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Digital agent learns from patients

This digital agent pilot project is one of the ways BC Cancer is leveraging digital technology to better serve patients and their families.
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Earlier this year, BC Cancer launched a digital agent pilot project to provide a faster and easier way for patients to get answers to their questions.

When a patient visits, they can get answers by typing their questions into the digital agent. If the digital agent isn't able to answer their question, it will connect them with a nurse who can help. This pilot started with BC Cancer – Victoria and if successful, it will be rolled out to BC Cancer patients across the province.

BC Cancer patient partner Paul Smeltzer played an integral part in shaping the digital agent by sharing his perspective as someone who went through the cancer journey.

As part of this project, Paul provided insight on questions that a patient may ask. 

“During my personal cancer journey, looking for resources helped me a lot during a time of uncertainty. I wanted to be part of an initiative to help other patients in any way that I can."

“The digital agent is a learned program that extrapolates answers based on questions that are received. It was a great opportunity to provide my perspective on questions that patients might ask about their cancer journey."

“There are times when someone doesn't want to talk to a live person. The digital agent is assisted learning but it makes you feel like you are actually talking to someone. It can also easily direct patients to a nurse if needed."

The digital agent pilot project is an example of the important contributions made by patient and family partners. 

“Patient and family engagement is about person-centred care. By engaging patient and family partners in projects and committees, BC Cancer is listening to those with lived experience and considering it in the care we deliver. We're truly grateful for Paul and for all partners who stepped up, joining us in our ongoing endeavour to improve cancer care," says Joyce Lee, provincial lead, patient and family engagement, BC Cancer.
“We are very fortunate for the opportunity to collaborate and co-design on this solution with our patient partners and nurses across the province. This is a great example of how BC Cancer is leveraging digital technology to enhance patient experience,” says Justine Sanders, project manager, BC Cancer. ​

Visit to learn more about the BC Cancer Network of Patient and Family Partners and how you can partner with patients and their families in care improvement. ​​

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