Open to Options

The Cancer Support Community (CSC) created the Open to Options® program to help newly diagnosed cancer patients as they prepare to make an upcoming treatment decision.

The program involves talking with a trained specialist in-person or via phone who guides the patient through a structured, non-directive interaction to elicit their questions, concerns and priorities. At the end of the session, patients have a curated list of questions prepared for their upcoming medical appointment to make an informed treatment decision. Open to Options® has been validated in clinical studies, including a CDC-sponsored study, that showed the program is effective at lowering distress and improving self-efficacy among cancer patients when making a treatment decision.

In an effort to reach a wider audience, CSC partnered with the Center for Health Communications Research at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center to create an interactive chatbot experience that simulates the in-person experience of Open to Options®. The chatbot is currently being tested in newly diagnosed cancer patients as a pilot study at the cancer center.

Following the same structure as the in-person interaction, the Open to Options® chatbot provides an engaging conversational experience that involves the exchange of information, the opportunity for reflection, and the expression of emotional support.