Evaluation of a Health App

Breast Cancer Now

The Client

Breast Cancer Now: Breast Cancer Now is a UK charity providing world-class research and life-changing care for people affected by breast cancer.

They are dedicated to giving support and hope, for everyone affected by breast cancer.

Over 55,000 people are diagnosed every year in the UK alone. And 1,000 people still die from the disease every month. That’s why they are here today. Now. 

The Project

In 2017, through consultation with the needs and experiences of women who have faced – or are facing – the daunting experience of rebuilding their lives after breast cancer, Breast Cancer Now co-created a mobile app, Becca, to support those confronting this challenging transition. 

Delivering reliable information and suggestions to the user, Becca empowers and equips women to adjust to life beyond breast cancer.

Our support: Evaluation of the Becca App

inFocus conducted a two year evaluation of the Becca app that concluded at the end of 2020. Our work began with developing a theory of change with Breast Cancer Now, which then progressed into a mixed-method evaluation approach – collecting and analysing both qualitative and quantitative data from Becca users.

Quantitative data was chiefly collected through a large sample of online surveys. This survey data was then complimented by in-app data from users – a pop up would appear for users asking them to answer some questions or offer feedback about the Becca app.

For qualitative data collection, we organised focus groups in person before COVID, and ran later focus groups online during the COVID restrictions. The last method of data collection was telephone interviews. Altogether, with such large samples of mixed sources of both quantitative and qualitative data, we “were swimming in data, which is always a good thing”Tom Keyte, co-founder of inFocus and project lead on the Becca Evaluation.

Findings and reporting

inFocus delivered a mid-project report and final report with findings from the data, and also supported on the delivery of a webinar to share learnings with others in the health sector looking to produce a health support app. You can see a summary of some key learnings from our reports below:
  • The majority of participants (51%) started using Becca before or during cancer treatment, which was of particular interest as the Becca app is focused on ‘life beyond breast cancer treatment’ and yet users are clearly finding value in the app before and during their treatment.
  • The main motivation for using Becca was related to finding reliable and trustworthy information to increase their knowledge, get advice and/or seek reassurance. This was closely followed by a motivation to get inspiration from others that were going through a similar experience and get emotional support with issues relating to breast cancer. 
  • The majority of users (57%) advised that they use Becca once a month or less, however, the majority of users also identified that their usage decreased over time as they no longer felt they needed support from the app (or using it reminded them of difficult experiences during or after treatment), although many were still glad that the app was still available to them if they needed it.
  • 65% of online survey respondents in 2020 identified the Becca had led them to access other Breast Cancer Now services or support
  • Almost half of respondents felt more connected to other people with similar experiences as a result of Becca.  As the app is not designed to directly connect people, users described this connection coming through reading about other people in similar situations and feeling reassured that their circumstances were not unique.
  • Overall, one of the strongest benefits reported by respondents was a positive effect on their feelings about cancer and cancer treatment, with almost three quarters describing this outcome. For the majority, the app provided comfort and reassurance, whether they used it regularly or not.
  • Another significant outcome from Becca users across the evaluation related to the take up of recommendations from Becca, with over two thirds of respondents identifying that they had tried at least one recommendation 

Free learning materials

inFocus worked with Breast Cancer Now to provide open access resources, one of which is available below for browsing:

Want to see more?

Check out another case study from the Moment to Movement programme with our client Spirit of 2012.

Similarly to our work with Breast Cancer Now and the evaluation of their health app, we’re delighted to have been able to offer free learning materials with permission from Spirit of 2012 to share knowledge and best-practice in efforts to improve IMM application in the wider field.