This Digital Sherpa program consists of a workshop to help cancer patients and caregivers become more tech-savvy. A group of 10 to 20 cancer patients or caregivers who express a desire to become more competent in Internet and social media skills will meet with college students who have been specially trained as Internet “Sherpas” to offer them a workshop in these skills. The patients or caregivers should bring the laptop or tablet that they normally use. When registering, patients and caregivers will be asked to fill out a very brief survey about their internet activity and skills so that we can best determine their needs. A Patient Empowerment Network representative will run the workshop, and refreshments will be provided.

The students will offer help in basic skills and may include the following:

  • Basic twitter skills (opening a twitter account, how to tweet, how to build followers, how to add images, whom to follow, privacy protection, hashtags, tweetchats)
  • Basic Facebook skills (opening an account, privacy settings, how to post, Facebook etiquette)
  • Google searches and how they work
  • Patient Communities such as Treatment Diaries, PatientsLikeMe, StupidCancer, HealthUnlocked, Cancer Support Community
  • Bookmarking, linking, sharing

Please check out the video below that was produced from our pilot program.

Digital Sherpa Workshop from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Pilot Program

PEN, in partnership with Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), conducted a Digital Sherpa pilot program at the FCS headquarters in Fort Myers, FL, on November 10, 2016. This program was a great success. Patients and students were enthusiastic and both FCS and FGCU are anxious to schedule a second session. One FCS staff member commented,

“I am really super excited about this program. I have high hopes for the long term positive outcomes from your team and their support to encourage technology as a form on communication and education to our patients.”


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