Amgen has formed new partnerships to initiate the new Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health (L.A.U.N.C.H) programme aimed at improving cancer care symptom management in the US.

The US biopharmaceutical company has collaborated with National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Connect2Health Task Force, the University of Kentucky (UK) Markey Cancer Center and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Design Lab on this project.

Under the programme, the organisations will leverage human-centred design methodologies to determine patients, caregivers and healthcare provider needs.

The insights obtained through the technologies will then be utilised to develop and provide a connected solution that will allow patients to better manage the symptoms of their cancer.

Initially, the partners will target underserved rural populations in Appalachian Kentucky, with plans to extend the model to other symptom management projects in the future.

Amgen Global Value-Based Partnerships vice-president Peter Juhn said: “Amgen is excited to be a part of this multi-partner collaboration that taps into the expertise of many cross-functional partners who all have a shared goal of improved cancer outcomes.

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“What sets this project apart is that we will bring together human-centred design and digital health technologies, enabled by better connectivity, to help improve cancer outcomes through better symptom management.”

“We will bring together human-centred design and digital health technologies, enabled by better connectivity, to help improve cancer outcomes through better symptom management.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans living in rural areas are more at risk of death from cancer when compared with their counterparts in urban regions.

UK College of Public Health associate professor and Markey director of Community Outreach and Engagement Robin Vanderpool said: “This unique collaboration will allow us to connect an underserved population to resources that can help patients manage the symptoms that accompany cancer treatment and beyond, ultimately leading to an improved quality of life.”

Analysis conducted as part of the new programme indicated that rural ‘cancer hotspots’ are also affected by lack in broadband access and adoption.

NCI Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch chief Bradford Hesse said: “When patients report symptoms electronically to their care providers they are almost twice as likely to report improvements in health-related quality of life as those without broadband access.

“Electronically connected patients are also less likely to be admitted to the emergency room and have greater survival rates.”