The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation recently launched an educational tool using virtual human technology to improve patient-provider conversations about neutropenia as a side effect of chemotherapy. This new resource is part of the Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program, which has been led by the CDC and the CDC Foundation since 2009, with financial support from Amgen.
Available as a free mobile app and on PreventCancerInfections.org, Training for Infection and Neutropenia Awareness (TINA) features two separate role-play conversations in which providers and patients interact with and learn from fully articulated and emotionally responsive virtual humans. TINA offers providers a safe and realistic training environment to practice meaningful and appropriate conversations with patients who have cancer about neutropenia. The program introduces patients to a virtual provider, TINA, who will answer their questions about infection risk and the steps they can take to protect themselves.
Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH
“People dealing with a cancer diagnosis are incredibly overwhelmed with information, yet learning about the steps they can take to lower their risk of infection during chemotherapy is critical,” explained Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “TINA is the first-ever tool developed to engage both patients and providers in an educational and informative way. Our hope is that TINA can help facilitate more effective communication about this serious side effect of chemotherapy.” ■