STUDY | 
Health
 BEHAVIOR CHANGE

A user-centred approach to developing bWell, a mobile app for arm and shoulder exercises after breast cancer treatment.

Harder (2017)
Summary by 

The study aim was to develop a mobile application (app) supported by user preferences to optimise self-management of arm and shoulder exercises for upper-limb dysfunction (ULD) after breast cancer treatment. Focus groups with breast cancer patients were held to identify user needs and requirements. Behaviour change techniques were explored by researchers and discussed during the focus groups. Concepts for content were identified by thematic analysis. A rapid review was conducted to inform the exercise programme. Preliminary testing was carried out to obtain user feedback from breast cancer patients who used the app for 8weeks post surgery. Breast cancer patients experiences with ULD and exercise advice and routines varied widely. They identified and prioritised several app features: tailored information, video demonstrations of the exercises, push notifications, and tracking and progress features. An evidence-based programme was developed with a physiotherapist with progressive exercises for passive and active mobilisation, stretching and strengthening. The exercise demonstration videos were filmed with a breast cancer patient. Early user testing demonstrated ease of use, and clear and motivating app content. bWell, a novel app for arm and shoulder exercises, was developed by breast cancer patients, health care professionals and academics. Further research is warranted to confirm its clinical effectiveness. Mobile health has great potential to provide patients with information specific to their needs. bWell is a promising way to support breast cancer patients with exercise routines after treatment and may improve future self-management of clinical care.