Doctors to prescribe wellness to cancer patients in new US pilot
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Doctors to prescribe wellness to cancer patients in new US pilot

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A crucial part of this pilot is that wellness practitioners will become an integral part of the medical team

As of January 2022, US doctors and nurses will begin prescribing wellness modalities to those touched by cancer.

The move is part of a unique pilot app developed by digital health platform ApricityHealth to help cancer patients proactively monitor and manage their side effects from cancer treatment.

The 24/7 platform will be an add-on service for patients available through their physician.

Prescribed by patients’ healthcare providers, the platform will offer guidance and interactive check-ins for patients using artificial intelligence to assess what side effects users are experiencing and at what severity.

These results will be scaled against an adverse events rating scale which, if critical, will trigger an alert directed to certified oncology nurses, available 24/7.

In response, nurses will provide advice and guide patients on what the best course of action is via a call or telehealth consultation, or direct them to a doctor or emergency room.

Crucially, one of the options will also allow physicians to refer patients for supportive ‘wellness’ care which may include a massage, breathwork, yoga, health coaching or skin health consultations with physician-vetted wellness practitioners who follow evidence-based guidelines matching clinical standards.

Patients referred to these wellness care sessions may be able to redeem the cost via dedicated insurance codes for their HSA and FSA reimbursement accounts.

Apricity is partnering with cancer patient support organisation Hope and Beauty MD to deliver this pilot.

Hope and Beauty is founded by surgical oncologist and medical director of Apricity, Shyamali Mallick Singhal MD, PhD, who's collaborating with Wellness for Cancer founder Julie Bach and Becky Kuehn – founder of Oncology Spa Solutions.

Plans for the pilot were revealed at a workshop at the 15th annual Global Wellness Summit, sponsored by Biologique Recherche, and spearheaded by Bach and Singhal.

“The goal of the app is for patients and physicians to safely incorporate certified evidence-based wellness solutions into the care process,” says Singhal.

The duo is passionate that doctors should incorporate wellness into the healthcare system to help deliver whole person and whole body care, versus just disease care, for those dealing with cancer and in a vulnerable state.

Bach and Singhal believe this pilot will help patients acquire and learn how to apply valuable tools such as exercise, mindfulness and meditation to help support them build resilience through their cancer journey.

“Healing comes when the mind and the body are both moving in the same direction,” says Singhal.

Both are eager to begin humanising medicine for cancer patients, they say.

“The other important part of this pilot is that wellness practitioners will become an integral part of the medical team,” adds Bach.

“Oftentimes patients might not communicate the entire picture to their doctors – such as worries about changes in mental health or their skin – because they’re worried they’re not ‘important enough’.

“However, they’re much more likely to share these concerns with these wellness practitioners, who can directly give feedback to the patient’s physician and provide additional information about the patient and their overall health status.”

All the information and insights from the patient collected by the Apricity oncology nurses and wellness professionals will be shared with the patient's primary care physician, meaning the wellness team will be encompassed within the clinical team.

Bach and Singhal are confident that once the pilot launches it will help encourage the further convergence of medicine and wellness and also set a benchmark for how both industries can work together to best serve those with cancer.

For more information, please contact Julie Bach at [email protected].

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As of January 2022, US doctors and nurses will begin prescribing wellness modalities to those touched by cancer.

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