Technology for people living with cancer has advanced in recent years and the use of smartphone applications has increased over the last 12 months because of the effects of COVID-19.
The Vinehealth app helps people living with cancer to track their symptoms, manage their medications and understand their care. Our mission is to empower people living with cancer and transform the delivery of cancer services. Vinehealth puts cancer patients back in control of their treatment and can be used anywhere at any time. We spoke to the team to find out more.
Tell us about your organisation…
Vinehealth was co-founded in 2018 by Dr Rayna Patel an NHS doctor and Georgina Kirby a data scientist, who both have a shared passion for improving quality of life for people going through cancer. As a doctor, Rayna saw first-hand that people living with cancer often feel isolated and unsupported by the healthcare system, and Georgina understood the value of using technology to provide these needs, directly at patient’s fingertips and in the comfort of their own home. Together, they created Vinehealth to help solve these issues and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer.
What services do you offer people living with cancer?
The Vinehealth app supports people living with cancer to track their medication, appointments, symptoms/side-effects, activities and much more, as well as providing smart reminders and supporting people to communicate with their loved ones and care team. We work with leading charities to provide supportive article content for app users to learn more about cancer, its effects and how best to manage them. The reports section can give a clear understanding of your symptom trends and reports can be downloaded to share with your care team before appointments, to ensure you are getting the right treatment and support.
The app also contains short courses and breathing exercises to help with wellbeing and anxiety. Vinehealth aims to support you in a holistic way, to enable you to feel more in control of your cancer care.
Do you have a target demographic who use your services?
The Vinehealth app has been specifically designed to be accessible to all. We understand that all ages can suffer with various health problems so we have ensured that our app is tailored to suit the needs of anyone who might suffer from poor vision, hearing problems, mobility or cognition issues – as we know how difficult and impactful managing health problems on top of cancer-related health effects can be. We have considered those who may not be used to using technology and apps, to ensure Vinehealth is easy to navigate and understand.
The Vinehealth app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play for free by anyone in the UK living with cancer or caring for someone with cancer. (Over 18’s only)
How are you funded?
Vinehealth is funded through a combination of private investment and grant funding from organisations including NHSx, the Health Foundation and Innovate UK.
How have things changed for you since COVID-19?
Vinehealth has been able to support more people living with cancer, especially during the pandemic when patients have had less access to in-person appointments and treatments. The Vinehealth app allows people living with cancer to remotely manage their care and be more in control. Vinehealth was selected by NHSx to support the COVID-19 effort in early 2020 and the pandemic has highlighted further how vital digital tools like Vinehealth are in supporting the quality of life of people living with cancer.
What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?
We are so grateful to be able to provide support to people living with cancer, through a tool they can easily use and helps them daily to feel more in control of their care. Making a positive impact on patients’ lives is what’s most important to us and so the most rewarding part of our work is when we hear from our community that they have enjoyed or benefitted from using what we’ve built.
What would you say to those who are considering getting in touch with you but are nervous or apprehensive?
We are here to help you, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact. We are a small, friendly and dedicated team who will be happy to assist. The app is totally free, so why not just give it a go and see what you think. We are also always looking for ways to improve the tool, so if there’s a feature you would like or something extra you think it could help with, we’d love to know so that we can build it for you!
Do you have testimonials from people that have used your services?
“The app is very good and actually for me currently it has all the functions I could ask for in keeping track of my treatment!”
“I think the app is a brilliant idea, it has kept me focused on my medication routine and has given me loads of information regarding cancer issues.”
“The app is definitely helping me keep track. I’ve had headaches the last few days and because I’ve logged them and when they started, when I next speak to my consultant on Friday it’ll be much easier to explain when they started.”
Who works for you?
We are a small hard-working team of 10, with doctors, designers, patients and technology experts all helping to make the Vinehealth app as good as it can be. We are also supported by organisations like NHS England, Macmillan, the Royal Marsden and many of the leading UK cancer charities.
What are the values of your organisation?
The team at Vinehealth believe that everyone should feel supported, empowered and in control of their healthcare, and that health is not just about “what’s the matter with you?”, but “what matters to you”. Every person living with cancer is an individual, with their own needs and hopes, and we want to help ensure that patients are cared for as individuals, in the most convenient way possible.
And finally, can you describe your organisation in 3 words?
Passionate, Caring and ‘Here to help’!