Pancreatic Cancer

PanSupport Project: Development of an experience based co-design, supportive care app with and for people affected by pancreatic cancer

Supportive Care App for patients diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

Research Project

  • CI: Mei Krishnasamy, Chair in Cancer Nursing, Department of Nursing, University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research
  • Year: 2017 -2019
  • Grant Scheme: Supporting people with Cancer , Cancer Australia


  • Cancer Australia
  • Pancare Foundation
  • PeterMacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre


The investigation focussed upon the needs of patients diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

Pansupport was developed as a prototype and unveiled to the Nursing staff in cancer care at ONJ/Austin for discussion. The Pansupport prototype App is currently available online for download and viewing. A 3 year evidence based codesign project involving Pancreatic Cancer Patients to test, validate and improve the initial PanSupport App Prototype has received funding from Cancer Australia. The second version of the App is to be launched for limited circulation and final testing in mid-2018.

In contemporary health care service provision smart phone based health care solutions are considered a significant new addition to the way patient involvement can be imagined and constructed within the overall service provision ecology. Also referred to as MHealth this form of health service provision has in recent years seen a huge expansion of solutions especially in the availability of third party apps for smart phones. The overall categorisation of the typology of these apps comprises three key stakeholder domains that of; the acute care facility (Hospital), the clinical and the patient (consumer). Or in short apps for hospitals, for doctors and for patients. Consumer health and fitness apps have seen a huge expansion on maintenance of fit and healthy people. Crucially apps targeted at patients, currently undergoing treatment or in post-operative recovery, are rare and often have a didactic clinical and medicalised approach. There thus exists a gap in the availability of “niche” apps focussed upon supporting and aiding patients on their journeys to recovery.

By rapidly developing freely downloadable and publicly available apps ( as probes) for use by clinicians, nurses, hospital administrators and researchers these two projects have demonstrated a methodology of: One, a multi stage linear program of innovation and design development; two, research from need identification, to rapid prototype to a setting up of a funded-research-program to gather evidence and improve the solution; three, to build into this continuum the eventual commercialisation of App solutions for worldwide adoption.

A rare form of cancer with poor outcomes, services and apps targeted at patients with pancreatic cancer are few. Investigation has revealed that there is only one other app focussed upon pancreatic cancer (out of Leicester) though even this solution is focussed upon medical information and clinical support. The solution PanSupport is therefore unique and is the only app focussed upon supporting people – both on medical aspects and also on aspects of physiological and psychological wellbeing.


Testing of prototype with Patients.