Dr. Helena Harder and Oncologist Russell Burcombe have made a Qualitative Evaluation in collaboration with University of Sussex on the effect of Patients’ Experiences and Acceptability of the Breast Cancer Kent Patient App.
Mobile apps have a great potential to support breast cancer patients in healthcare and self-management. The number of mobile apps for breast cancer patients is rapidly increasing, but service evaluations of usage from a users’ perspective are often lacking. This report presents a qualitative exploration of how patients used the Breast Cancer Kent app, their perceived benefits from use, and suggestions for app improvement and clinical care.
Three online focus groups and 4 telephone interviews were conducted with 12 female patients (aged 35 to 73 years) of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. An interview guide and prompts were used to discuss their usage, experiences and perceptions of the app. The focus groups and interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim (summary only). Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Qualitative responses related to the Breast Cancer Kent app fell into 4 key themes: (1) signposting and introduction to the app; (2) navigation and appearance of the app; (3) use and perceived benefits of the app; and (4) areas for development and recommendations for use in clinical care. Patients described the app as accessible, visually attractive and user-friendly with comprehensive and manageable information, and highly recommended its use. Average star rating was 4.7/5. A range of areas for further improvement and suggestions for clinical use were identified.
The app provides a useful resource that patients can access freely and was evaluated positively. Routine use after breast cancer diagnosis was endorsed, and HCPs should routinely inform patients of this resource.