Chapel Hill, NC-based Rex Healthcare has unveiled a custom mobile app aimed at providing its cancer patients more personalized treatment. Features include a tool to track appointments, communicate directly with members of their care team, manage medications, as well as the ability to connect directly with other patients.

“Many hospitals around the country have created general apps suited for a broad patient population. However, Rex’s strategy is to offer apps tailored to the needs of specific types of patients,” said Jason Papagan, Rex’s manager of eMarketing. “We believe collaboration between our marketing and clinical teams can create new approaches for apps that will greatly enhance the patients’ experience.”

The app has a well balanced mix of practical, useful, and light-hearted features which in sum are well positioned to improve all elements of a patient’s care experience.

Susan Shadle, a working mother from Morrisville, is currently receiving treatment at Rex for stage four breast cancer. After downloading the app, she immediately created a contact list of the physicians and other cancer providers she sees and plans to use the patient connect features for support throughout her treatment.

“When you’re getting chemo, it can be difficult to keep track of all your appointments and other important aspects of your care,” Shadle said. “This app is a great example of how technology can help make life a little bit easier.”

“This is another resource Rex can offer its patients to enhance the excellent care they already receive,” said Lisa Schiller, Rex’s vice president of marketing, who is also a cancer survivor. “We saw more than 3,200 new cancer patients last year, and thousands more see us for routine check-ups after treatment is completed. All will benefit from the features of this app.”

Another cool, engaging, and light-hearted feature of the app that I found compelling was the virtual wig shop, which is exactly what it sounds like. The app prompts users to either select a portrait of themselves or take a new photo which they then overlay images of various wig styles onto. Below you can see a few different options I was presented with when trying out the feature.

The app uses Facebook to enable patients to connect directly to other patients, which seems to indicate the ability to interact directly with both fellow patients in your social network, or even just family/friends from their immediate support network. This reminds me of a feature included in the GlucoseBuddy app, which allows pediatric diabetics receive support from members of their immediate social network as they battle the many challenges of juvenile diabetes.

Rex worked with Durham-based SmartOnline to develop the cancer care app. This is the first in a suite of mobile applications Rex has coming down the pipeline in the coming months. Next up is an app for members of the Rex Wellness Centers across Wake County.