When Facing a Serious Diagnosis, ‘AfterShock’ App Can Help


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Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when little seems certain and the future may look dark. CFAH’s free AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis app provides users with a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, with concise information and links to trusted resources to help regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. As one reviewer wrote, the AfterShock app is “a standard for empowered patients.” No matter the specific diagnosis, the decisions people make about their care will have an important impact on them and their loved ones.

The app is based on the book AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You – Or Someone You Love – A Devastating Diagnosis, by Jessie Gruman, founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health until her death. Having faced cancer numerous times, Jessie also interviewed over 200 people about their experiences facing a serious diagnosis so she could include their perspectives. Quotes from these interviews are featured throughout the app. The app also includes things to consider about:

  • Getting Through the Shock
  • Learning About Your Diagnosis
  • Learning About Treatment Options
  • Telling Others
  • Finding Good Doctors and Hospitals
  • Getting a Second Opinion
  • Making Your Appointments
  • Finding a Little Relief

“I wish this app had been available for my friends in recent years when they got news about cancer and other life-changing conditions,” wrote another reviewer. “The advice is practical – the app guides you through some immediate steps to get a handle on the situation, which includes taking care of yourself during an very stressful period. It’s easy to find basic info that you want (e.g., why get a 2nd opinion?) but also simple to skip over anything that’s not relevant. A great feature is that it interfaces with iCal and Contacts. I like the notes feature, which is a place to jot down things you want to remember. Finally, there’s a handy page to record basic info (insurance coverage, physician, emergency contacts, allergies) that every provider asks you for. I will definitely recommend this to other people if they have the unfortunate need for it.”

We hope AfterShock is a helpful companion and organizer during what might be an unstable time. When you are faced with many challenges, AfterShock provides some steps you can take to try to live for as long and as well as you can.

Available for free downloading in Apple’s iTunes store. Currently compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Optimized for iPhone 5.

Privacy Protections

Any information you create using the AfterShock app is private. The Center for Advancing Health (CFAH) does not track any web browsing you do using the AfterShock app. CFAH accepts no corporate sponsorship and receives no revenue from any links to external resources. 

The Center for Advancing Health is very grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for its support in the development of the AfterShock app.

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