Cancer Support Community and Equiva Health partner to create new industry standard for digital cancer support

CSC is using Equiva’s platform to bring digital resources to underserved communities

WASHINGTON, June 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Cancer Support Community (CSC), a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting and strengthening people impacted by cancer, has partnered with Equiva Health (Equiva) to bring an innovative model of care to underserved communities. CSC is using Equiva’s health relationship management platform to bring CSC’s support services and other offerings to individuals in their homes via Wi-Fi-enabled tablets. The platform enables CSC to bring a range of educational, support and other resources together into an intuitive-to-navigate single-screen interface. The approach with this easy-to-use, connected device is to make important services readily available anytime and anywhere..

Through a pilot program launched in December 2022, Gilda’s Club Twin Cities became the first CSC network partner to provide out-of-the-box, ready-to-use devices to residents in Minnesota. Since then, programs have launched with CSC-San Francisco Bay Area and CSC- Breckinridge Health in Kentucky. Launching soon are CSC-Arizona where participants are expected to engage from the Hopi and Navajo Nations, and CSC Los Angeles. CSC plans to expand the program to other network partners to reach even more medically underserved communities, including people residing in rural areas. In combination with the tablets, network partners use CSC’s proprietary Cancer Support Source validated distress screening program that fully integrates screening, referral and follow up care as well as CMS’s Health Related Social Needs screener built onto the CSC digital platform. The pilot partner is able to ascertain what level of support the members need remotely as well as automate referrals to appropriate resources and programs using these tools.

Research conducted by Medscape and Walmart shows that people living in rural areas have lower cancer survival rates than those residing in urban areas. Additionally, only 25% of rural healthcare professionals think their patients have adequate access to mental health services. With these statistics in mind, CSC and Equiva recognize the importance of expanding into these communities.

“From my own experience growing up in rural Virginia, I know firsthand the challenges that you’re met with when living in a remote rural community,” said CSC CEO Debbie Weir. “We must overcome rural access barriers by advancing telehealth solutions that can seamlessly connect people to resources, support, their communities, and to the oncology community at large. We chose Equiva as our innovation partner based on their proven success in using digital health engagement technology effectively and efficiently.”

Individuals who qualify will receive support from CSC and Equiva to apply for the FCC’s $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) via an ACP-approved ISP partner. “The ACP is a wonderful initiative focused on ensuring that households can afford the broadband they need for healthcare, work, and school,” said Equiva CEO Nir Altman. “Our teams saw a unique opportunity to partner in providing improved healthcare for exactly the people the FCC hopes to reach with this program. It’s rewarding to help bridge a known gap.”

“We hear from health care providers that this will help their patients who don’t have access to the internet or aren’t able to attend programs in person.  Having the tablet pre-loaded with access to support groups, classes, workshops and information will help them better deal with a cancer diagnosis and feel less isolated,” said Margaret Stauffer, LMFT, Chief Mission Officer at Cancer Support Community San Francisco Bay Area.

This partnership comes following the reignition of President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, an initiative created to reduce the deadly impact of cancer and improve the patient experience throughout the cancer continuum. The President has personally tasked medical and public health communities to expand their outreach and areas of services to underserved communities.  

In addition to being preloaded with CSC resources, the tablet devices are being customized with the goal of addressing the needs of different underserved communities. Through this project, CSC and Equiva will seek to determine if use of Equiva’s Connect at Home devices provides an effective way to deploy support services, if the approach increases access to resources, and if connecting digitally in this manner is beneficial to rural and medically underserved populations experiencing a cancer diagnosis. Usage will be monitored to identify the content and services accessed most frequently by patients and caregivers. This data will help guide future decisions about interface design and program offerings and will help inform expansion to a wide range of underserved populations.

Learn more about how this partnership is utilizing the ACP:

About the Cancer Support Community

As the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community (CSC), including its Gilda’s Club network partners, is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community. CSC achieves its mission through three areas: direct service delivery, research, and advocacy. The organization’s Institute for Excellence in Psychosocial Care includes an international network that offers the highest quality social and emotional support for people impacted by cancer, as well as a community of support available online and over the phone. The Research and Training Institute conducts cutting-edge psychosocial, behavioral, and survivorship research. CSC furthers its focus on patient advocacy through its Cancer Policy Institute, informing public policy in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.

About Equiva Health

Equiva’s health relationship management platform helps healthcare organizations develop and retain long-term customer relationships and support initiatives to advance health equity, improve health outcomes and drive financial success. Equiva blends aspects of patient engagement, care management, and marketing in a framework that bridges data analytics with education and behavioral science-driven methodologies – to purposefully mobilize intelligence-driven action among consumers, patients, their loved ones, and care team members.  A point solution aggregation and software delivery environment, Equiva’s SaaS platform can securely power any number of education and engagement solutions via mobile devices (tablets and phones,) kiosks, televisions, digital signage and more to advance any healthcare organization’s strategic goals and initiatives.

CONTACT: Nathalie Casthely
Cancer Support Community