ATLANTA (May 3, 2011) – The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta announced today the successful launch of the SurvivorLink information technology system—a crucial tool to help physicians, clinical staff and patient families ensure childhood cancer survivors have optimal health and quality of life. SurvivorLink is led by the Aflac Cancer Center, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and HIMformatics.
“Due to the incredible success rates in treating pediatric patients, about 80 percent of children and young adults with cancer will survive the disease,” said Dr. Lillian Meacham, Medical Director of the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center, Professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and holds the Kathelen V. Amos Children's Chair for Cancer Survivorship through The Aflac Foundation. “Cancer survivors have a variety of needs due to late effects from treatment, and we are excited that we can help ensure they get the care they need to maintain a productive and healthy life.”
Late effects of cancer include physical, psychological and social issues, such as learning disabilities, vision and hearing problems, diseases of the heart, blood vessels and lungs and growth and physical maturity complications. These can occur at the time of treatment or can first appear many years after treatment ends. It is critical for all cancer survivors to be monitored long-term for late effects of cancer treatment and supported throughout their lifetime. A critical component of survivorship care is the development of a Survivor Healthcare Plan. This plan should include 3 things 1) a medical summary of the cancer diagnosis and treatment 2) an individualized late effects risk profile and 3) a personal surveillance plan for the detection of late effects.
In SurivorLink, a web-based system, the survivor can store an electronic copy of their Survivor Healthcare Plan and can invite all of their healthcare providers to view their health documents. Having all of their doctors “on the same page” facilitates coordinated comprehensive care. On SurvivorLink, they also have access to educational materials to improve awareness and knowledge, national guidelines for survivorship care and other clinical information needed to provide long-term care. Regardless of where a cancer patient resides, SurvivorLink electronically facilitates communication and shares information among the survivor, survivor team, primary care physician and any subspecialist.
In just a little more than a year, SurvivorLink has had more than 160 registered users consisting primarily of patients and families, physicians, pediatric nurse practitioners and registered nurses. The system has had an average of more than 200 visitors each month. While most visitors have been from 60 cities throughout Georgia, SurvivorLink also had visitors from many areas around the country and a few from international locations. With these types of results, the Aflac Cancer Center sees potential for expansion into other states, or adoption by other chronic pediatric disease or adult cancer follow-up.
SurvivorLink is part of the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center led by Dr. Lillian Meacham. The program was established in 2001 now following more than 1,000 childhood and adolescent cancer survivors in search of ways to improve their continued health care. In 2007, Dr. Ann Mertens joined the team at the Aflac Cancer Center and with the Emory Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Mertens is a world-renowned researcher in cancer survivor science and serves as the Director of the Center for Clinical Outcomes Research and Public Health. This newly established research center is part of a larger research effort on behalf of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in partnership with Emory University to improve the health of children across the world.
Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s
The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a national leader among childhood cancer, hematology, and blood and marrow transplant programs, serving infants to young adults. Recognized as one of the top childhood cancer centers in the country by U.S.News & World Report, the Aflac Cancer Center treats more than 350 new cancer patients each year and follows more than 2,500 patients with sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other blood disorders. Visit www.aflaccancercenter.org or call 404-785-1112 or 888-785-1112 for more information.
Children’s Healthcare of AtlantaChildren’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education. Managing more than half a million patient visits annually at three hospitals and 17 neighborhood locations, Children’s is one of the largest clinical care providers for children in the country. Children’s offers access to more than 30 pediatric specialties and is ranked among the top children’s hospitals by Parents magazine and U.S.News & World Report. With generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children’s has made an impact in the lives of children in Georgia, the United States and throughout the world. Visit www.choa.org for more information.