Andrea Mugan, Global Franchise Head of DDR & GYN/GU Cancers, AstraZeneca Shares Insights from the Launch of Digital Patient Support Resource for Ovarian Cancer Patients
Andrea talked about the launch of a digital patient support resource by the Ovarian Cancer Commitment (OCC) in co-development with AstraZeneca and other organizations for ovarian cancer patients
She also highlighted how this important resource, named Olivia supports in navigating ovarian cancer diagnosis. This tool is an interactive tool that allows users to access the content they need at the time they need it, to customize their learning experience
The interview showcases the expanding collaborations between different organizations to deliver comprehensive information with the goal of improving the outcomes and quality of life of patients with ovarian cancer
Smriti: To start with, can you brief us about the digital patient support resource Olivia launched by OCC?
Andrea Mugan: Olivia is a dedicated, digital support resource for all people affected by ovarian cancer, developed by the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the European Network of Gynaecological Cancer Advocacy Groups (ENGAGe) and AstraZeneca under the umbrella of the Ovarian Cancer Commitment (OCC). It provides a single source of information for people diagnosed, being treated for, and living with ovarian cancer, as well as their support networks and healthcare teams.
Smriti: Please shed some light on the beneficial role that Olivia will play for ovarian cancer patients.
Andrea Mugan: Often information provided to patients uses complex medical and/or scientific language that can be difficult to interpret for those without a medical or scientific background. Therefore, having access to easily understood information is critical. Some patients may also search for additional information following appointments, particularly in instances where they attended appointments alone and were too overwhelmed to retain the information or didn’t get all the answers or even forgot to ask questions. One of the key challenges here is navigating information, which is not always easily available, to find a reliable and trustworthy source. However, it is vital that patients can access the information they want and need so that they can understand their condition, its management, and how to cope, both physically and emotionally, throughout their experience and empower them.
Olivia contains tailored information to help address the individual needs of all people affected by ovarian cancer, including a dedicated section for people newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer, information and guidance on how those receiving and recovering from treatment can be supported at every stage of their ovarian cancer experience. It also features educational articles, video stories from women who have lived with ovarian cancer and a comprehensive directory of additional resources. Additionally, Olivia features an interactive Ovarian Cancer Pathway that allows users to access the content they need at the time they need it.
Smriti: What resources are provided by Olivia for ovarian cancer patients?
Andrea Mugan: One of the key features of Olivia is the interactive Ovarian Cancer Pathway, which has been split into four key topics: about ovarian cancer, primary treatment, ongoing care and recurrence. This allows for a more tailored learning experience, enabling patients to access information relevant to their current experience with ovarian cancer.
Additionally, Olivia contains a comprehensive range of resources, from information for those newly diagnosed to information on living with ovarian cancer, in addition to patient videos. To help find support closer to home, Olivia also contains a directory of patient advocacy groups, which provides an overview of key organisations across Europe presented in a map view, with all contact details available once a user clicks on the pin on the map.
For those wanting to learn more, Olivia also provides access to the comprehensive range of brochures developed and curated by ENGAGe. Each brochure features information that builds on the content featured throughout Olivia.
Smriti: What can you say about the reliability of the data that is available on Olivia?
Andrea Mugan: All the information on Olivia has been developed by ESGO, ENGAGe and AstraZeneca and has been reviewed and validated by medical experts and ovarian cancer patients.
Smriti: How does Olivia stand different from the already available digital patient support groups in the market?
Andrea Mugan: As I mentioned previously, Olivia features an interactive Ovarian Cancer Pathway that allows users to access the content they need at the time they need it. It allows them to customise their learning experience to their specific needs.
The content of the Ovarian Cancer Pathway section has been developed with patient needs in mind to allow them access to portions of the pathway that are relevant to them at the particular point of their ovarian cancer experience and come back to the next steps when they need to, rather than going through the entire pathway at once.
In addition, Olivia brings both medical and lifestyle information in one place allowing patients and caregivers to easily access that information without having to search across the internet for different sources. As I mentioned earlier, all the content has been reviewed and validated by ovarian cancer patients and the comments we received from them throughout this process further further emphasise the importance of Olivia. For example, one of the patients stated "I think this is a perfect tool for us living with Ovarian Cancer. I have never seen such an interactive application, that made me feel welcome, warm and comfortable,” while another commented “Twelve years ago, for me, nothing like this was available. Information websites were often scary and focussing on the negative... Olivia totally turns this around."
Smriti: Is there any specific reason to launch Olivia for ovarian cancer patients?
Andrea Mugan: ESGO, ENGAGe and AstraZeneca have a unified interest in supporting ovarian cancer patients, as evident from our Ovarian Cancer Commitment (OCC), and we know that a key challenge many women with ovarian cancer face is access to reliable information and guidance. Our focus for Olivia is therefore to support the needs of women living with ovarian cancer to have the information and resources available to make informed choices about their care, but also to support them as they are trying to find a balance between the cancer treatment, quality of life changes and physical and emotional needs.
Smriti: Also, tell us something about OCC and its founding partners
Andrea Mugan: The OCC represents a collaboration between ESGO, ENGAGe and AstraZeneca. The OCC aims to be the catalyst for a new era of innovation, bringing together stakeholders to accelerate change, and deliver information and science with the goal of improving the management and outcomes of patients with ovarian cancer.
ESGO is the leading European organisation in gynaecological oncology and a forum of more than 2,500 professionals, from across Europe and all around the world, aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of women with gynaecological cancers through prevention, research, excellence in care and education.
ENGAGe is an ESGO network of over 70 European patient advocacy groups aiming to empower a patient-centric approach to gynaecological cancer care, research and prevention through awareness, advocacy and education of patients as well as the lay public.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals. Our focus is on some of the most challenging cancers and we are leading a revolution in oncology with the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form.
Together, we are focused on creating a movement in ovarian cancer care, highlighting the importance of access to rapid diagnosis, biomarker testing and specialised care, with the aim of improving the quality of life of those living with ovarian cancer and prolonging their survival. By working with communities and healthcare systems, the OCC aims to catalyse a change in the approach to diagnosing and managing ovarian cancer. Our aim is to facilitate earlier interventions – including highlighting the importance of early access to rapid diagnosis, genetic and biomarker testing and specialised care – and empower healthcare teams as they provide ongoing management and support for women living with this disease.
Smriti: Does OCC have other digital initiatives/solutions for patient support for ovarian cancer or any other indication?
Andrea Mugan: Olivia was launched in October at ESGO 2022 Congress, and our focus now is to ensure as many people affected by ovarian cancer as possible are informed about Olivia and have access to this platform. Currently, Olivia is available in English language, so our key priority is to translate this resource to as many languages as possible to eliminate language as a barrier to reliable information.
About the Author:
Andrea Mugan is the Global Franchise Head of DNA Damage Response (DDR) and Gynaecological / Genitourinary Cancers (GYN/GU), AstraZeneca. Andrea is driving business excellence across the DDR portfolio and established brands, spanning more than 10 indications across five tumour areas. In addition, she is co-leading the development and execution of the AstraZeneca gynaecological and genitourinary tumour strategies. She is also a member of the Ovarian Cancer Commitment Steering Committee. Andrea graduated from The University of Leeds (UK) in Medical Science (BSc) and joined the pharmaceutical industry as a primary care specialist representative.
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Smriti is a Senior Editor at PharmaShots. She is curious and very passionate about recent updates and developments in the life sciences industry. She covers Biopharma, MedTech, and Digital health segments along with different reports at PharmaShots. She can be contacted at [email protected].