Digital health app review: BeYou+

We were excited to see the launch of BeYou+, a new app to support people who are HIV positive with managing their life and health with the virus. When one of our supporters offered to write a review based on their experience, we couldn’t wait to hear more...


“BeYou+ is an app designed for people who are HIV+. It’s commissioned by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust but isn’t exclusive to patients attending in this area. First impressions are great. When you open it for the first time you get to set a PIN number to keep it all locked up to everyone but you.

It does a lot of the usual things, lets you record test results, doctors’ details and appointments. I get to set goals for myself that are day by day. I’ve already put mechanisms in place for things like reminders about medication but there isn’t an option to do this within BeYou+. If I could do this all in one place that would be a better solution. 


 
The app is helping me to develop generally healthier behaviours. On weekdays I tell it that I can only have 1 cigarette and weekend days I’m allowed 3. The way you register how well you’ve stuck to them is achieved (green), not achieved (red) or not applicable (grey). By completing a week’s worth of goals you unlock a reward video…so far I’ve got links to healthy baking, mindfulness and how to stay alert and active at work. 
 
It also provides links to the most up to date guidelines on living with HIV and HIV treatment (for example it has the most recent guidelines on when you’ll have treatment suggested after diagnosis which is now immediately). It also has some useful links to Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust and many other HIV charities.
 

It doesn’t send me into a panic if people see the notifications

I’ve been using this app for a while now and it’s not intrusive or overbearing. I get a notification every morning asking me how I did with my goals. It doesn’t send me into a panic if people see the notifications as there’s nothing to point towards it being an app for HIV positive people until you put your security code into the app and unlock it. Even those notifications aren’t over the top, no one checks up on your goals other than that one notification, no one judges you if you had an extra cigarette over the weekend or whatever your goals might be.

 
Be You+ is discreet and a pleasure to use. I didn’t really know this was something I needed before I found it -  I downloaded the app having seen it on SH:24’s twitter a few months ago and have been using it ever since.”

What the creators of the app told us

We caught up with the clever people at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, who are also behind the amazing Dean Street and Hammersmith Broadway clinics, to find out a bit more about the app and how it’s gone since launch.
 
Darren Brown, specialist Physiotherapist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and inventor of BeYou+ told us:
 
“BeYou+ was created by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with their charity CW+ and technology partner Imagineear. Content was provided by HIV experts from across the HIV service including Kobler Clinic, 56 Dean Street, John Hunter Clinic, 10 Hammersmith Broadway and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I am delighted that people living with HIV are now able to use BeYou+ to focus on being healthy, living well and achieving meaningful goals. To have specific, reliable, up-to- date information provided in a convenient and accessible way, means users can access what they need, when they want it, with the aim to improve self-management skills, quality of life and general well-being. I am passionate about my work and the people I work with on a daily basis, so I am really excited that my idea has been transformed into BeYou+”.


“We are excited that since launch in May 2016 BeYou+ has been downloaded 110 times in 10 different countries. We value your feedback, so please visit the inbuilt feedback section in BeYou+. We are currently conducting, in collaboration with City University London, an evaluation of people's experience of using BeYou+ and the impact of using BeYou+ on quality of life and self management skills. We will use these results to continue to develop BeYou+ to support people living with HIV to be inspired, be healthy and be well. Please fill in the questionnaire here: https://newqtrial2015az1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_abLEAV5yQNhdTcF"
 

BeYou+ is available to download on Apple and Android devices. For more information and to watch a short video about BeYou+, please visit www.cwplus.org.uk/beyouplus, www.twitter.com/BeYouPlus or www.facebook.com/BeYouPlusApp. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments!