In 1998, an online resource called Outlook was developed to address the long-term issues of childhood cancer survivors and their families. Outlook is now moving into a new and exciting phase that includes partnering with other clinics and institutions throughout the country. We believe that your partnership and participation in this new phase would be beneficial to both Outlook and your institution.
History of Outlook
The Outlook Web Site was developed in order to provide an innovative and unique resource that addresses the issues of childhood cancer survivors, provides information and support to families and professionals and to build a bridge of support between current patients and survivors. The University of Wisconsin's Comprehensive Cancer Center, Children's Hospital Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and the Medical School's Biomedical Computing Group collaborated in the development of the web based system called Outlook: Life Beyond Childhood Cancer (outlook-life.org). This project was designed, managed, and guided by survivors of childhood cancer in conjunction with a team of experts in pediatric oncology, nursing, social work, cancer information, psychology and web design and programming.
Success of Outlook
Outlook has received an overwhelming positive response from users and has achieved its primary goals of consciousness raising, improvements in education about survivorship issues, and the establishment of a professionally maintained web based support system for survivors of childhood cancer and their families. Since Outlook's unveiling at the 1998 Kids with Courage Reunion, Outlook has had over 1800 users per month and has reached people in over 75 countries.
In October 2000 the National Cancer Institute (NCI) presented Outlook with the Excellence in Cancer Patient Education Award for Electronic Media.
New phase of Outlook
It is now time for Outlook to look beyond the initial goals and move toward the exciting new contributions Phase II can offer. Phase II represents the vision and goals for the future and will ensure the longevity of the site. We would like to expand our goal of building bridges of support between patients and survivors by building bridges between institutions and communities.
To help meet this goal we have redesigned Outlook to become a dynamic, portal-based system with a host of new features. These features include:
- Dynamic portal - A dynamic, database driven site instead of hundreds of static web pages.
- Improved content publishing - Ability to publish and manage content with built-in content tools and without HTML experience.
- Sub-portals - Sub-portals, each with their own look-and-feel and content can now be created by the Outlook portal system. This will allow other Outlook or cancer survivor sites to be created from within the Outlook system.
- Content sharing - Content can be shared between sub-portals through "shortcuts." This will allow sub-portals to display content created and managed in another sub-portal without having to copy it or be concerned about it's management.
- Personalization options - Users can personalize and subscribe to information that is the most interesting to them.
- Built-in registration and user management - User registration and account management is now built-in to the system.
This new structure will allow long-term survivor clinics throughout the country to become Outlook partners. As an Outlook partner clinics can use the portal system to make their own location specific Outlook web site. Clinics can add sections with current local events, studies, state specific insurance information, etc. This means that clinics do not have to spend the time and money designing a website and developing the core content for the website in order to create a useful resource for their survivors. All clinics that are partners with Outlook will also be able to share and exchange information between websites creating an interactive community of survivorship.
Outlook's main goal is to make sure childhood cancer survivors have access to the information, education and support that the website provides. We believe this new system will increase awareness of the website and will, therefore, find it's way to many more survivors. We would like to extend this partnership opportunity to your clinic. We believe that this partnership can be beneficial to both of our institutions through the exchange and sharing of information and will help ensure the longevity of this resource. The networking of information will not only increase the number of survivors learning about survivorship issues, but will also increase the amount of information and support available for survivors.