The digital sherpa™ Program helps cancer patients (mainly 65 and older) and their families become more tech-savvy and helps them learn to use technology to their advantage during their cancer journey. The program’s workshops educate patients and care partners in basic Internet and social media skills to help them in their search for information about their illness and find support for themselves and their families.
Program participants are paired with university students, known as “sherpas”, who have been specially trained by the Patient Empowerment Network to offer skills such as:
- Safely Navigating Healthcare Resources Online (e.g.: Tips for staying safe on the internet, How to distinguish credible information/sources from non-credible information/sources, Remembering passwords)
- Forming Your Online Disease Support Community
- How to Use Telemedicine
- Navigating Your Health with Electronic Devices (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
- Just For the Fun (and Healing!) of It (e.g: YouTube, HealthTunes, etc)
- How Can Apps Aid Me in My Healthcare Journey? (e.g: rideshare apps, exercise & wellness apps, etc)
- The Social Media Experience: Following and Connecting with Patients, Advocates & Experts
Workshop participants and their sherpas work as a team to find information, learn new skills, and begin to access available resources. This relationship provides support for cancer patients to become more tech-savvy, more health-literate, more self-confident, and more in control of their journey. By pairing the younger and older generations, we hope to create an empathetic and powerful relationship that is a lasting asset to the community.