A web/mobile emotional support system for people living with cancer
The emotional ride through the cancer journey can sometimes be really rough. CanSurround can help.
We focus exclusively on helping people learn how to reduce needless distress, create emotional well-being and build resilience. CanSurround provides information and inspiration to guide participants toward choices that foster personal growth and healing. We provide patients and caregivers with a toolbox full of research-based features and educational content. With many users already benefitting from our services, we intend to bring peace and calm to millions more.
As debilitating as cancer can be physically, the illness takes a toll emotionally, socially and spiritually as well. The psychosocial distress associated with cancer has been documented in numerous studies as a predictor of reduced quality of life and poor health outcomes. Unfortunately to date, many patients have been reluctant to seek emotional help and therefore, accept distress as an inherent part of their cancer experience. According to numerous studies, this untreated distress leads to treatment noncompliance, increased hospital visits and reduced survival time.
We believe most of the psychosocial distress is needless. In fact, until recently, attention to patients’ psychosocial health has been the exception rather than the rule in cancer care. Thankfully, the health care industry is taking collective steps to address psychosocial distress, as well as improved quality of life in survivorship.
Despite this progress, however, it’s still early in the game and there is still no convenient technology-based solution on the market.
Additionally, as the population ages and cancer incidence rates continue to climb, the current solution of human-based interventions is not viable or cost effective; it simply cannot scale. Furthermore, as the smartphone trend continues to explode (2.6 billion users by 2017), there’s a clear opportunity – and a pressing need – to infuse technology.
While doctors and nurses focus on the physical aspects of cancer and its treatment, patients and caregivers can attend to their minds, emotions and spirit withCanSurround – a personalized, highly imaginative, comprehensive web/mobile emotional support system for people living with cancer.
By nurturing a trusted relationship with every user, CanSurround helps cancer patients and their loved ones to better navigate the cancer experience. In fact, the platform promotes resilience, fosters confidence and enhances self-advocacy so participants can let go of some of their fear and distress. With CanSurround, users can access customized psychosocial information and helpful interventions through a creative multimedia display. Thanks to full mobile capabilities, CanSurround is guaranteed to be there at times of distress (often in the middle of the night), or whenever a user simply wants more support.
Additionally, CanSurround also remedies pain points for cancer centers and parties at risk for health care costs, who seek to lower unnecessary costs and drive improvements in quality of care. CanSurround is an ideal solution to meet the accreditation standards of distress management imposed by the Commission on Cancer, which accredits more than 75 percent of all cancer centers. Based on our experience and market research, cancer centers are seeking turnkey, cost-effective solutions to augment minimal and fragmented services (overwhelmed nurses, social workers and psychologists).
Psychosocial distress can arise for a number of different reasons, including information insufficiency, information overload, a feeling of loss of control, or a sense of isolation. Some patients are troubled by invasive thoughts and many also experience a heightened sense of mortality. CanSurround is with them every step of the way, providing help whenever they need it. Here are some of the features offered:
Checklists & trackers – Novel tools that provide practical education and resources, which enable patients and caregivers to better navigate the health care delivery system and self-advocate.
Multimedia journal – A confidential personal space where participants can record their stories and experiences, build memories and ultimately, gain inspiration.
Mind-body exercises – Practices and experiences such as meditation, guided imagery and breathwork that help strengthen the mind-body connection and reduce stress.
Thought inquiry – A process to help patients and caregivers identify and question stressful thoughts, one at a time, to make room for clarity and peace.
Support circle – An intimate group of supporters whom participants invite to share chosen aspects of their CanSurround experience.
With you in mind – Specially selected messages and articles, emailed periodically, to educate, inspire and spark insight.
Because our user base is diverse, we’ve configured these features so participants can choose experiences that speak to them and meet their unique needs wherever and whenever they choose.
