COLORJourney is coming, Prof. Spinelli: «Through this app we will be able to monitor cancer patients before and after surgery»

Applying technology to medicine is becoming ever more a reality. This is not only the case for telemedicine but also for new applications that allow doctors and patients better monitoring of certain functions. This is the frame within “COLORJourney“, the app developed in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson by Professor Antonino Spinelli    Head of the Colon and Rectal Surgery Unit at Humanitas Research Hospital and lecturer at Humanitas University, was born.

Professor, when did the need to develop this app first arise?

«It all started during the first lockdown, when the Humanitas Cancer Centre was chosen by the Lombardy Region as one of the three regional operational hubs for cancer surgery. Due to the pandemic, all elective and non-oncological surgery in the hospitals had to be reduced to zero. This situation, inconceivable until a few weeks previously, made us quickly realize that we needed to think of a different way of providing an essential service for time-dependent pathologies, with even fewer human and financial resources, due to the emergency situation the pandemic put us in».

What is the idea behind “COLORJourney”?

«We were looking for a way to follow the patients as closely as before, despite the reduced medical and nursing resources. In particular, the nurses who followed patients along their pathway (the so-called case managers) were reallocated to the tasks within emergency buffering and the services we provided to our patients both before and after surgery were, by necessity, reduced compared to the pre-Covid era».

What are the advantages provided by the platform?

«First of all, this app allows patients to reduce the stress of waiting for surgery. “COLORJourney” helps avoid feelings of abandonment because it focuses on improving and optimising one’s condition in order to face the surgery in the best possible way. Furthermore, from a psychological point of view, a “positive” state of mind can help a lot when going into surgery».

And then?

«”COLORJourney” provides each user with a nutritional and physical improvement pathway aimed at improving their general condition. Also, unlike many other apps, ours is tailor-made for the patient. So, for example, an 85-year-old man will not be asked to do high-intensity physical activity every day, but instead to take a long, healthy walk».

So constant monitoring?

«Exactly. Both before and after the surgery. The patient’s point of view during the hospital stay is also very important to us, because one of our goals is to highlight the degree of correlation with data that we consider more objective, measured by clinicians. When the patient returns home, the app monitors him or her through questions at specific times of the day, which can be answered quickly, even with smiles. These are very simple questions that appear on our dashboard. If there are any problems based on the answers given, the app informs the patient that they need to contact the hospital for further checks».

What was the patients’ feedback?

«All patients are very positive about the idea of the app. Initially, we were a bit concerned about the degree of “digitalisation” of older patients. But with the pandemic, they have developed a digital acceleration that would otherwise have been impossible!».


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.