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Breast Cancer Now


Breast Cancer Now is a research and support charity, here for anyone affected by the disease.

As well as making life-saving research happen in labs across the UK and Ireland, the charity’s specialist nurses, life-changing support services and trustworthy breast cancer information is all there to support people, whenever they need it.

For people affected by breast cancer, having ongoing support they can trust and that complements their clinical care is crucial. That’s why in 2022, Breast Cancer Now created Here for You – an innovative approach that enhances personalised support while reducing pressure on healthcare professionals.

Here for You gives people newly diagnosed with breast cancer personalised and timely access to all of Breast Cancer Now’s trusted information and specialist support, via a single healthcare professional referral.

Delivery of the service relies on trained volunteers using active listening and empathy skills to understand people’s needs and help them access support that’s right for them.

The challenge

After successfully launching Here for You, the service experienced a rapid rise in referrals and people using the charity’s services. Although the Breast Cancer Now team had developed a process to manage data and enable the service to operate, this used existing tools. It became apparent that, without investment, the processes wouldn’t be able to manage the high-volume of referrals they were aiming for.

A review identified six key challenges that needed addressing. Breast Cancer Now needed a solution that would:

  • enable the charity to manage increased volume and the evolution of processes and services
  • be cost effective and need relatively little input from admin staff
  • provide enhanced data security to protect each patient’s personal data
  • be easy to use for volunteers and staff,
  • have a low margin for human error
  • allow bespoke and detailed reporting

The solution

After considering over a dozen potential providers and solutions, Breast Cancer Now made the decision to work with SimpliSys to implement their system, with additional custom development to match their requirements.

With the help of SimpliSys, the charity now has a new process and system in place to handle patient referrals in an effective and organised way – and all  objectives have been met.

  • Scalable service – YES

The new system can  handle any number of incoming referrals and makes sorting and managing them easy for both administrators and volunteers. The solution is a ticketing and service desk system with the means to adopt additional processes in the future, when necessary, by using built-in and custom automation. As well as managing volunteers and users on a skill and access level.

  • Cost effectiveness and admin time – YES

The cost of the service was originally forecasted on a rising scale depending on the number of hospital trusts engaged with the service.  With the solution offered by SimpliSys,  admin time and associated cost are expected to drop sharply and not increase by much even after scaling the service substantially.

  • Data security – YES

The new system has strong controls in place to make sure each patient’s personal data is protected and each user is only allowed access to information they need at the time.

  • Volunteer/user experience – YES

Volunteers will now receive notification when work has been assigned to them and will only need to work within a single system to log in and respond to referrals. All workflows have been simplified to the extent that there are only 2 buttons that volunteers have to use (add update or resolve), and the system takes care of the rest.

  • Margin for human error – YES

User interface has been significantly simplified to achieve a “one button” solution,  reducing the risk of human error. In addition, automated processes responsible for a lot of the work in the background are set to run overnight, giving both volunteers and administrators time to update information within the same day.

  • Reporting – YES

Custom reporting has been created for Breast Cancer Now in a flexible way that addresses any type of current and future reporting requirements.

The result

The result is a robust and comprehensive automated process for Breast Cancer Now that not only ticks the boxes of “must have” requirements, but most of the “nice to have” ones as well.

Some of these requirements (such as a weekly referral capacity and related automation) were very specific to the charity and the service/process itself. SimpliSys took all of Breast Cancer Now’s requirements in their stride, endeavoured to understand their point of view and were committed to offer the best solution to make sure that the new system is not only fit for purpose, but also user-friendly and scalable for the future.

Having a solution that “fits like a glove” enables Breast Cancer Now to freely expand the Here for You service to achieve maximum possible support for all patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

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