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Helping you through breast cancer treatment

Guest blog: The OWise App – what is it and how can it help you?

Guest blog: The OWise App – what is it and how can it help you?

This week’s guest blog is from the OWise team. You may have seen OWise on social media (with their really informative posts about breast cancer) or come across their App. In this guest blog, they tell us how the App came about and how it can help you as a breast cancer patient.

A breast cancer diagnosis can be hugely overwhelming: lots of information to take in, unknown terminology and a lost sense of control. To address these issues and improve patient experience, OWise was created. It is a free app that provides you with personalised information and self-management tools from the moment of diagnosis. 

The idea behind OWise began in 2013 when our founder, Anne Bruinvels, spoke to a friend diagnosed with breast cancer and realised that patients’ experience following diagnosis is much poorer than it needs to be. 

“In a time where technology is fully embedded in our daily lives, I wondered why there were no smart, digital tools to support cancer patients during their treatment. Since OWise was launched we have witnessed the positive effects it has on breast cancer patients, their treating clinicians, as well as the patient-doctor relationship.” – Dr. Anne Bruinvels

After first launching OWise in the Netherlands, Anne brought the app to the UK in 2016 through the NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme. The app has been used by thousands across the country and is actively recommended by many NHS medical professionals. Furthermore, after listening extensively to feedback from our users, we are excited to share that we have just launched a new version of OWise!

OWise is a great app and was hugely useful during my treatment. It was recommended to me by my oncologist and I am really glad I chose to use it. I would frequently refer back to it when I had to discuss my health with nurses or doctors and without the app, I don’t think I’d have been as aware of trends and side effects.” – OWise user

How is OWise a personalised app? 

OWise provides you with personalised information based on your diagnosis and treatment plan to empower and inform you throughout. This has been at the heart of our development due to Anne’s previous experience at the  European Personalised Medicine Association. Although a wide variety of personalised therapies were already in the market, Anne noticed that patients found it hard to understand why certain treatments were prescribed to them and others not. 

By answering some profile questions, you will have access to this personalised content. A personalised treatment report will be generated, providing a detailed explanation of your diagnosis, treatment options and the way ahead. To further help with your understanding, OWise creates a tailored list of suggested questions to ask your oncologist or breast nurse – improving communication between you and your care team. This feature is particularly popular with our users, due to the difficulty of knowing what types of questions to ask and remembering them on the day of consultation. 

In addition, users have experienced a better understanding of their wellbeing through OWise’s personalised insights. Over 30 different side-effects and symptoms can be tracked daily, allowing you to monitor any changes. Examples of trends you can track are fatigue, nausea, lymphoedema, hot flushes and sleep quality. 

How can OWise make you feel more in control? 

One of the most common pieces of feedback that we hear from breast cancer patients is that they feel overwhelmed by all of the information that they receive when they are diagnosed, which can be hard to keep a track of. With OWise, you can keep all of this information, such as appointments, prescriptions and doctor’s notes, securely in one place so that you can easily and simply access them at any time. This allows you to get organised and prevents the worry of wondering whether you have forgotten to bring everything in.

In the timeline, I registered all my appointments. Keeping an overview of ongoing treatments was very difficult with so many different doctors and appointments, but the app helped me to keep that overview, which made me feel in control.” – OWise user

Why is OWise more than just an app?

OWise allows you to share your wellbeing data with your doctors or loved ones via a secure link. This can allow your care team to better understand your side effects and symptoms to deliver the best care possible. 

“I used the OWise app to record daily stats throughout my primary diagnosis & treatment. It was invaluable for helping my care team to review any changes in my treatment & effects. It took all my fear away.” – OWise user

Data shared from your app is always performed in a secure environment. Data privacy is particularly important to us – we make sure that OWise complies with GDPR rules and we don’t store any personal identifiers (for more information check out our Privacy Policy).

We have also successfully integrated OWise into the hospital’s electronic record system of NHS Lothian in Scotland. This means that if you agree, clinicians can monitor your side effects and toxicities in real time. We are currently working on bringing this service to other hospitals around the UK and eventually around the world. 

Lastly, OWise has been validated and accredited: it is NHS Digital approved, used as a case study by NICE and it was demonstrated that 90% of patients and clinicians would recommend us to other patients. In addition to this, OWise is currently undergoing a randomized controlled trial at the Royal Marsden hospital

What can I expect in the new version of OWise? 

From the outset, OWise has been developed from a user perspective. We have run more than a hundred patient workshops across the UK and regularly interact with users to continually improve and develop the app. The new version includes a new, fresh design, additional tools to track side effects and symptoms, as well as a refined user experience. This would not have been possible without the invaluable user feedback we have received!

OWise is available to download for FREE on the iOS App Store and Google Play. If you want to learn more about OWise you can watch this video or head to our website. We are always looking to further improve the app, so if you want to get involved or have any questions you can get in touch with us through our website or social media channels!

Please note that this blog post is not an advertisement for the OWise App. There are other breast cancer Apps available and it is your decision as to which App you choose to use. The information and content provided in all guest blogs is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Please note that I do not accept responsibility for the content of the guest blogs nor the content of information located via the links provided in the guest blogs.

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