Otago Polytechnic

Southern District Health Board

Our students have been helping the Southern DHB develop a new app for adolescents and young adults who are living with cancer.

The Southern District Health Board (DHB) approached Otago Polytechnic for help developing an app to meet a need identified by adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer, to have mobile access to their treatment information. During treatment patients have a strong support from staff but afterwards it was identified that there is limited to help to navigate their transition to the outside world.

The app would include their personal health information, cancer diagnosis, treatment information, follow-up guidelines, information about potential late effects of treatment (for example the risk of depression), tips for healthy living, and contact details for both their treatment team members and the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service. Having access to an app at a time that suits young people means that information can be drip fed at the right time.

In the first half of 2017 a team of Communication Design students created initial screen designs for organising and accessing the information to be provided. In the second half of the year Bachelor of Information Technology students used those designs to build an Android app that is a working prototype. The final stages of development of the AYA Rangatahi Uruwhenua passport app before providing it to the DHB included adding password protection. It requires DHB onsite server support.

At this stage the working prototype is unable to be developed to its full capacity however the experience and insights gained from both organisations and the students has been invaluable for future working relationships.

April 2018