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Cancer Central launches online platform

Cancer Central CEO Avril Chester hopes the new online platform will make it easier for people affected by cancer to find the help required from diagnosis, to treatment and beyond.

After a year in the making, Cancer Central has launched its online platform which has been designed to “intelligently signpost people affected by cancer to organisations who can provide advice and products”.

The platform called Ave, powered by IBM Watson, underscores the growing use of data analytics and machine learning in the healthcare industry.

With Ave, people affected by cancer will be able to use conversational search to help users find relevant information while continuously learning – based on interactions – thanks to machine-learning capabilities.

Ave is a search engine which uses artificial intelligence to deliver proactive and personalised data real-time; and is differentiated from other chabots in that it knows when to search for an answer from a knowledge base or when to ask for further clarity, making it very easy to use.

However, to deliver such targeted outcomes, Ave needs data. Avril explains: “The challenge is in finding out that these incredible businesses and charities who support individuals affected by cancer, do not yet appear on a single list.” So Cancer Central is seeking help to find organisations to register for free so that they can be found easily at a user's time of need.

Any organisations wishing to add their details to the service can do so on the website:

Reflecting on the journey so far, Avril said: “With our first iteration live, it is beyond my wildest dreams,” and “I am so incredibly grateful for all the support and help received.”

She explained that this couldn’t have been achieved without over 10,000 hours being donated by 100+ individuals and 20+ organisations with major contributions from TechFINIUM and ROQ. She enthused that this really speaks to the ethos of Cancer Central i.e. “Cominovation” or connecting different fields across industries to achieve a common vision.

But with this said, Avril is not resting on her laurels and therefore is once again partnering with volunteers to “understand valuable feedback” with the objective being to understand what is good, what to change, where to go next, and ultimately, “What the roadmap for 2019 should be in order to continue supporting those affected by cancer”.

The things Avril is currently focusing on include:
• Looking at the Information Provider sign-up process to reduce the number of steps
• Her social media strategy
• Repeatable processes volunteers can use when signing up as Information Providers, and
• Design briefs for “hackathons” to be held in 2019

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