Digital Narrative Medicine: Diary Application in Oncology

Digital Narrative Diary 

Understanding the causes of a patient’s doubts and fears may help clinicians to pro- vide more detailed explanations, psycholog- ical advice, or to be more attentive to scheduling to improve patients’ awareness, empowerment, and treatment adherence. 

However, for this, appropriate interaction with each patient is needed. If adequately oriented, narrative medicine may help to improve personal relationships, therapeutic alliance, and promote adherence to treat- ment while fostering the professional growth of clinicians. 

This approach may provide clinicians with a deeper knowledge of the patient and help them to obtain information that is difficult for patients to communicate during chemo- or radiothera- py sessions and follow-up visits. Approximately 30 years ago, narrative medicine was first described as a new approach to improving the patient–clinician relationship.

Kleinman introduced the use of narratives as a tool to collect and inter- pret information on the patient’s experience of illness, not only to enrich knowledge about their physical and psychological con- dition but also to formulate a correct diag- nosis.2–5 Narratives may have therapeutic potential and may be applied in a way that provides health care professionals with information that can be used for diag- nosis or the personalization of treatment. 

Although the Italian Istituto Superiore di Sanita` published recommendations in 2014 for the implementation of narrative medi- cine in the management of rare and chronic degenerative diseases, no standard method is currently available in Italy for the man- agement of oncology patients.

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