknown cancer treatment symptoms,” Chowattukunnel added.
Iris™ is currently available through participating health plans.
Poster ID: P111
Poster Title: Multidisciplinary team embraces technology to advance support of cancer patients
Date: Friday, April 28, 2023
Time: 1:20-1:30 p.m. CT
 2020 Snapshot: State of the Oncology Workforce in America. JCO Oncol Pract. 2021 Jan;17(1):30. doi: 10.1200/OP.20.00577. Epub 2020 Aug 24. PMID: 32840423.
 Montero AJ, Stevenson J, Guthrie AE, Best C, Goodman LM, Shrotriya S, Azzouqa AG, Parala A, Lagman R, Bolwell BJ, Kalaycio ME, Khorana AA. Reducing Unplanned Medical Oncology Readmissions by Improving Outpatient Care Transitions: A Process Improvement Project at the Cleveland Clinic. J Oncol Pract. 2016 May;12(5):e594-602. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2015.007880. Epub 2016 Apr 5. PMID: 27048613.
 Temel JS, Greer JA, Muzikansky A, Gallagher ER, Admane S, Jackson VA, Dahlin CM, Blinderman CD, Jacobsen J, Pirl WF, Billings JA, Lynch TJ. Early palliative care for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. N Engl J Med. 2010 Aug 19;363(8):733-42. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1000678. PMID: 20818875.
Featured image Mary Eineman on Unsplash. Used with permission.