A British breast cancer charity has been awarded £655,000 to further develop an app which supports women once their cancer treatment has ended.
Breast Cancer Care’s app, called BECCA, was launched in May 2017 and aims to help women live well once their cancer treatment is over.
This includes directing them to information on wellbeing, diet and managing the longer-term side effects of treatment.
The charity has now received £655,000 funding from the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund to help them develop the technology.
Kristina Barrick, digital innovation manager at Breast Cancer Care, told Digital Health News the creation of BECCA took around a year.
“It was developed in a user-central way,” Barrick explained.
“We went into an intensive three-month digital accelerator programme called Fuse and worked really closely with all the data we have in the organisation.
“I had been building up a network of product champions beforehand, taking part in lots of interviews and workshops so we could create an app which is really in tune with user’s technology behaviour and their needs.”
The information the app provides, which includes news articles and blogs, has been verified by clinicians who work for the charity.
“After treatment can be a very challenging time and a lot of women have ongoing questions about symptoms of medication and have a fear of cancer coming back,” Barrick said.
“This can lead them to turning to Google for information – leaving them vulnerable to reading information from a non-trusted source.
“So we looked into how we could develop an app which provides women with information from a trusted source which could help them feel better.”
Barrick also said the new funding will be used in two main ways.
“One, we need to diversify; we need more content that needs to be updated more often.
“The second part will be about personalising the user experience of the app and potentially using machine learning to help understand our users.”
Currently, there are 7,500 users of the app and Barrick is hoping the funding will help the charity raise this number to 36,000 by the end of the project.
Back in October, Digital Health News reported on how Macmillan Cancer Support had introduced its own digital nurse to help combat ‘fake news’.