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ASH 2021: Digital Health Tools for Myeloma Patients
Posted: Dec 13, 2021
ASH 2021: Digital Health Tools for Myeloma Patients image

Abstracts selected for poster sessions at the American Society for Hematology annual meeting represent important, novel information in the field of blood cancers.  This format allows a greater number of authors the opportunity to share their research and ideas.  Personally, this was one of my favorite parts of the meeting.  There was a wide range of interesting and thought-provoking topics that I could absorb at my own pace.  I spent a considerable amount of time walking up and down the aisles of the poster hall!

There were several posters on digital health tools for multiple myeloma patients relating to topics such as autologous stem cell transplant, CAR-T therapy, and virtual care for routine office visits.  The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rapid change in the use of digital health tools.

Here is a sampling of poster presentations on digital health tools.

Poster #1933  The Use of Virtual Care in Patients with Hematologic Malignancies – A Scoping Review

Adam, Suleman, Abi Vijenthira, Alejandro Berlin, Anca Prica, Danielle Rodin

Virtual care encompasses all the ways healthcare providers remotely interact with patients.  The use of virtual care dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the risk of infection.  The majority of studies have focused on patients with solid tumor malignancies.  Hematologic malignancies are unique due to increased infection risk from underlying disease and immunosuppression.


  • Virtual care for patients with hematologic malignancies has been provided through mobile apps, phone calls, and video interventions
  • Patients with a variety of hematologic malignancies, including after stem cell transplant were highly satisfied with virtual care
  • Provider concerns with virtual care were related to technological concerns
  • Additional research is needed to evaluate the optimal method of integrating virtual care into routine patient care

Poster #3009   Feasibility of a Supportive Mobile Health App during CAR-T Therapy

Banerjee R, Sykes A, Shah N, Andreadis C, Sayre PH, Martin TG, Shore J, Sodowick A, Wong SW

CAR-T therapy can be complex for patients and their caregivers.  In the weeks before CAR-T treatment, patients must process large amounts of information and coordinate logistics, such as arranging for caregivers, lodging, transportation, and more.  Following therapy, patients must be monitored closely for toxicities such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS).  Patients will also need to be monitored for potential late side effects.

Mobile health apps may be able to improve the patient experience during CAR-T therapy by facilitating coordination of care, symptom monitoring, and patient education.

Planned Features of Mobile Health App

  • Utilizes the electronic patient portal
  • Separate secure patient and caregivers’ logins to personalize content
  • Use of videos to introduce CAR-T therapy and key terminology
  • Disease-specific and product-specific information added where applicable
  • “Appointment companion” feature allows patients to identify and prioritize important topics before each clinic visit.
  • Discharge checklists
  • Symptom monitoring - prompts for daily temperature checks
  • A clear survivorship care plan

Poster #4023   Trials in progress:  Randomized Study of Digital Life Coaching during Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation for Myeloma

Banerjee R, Lazar AA, Ryan C, Knoche J, Brassil KJ, Jackson L, Patel D, Lo M, Arora S, Chung A, Wong SW, Wolf JL, Martin TG, Dhruva A, Shah N

An autologous stem cell transplant is an emotionally challenging experience.  Patients with multiple myeloma undergoing stem cell transplantation can face acute symptomatic issues including anxiety, distress, insomnia, and fatigue.   

A life coach is defined as a wellness professional who helps individuals make progress in their lives in order to attain greater fulfillment.   This pilot study of digital life coaching, whereby life coaches work with multiple myeloma patients during the stem cell transplant process via phone calls and text messages.   Life coaches provide support, education, and accountability to help patients achieve their personal wellness goals.

The Phase 2 study of digital life coaching versus usual care is ongoing.  Ultimately, digital life coaching may become a standard of care for patients with hematologic malignancies undergoing autologous stem cell transplant.  Improving a patient’s quality of life during autologous stem cell transplant continues to be an unmet need.


The Phase 2 study of digital life coaching versus usual care is ongoing.  Ultimately, digital life coaching may become a standard of care for patients with hematologic malignancies undergoing autologous stem cell transplant.  Improving a patient’s quality of life during autologous stem cell transplant continues to be an unmet need.  The Myeloma Coach program offers live coaching from myeloma patients and caregivers.  Coaches are located nationwide and can connect in person, by phone, text, email or video chat.  Visit the Coach website to learn more.

Digital health tools are making a difference in the lives of multiple myeloma patients by allowing better management of health and wellness activities.

The HealthTree Foundation also offers other digital tools to provide support and education.  

  • The HealthTree Cure Hub allows you to track your myeloma, identify recommended treatment options, clinical trials and your myeloma twin.
  • The Myeloma Crowd Community Events program offers theme based chapters that virtually meet regularly on a variety of myeloma topics.  
  • Development is also underway for a new app to allow you to make and track fitness goals. The HealthTree Moves app is expected to be launched in early 2022 as part of the Muscles for Myeloma program.  Stay tuned for more details coming soon.


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The author Jennifer Littke

about the author
Jennifer Littke

Jenn has been a HealthTree Myeloma Coach since 2018. While in rough shape after being diagnosed in 2012, along with an auto and allo transplant, she has been able to find successful treatments for her myeloma. After ten years as a patient, Jennifer has learned “it’s key to stay focused on the positive aspects of life” and, surprisingly, “I’ve met some remarkable people along the way.” She counsels others to give their mind a break from doctor's appointments, lab tests and all things related to myeloma. To do this, she enjoys hobbies such as cooking, easy DIY projects reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

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