Abstract 112: Use of WhatsApp to Improve Medical Provider Communication for Children with Wilms Tumor in Tanzania

Conference Paper

Abstract Purpose: Due to the rapid expansion of mobile phone usage throughout the world, mobile health (mHealth) technologies offer an innovative strategy to overcome challenges of care coordination and limited communication between pediatric cancer providers in LMICs. Our objective was to evaluate the use of the social media application WhatsApp to improve provider communication and outcomes for children diagnosed with Wilms tumor at a regional cancer treatment facility in Tanzania. Methods: A WhatsApp provider group was established in 2016 to facilitate communication between surgical, medical and psychosocial support providers at the regional cancer referral hospital in northern Tanzania. All messages exchanged from 2016-2019 were extracted and coded for thematic content. Treatment compliance and process outcomes were compared for patients discussed versus those that were not over the 4-year period. Results: A total of 669 messages for 55 patients were reviewed. Most messages were sent by the pediatric oncologist (44.8%, n=273) and urology resident (43.2%, n=263). Using the application to coordinate patient care reduced time to surgery from 90 days [IQR 65-109] to 60 days [IQR 47-80], and time to post-operative chemotherapy initiation from 46 days [IQR 39-55] to 19 days [IQR 16-30]. Rate of treatment abandonment was decreased for patients discussed in the chat group (26.7%) compared to those not discussed (38.2%). Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first study to assess the use of WhatsApp to improve provider communication for children with cancer in LMICs. As access to smartphone technology and internet access improves, applications like WhatsApp can be used as a low-cost strategy to target health system inefficiencies and improve outcomes for children with cancer globally. Citation Format: John Igenge, Jacob Stocks, Gloria Zhang, Mocha George, Frank Kiwara, Judy Mafwimbo, Mastidia Maxmilian, Austin Wesevich, Kristin Schroeder. Use of WhatsApp to Improve Medical Provider Communication for Children with Wilms Tumor in Tanzania [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 9th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research; Global Cancer Research and Control: Looking Back and Charting a Path Forward; 2021 Mar 10-11. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021;30(7 Suppl):Abstract nr 112.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Igenge, J; Stocks, J; Zhang, G; George, M; Kiwara, F; Mafwimbo, J; Maxmilian, M; Wesevich, A; Schroeder, K

Published Date

  • July 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 7_Supplement

Start / End Page

  • 112 - 112

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-7755

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1055-9965

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/1538-7755.asgcr21-112