The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?

Exploring ways technology, connectivity and health data can make a difference for cancer patients.

When a Twitter icon indicated I had a new direct message last Tuesday, I took my time opening it. I was down with a bad case of the flu, including a fever and a cough that had stolen my voice, and I wasn’t at the top of my game. However, when I finally clicked on the icon, I felt a jolt of adrenaline.

The message was from “@PresCancerPanel” and started “We’d like to invite you to …”

I leaned forward to double check. I wasn’t hallucinating. The President's Cancer Panel had invited me to participate as a patient advocate in one of their workshops. I almost screamed "YES!", but given my voiceless state, I responded on my iPad as fast as my fingers would permit.

So, I will be flying from Seattle to San Francisco to participate in the President's Cancer Panel workshop on March 26, 2015. The PCP's 2014-15 workshop series Connected Health: Improving Patients’ Engagement and Activation for Cancer-Related Health Outcomes aims "to answer timely, critical questions about connected health strategies and technologies and their potential to engage and activate individuals and patients, with the ultimate goal of improving cancer-related outcomes." Their December 2014 workshop had an impressive list of speakers and participants.

The workshop in which I will be participating is titled, "The Personal Health Data Revolution, Connected Health, and Cancer." It will touch on several topics of interest to me: value of patient networks, ownership of patient-generated data, changing the research process, using electronic health records for the benefit of patients, and privacy and security safeguards. I'm hopeful I will be able to make a valuable contribution to the workshop and make a difference for cancer patients.

I anticipate this workshop will address technology opportunities such as:

  • leveraging patient networks to accelerate cancer research and improve outcomes
  • acknowledging that patients own any data generated as part of their care
  • using devices such as Apple’s new ResearchKit to connect patients to their clinical trials
  • making clinical trial searches easier and more understandable
  • ensuring medical records follow the patient for second opinions and treatment at different facilities

I feel honored, and still a bit stunned, to be a patient voice at this event. If you have any inputs or links to resources you wish me to see before this workshop, please post them in a comment.