Diagnosis sparks app idea

Consider recommending this free app to patients who need support managing daily life in the face of chronic illness

Melburnian Justin McLean (pictured above) was in his 40s, fit and healthy and at the prime of his corporate career with PwC, when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

After 13 months of treatment, Mr McLean’s mother was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and sadly passed away a year later.

As both a patient and carer in the healthcare system, Mr McLean discovered there were “profound gaps” and inconsistencies in care around life outside of the hospital.

“For the most part, treatment can be lonely and fragmented. You don’t get any preparation or training on how to deal with this type of situation,” says Mr McLean.

“For me, 90% of my entire cancer experience was spent outside of the hospital, which can be paralysing for patients trying to navigate through their journey.”

It was this experience that prompted him to create Thrivor.

Launched on Wednesday, Thrivor is a free-to-download app that has been developed as a practical solution for life beyond medical intervention.

Both patients and support people can sign up for the app, share content and chat with one another.

“Thrivor is an accessible and easy to use platform for all people facing a challenging diagnosis,” Mr McLean tells AJP.

“Pharmacy staff are at the frontline of out-of-hospital care and are trusted health advisors within their communities. We want to educate pharmacy staff about the Thrivor offering so they are better equipped to help support customers being treated for cancer or chronic illness,” he says.

“We see pharmacists and pharmacy assistants playing a crucial role in informing all Australians about the Thrivor app and how it can help them better navigate their daily lives. The app allows users to manage and record appointments, organise transport to treatment, hire a cleaner or a babysitter, book a home visit nurse and most importantly connect support networks.”

“As a nation, we need to consider promising new tech solutions to help solve the challenge of caring more effectively,” says Melbourne GP Dr Jagdeesh Singh Dhaliwal.

“There is definite need for a mobile solution like Thrivor in Australia to support patients and their networks.

“I’ve had experience of similar approaches in the UK that have demonstrated highly encouraging results for the patient and carer community.”

The app has partnered with other platforms to allow users to manage and record and variety of services including:

  • Support group feature enables a patient to build a network of family and friends to help care for them in a coordinated way throughout their health challenge.
  • Appointment functionality to help people manage and record their appointments, as well as share these with their support network.
  • Integration with Uber to help people organise transport to and from appointments when needed, “as hospital parking is a major pain point for both patients and their carers,” says Mr McLean.
  • Task feature to enable patients to create tasks which their support network of family and friends can help with.
  • Access to hipages, to allow patients to hire help such as cleaners, gardeners or other tradies.
  • Users can hire a babysitter through Sittr, a mobile platform of vetted nannies and babysitters.
  • Better Caring can be accessed through Thrivor, to hire independent care and support workers to come to the patient’s home.
  • Prezzee linkage allows networks to send a patient an online gift card from a variety of retailers.
  • Chat feature allows people to connect with their support group, to update and communicate with them.

The app is free to download for both patients and supporters.

It is available for both Apple and Android devices from the App Store and Google Play.

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