Improving the way patients and caregivers experience the cancer journey is certainly no easy task, but we’re off to a good start at CanSurround. Since incorporating in August 2013, we’ve been hard at work on R&D – uncovering the top needs in psychosocial cancer care and incorporating them into our platform. Now, we’re ready with our commercial product and embarking on a mass-market rollout. Here are a few notable achievements that have marked our journey to date:
Successful pilot launch. In January 2015, a pilot was conducted with 56 participants from four cancer centers. Feedback from these initial users was impressive. We achieved very high scores (averaging between 4-5 on a 5-point Likert scale) with regard to: Overall satisfaction, helpfulness with feeling more in control of stress, value of information provided and ease of use. In fact, 87 percent of pilot users said they would recommend CanSurround to a friend.
Market readiness achieved.
Built based on feedback from our pilot, the commercial product was ready in early 2016.
Enterprise customers signing up.
In August 2016, we signed a three-year contract (totaling six figures) with a $1.5 billion National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Community Cancer Center (more that 3,500 new cancer patients a year). In September 2016, we signed a contract with another regional cancer center that has recently affiliated with a large university health system (giving us access to a significantly larger patient population). We continue to finalize a commercial deal with a specialty pharmacy. Additionally, we are in late-stage discussion with an international equipment/software vendor ($3.3 billion in revenue) that is building a patient portal that would be vehicle for large-scale distribution of CanSurround. Finally, we have great traction with a large, self-insured employer (110,000 beneficiaries).
Getting love from the community. We’ve won awards for digital health innovation, including taking first place in the 2015 Doctors 2.0 & You competition, and being a semi-finalist in a June 2014 LiveStrong competition. Additionally, we presented on the main stage at the Stanford Medicine X conference in 2015. We’ve also been mentioned positively in multiple publications.
Meg Maley, RN, BSN, Chief Executive Officer, CanSurround, shares, “Healing the Whole Person: Cancer, Emotional Health and Technology,” at the 2015 Stanford Medicine X conference in Palo Alto, CA.
While our past is quite impressive, you can find out what lies ahead for CanSurround by requesting access to our profile’s private side.
Our visionary executives first conceptualized the CanSurround platform after working at mobile health innovator WellDoc. Exposure to the mobile health world ignited a passion among the three experienced entrepreneurs to explore the many ways technology could transform the lives of those living with cancer. Soon thereafter, CanSurround was born. Let’s meet our leaders:
Our day-to-day leader has more than 28 years of experience in oncology and technology. Meg also has expertise in creating, growing and selling startups. Responsible for overall strategic direction and implementation, Meg oversees operations and business development with a focus on creating stakeholder and shareholder value. Meg is at the helm of our company’s culture, as well as a member of our board of directors.
Jill has more than 18 years of experience as an executive leader, and has become an expert in productizing and commercializing oncology care delivery. She gained valuable mobile health experience during her time at WellDoc. Jill is fully responsible for our product vision and roadmap.
Jon is a seasoned financial management executive, serial board member and experienced venture capitalist. For CanSurround, Jon sits on the board of directors and oversees finance, capital procurement and legal/regulatory adherence.
A member of CanSurround’s board of directors, Paul brings to CanSurround 25 years of experience leading teams in business-to-consumer Internet and scaled-technology infrastructure. He has acquired companies and developed online and traditional business infrastructure in 18 international markets. Paul is an alumnus of Ticketmaster, Disney and Interactive Corp.
We also receive valuable outside support from a talented Board of Advisors, including the following individuals (among others):
- Suzanne Clough, MD, Co-Founder/former Chief Medical Officer of WellDoc;
- Charlie Hartwell, Operating Partner at the Bridge Builders Collaborative;
- Byron Katie, bestselling author and thought-inquiry expert;
- Liza Bernstein, three-time cancer survivor and ePatient advocate/mentor;
- Daniel Rosenberg, global UX strategy and product design expert;
- Pam Ressler, RN, international mindfulness and resilience expert.