Ovarian Cancer Action Symptoms Diary App

Ovarian Cancer Action is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity dedicated to improving the survival rate of women with ovarian cancer. We created a diary app for women to monitor their symptoms to help with diagnosis.

Challenges

Ovarian Cancer Action needed a mobile app version of their paper symptoms diary. They wanted to provide women with an easy and discreet way to keep track of their symptoms on the go and the ability to present these to their GP in order to start a conversation. This included recording the severity of their symptoms. They felt a mobile app could add value by being able to notify women if their symptoms were persistent and frequent and advise them to visit their GP. 

When women are diagnosed in the early stages of ovarian cancer they have a 90% chance of surviving for more than five years but this reduces to 22% when diagnosed in the later stages. An app would allow women to present their GP with a summary of their symptoms, hopefully increasing their chances of an earlier diagnosis. It was also important that the app was reusable for women who wanted to monitor their symptoms for recurrence, as well as for women whose family history puts them at risk.

To help them improve the user experience of the app after initial release and for their own research, Ovarian Cancer Action wanted to be able to monitor usage.

Solutions

We helped Ovarian Cancer Action prioritise the core app features to work within their budget. This process also helped us to deliver a streamlined and simple experience for adding and reviewing symptoms. We created a tabbed interface to allow users to easily switch between their diary, an information area and their summary report. 

Symptoms can be added to the diary as they're experienced or retrospectively, with a few quick selections. The summary section displays a succinct report showing the number of times a symptom has been experienced and it's average severity, for the past 30 days or less. This ensures women always view an up-to-date report, allowing the app to be reused each month. The report and diary can be exported to an email with the click of a button.

A notification system alerts users if they have entered any symptom persistently over 30 days, advising them to visit their GP. They can visit the information area for more advice and to access supporting website content, such as the BRCA risk tool, a simple questionnaire we previously developed for Ovarian Cancer Action which allows users to assess their gene risk level.

We added analytics to the app to enable Ovarian Cancer Action to anonymously track the behaviour of individual users. This has already produced insightful data on which symptoms are being experienced most frequently and the average severity of these. They can also track the number of women who have been notified to visit their GP and how many have emailed a copy of their report.

Results

In the 2 ½ weeks since launch, the app has had...

  • 162 unique users
  • 251 sessions
  • 2,209 screen views
  • 455 symptoms added
  • 14 women notified to visit their GP

Although ovarian cancer does have definitive symptoms, they can be quite subtle and are sometimes mistaken for other problems. The Symptoms Diary App allows women to track any symptoms you're experiencing over time and will help them convey any concerns to their doctor, so that you can both get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Katherine Taylor
Acting CEO for Ovarian Cancer Action

The app also received some glowing reviews from the Ovarian Cancer Action supporters:

"Very easy to use … Overall, I think it is really cool! I like the colours and layout and I like that is doesn't overcomplicate the diary and that there is just a small amount of necessary information. I think the best thing about it is that users can record their symptoms discreetly and conveniently
Zoe J, Supporter

"It was very useful to have on my phone and be able to update wherever I am. Very simple to use. Plenty of explanatory text, not too much. I couldn't break it no matter how hard I tried."
Anon, Supporter

"A great little app that if enough women know about it will genuinely help women get an earlier diagnosis."
Lou, Supporter

Electric Putty were a dream to work with as usual, they managed to resize our ambitions to fit our budget resulting in an easy-to-use tool that will hopefully help to save lives.

Nadine Woogara, Digital Manager
Ovarian Cancer Action

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