Evaluating OWise, a digital tool for supporting breast cancer patients

Evaluating OWise, a digital tool for supporting breast cancer patients

Evaluating OWise, a digital tool for supporting breast cancer patients image
  • 18th March 2019

1Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London UK; 2Imperial College Healthcare Partners, London UK; 3 Px Healthcare, London UK; 4Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam NL; 5Institute of Cancer Research, London UK


OWise Breast Cancer is a mobile platform and website allowing breast cancer patients to record their experiences in real time. The tool aims to improve ’patient activation’, a measure of the knowledge, skills and confidence a person has in managing their health and care. Previous studies have shown that higher patient activation is associated with lower total costs from a healthcare and societal perspective.

Research questions

This study aims to understand the impact of OWise on patient activation, NHS resource use and health care costs in breast cancer patients.


This is a multi-centre, individually randomized (1:1), parallel controlled trial. The control group will receive standard care and the intervention group standard care plus OWise.

Participants and setting

Eligible patients, including females over age 18 years old, newly diagnosed with their first early-stage breast cancer, will be recruited from NHS hospitals. Patients will be excluded if they have started anti-cancer treatment, confirmed metastases or have no internet access.


All patients will complete online questionnaires at baseline, 3 months, 6 months and one year from diagnosis. Working with the NWL Health Research Register team health resource utilisation data will be collected from the Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) dataset.


This is an important new study evaluating the effectiveness of a publicly available, free mobile phone technology. This new type of study carries a high risk of inacurate source data. In this study we have chosen to hide the name of the mobile app to patients before enrolment. As similar healthcare online tools are integrated into regular clinical care, research will need to adapt to effectively evaluate these technologies.

This project also aims to link the prospectively collected research data with routinely collected medical record data in WSIC. Linked healthcare records such as WSIC are rare and this is one of the first studies using it to effectively evaluate an intervention from a health economics standpoint. This is a large new step in the evaluation of digital tools that will provide meaningful results for the NHS.

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