Big Life Group

My Life Goals Mobile App

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

My Life Goals is a mobile app, developed by Big Life, to enable people using the app to take ownership of their goals, helping them to change their lives.

My Life Goals is designed to be used by service users in any of our services where goals are set, and service users have a relationship with a coach, key worker, or similar individual. It is also designed for our staff and volunteers.

My Life Goals has three primary functions:

1. It allows users to set main goals, supported by a series of mini-goals. Users complete their main goals by ticking off all the relevant mini-goals, and are then able to review their achievements. Users can choose whether a goal is private or can been seen by their coach
2. It allows users to receive messages from their coach, alerting them to opportunities that will help them change their lives, and giving the coach an additional route of communication with their clients
3. It allows users to see their next appointment with their key worker, inform the key worker if they need to change the details of the appointment, and view the location of an appointment

Coaches use a web portal to view goals and send messages, based on a flexible access control model which is controlled by user consent.

Why do you think it should win this award?

While there are many health apps on the open market, My Life Goals is different in a number of important ways. First, it is designed to be used in conjunction with a Big Life service, meaning that the user is supported in tracking and meeting their goals by an experienced and trained key worker.

Second, rather than set defined goals, as many apps do (for instance 10,000 steps or a fixed number of calories eaten), My Life Goals allows the user to define what matters most to them, in any area of their life. We know that many users of Big Life’s services (and other similar services) come to us with complex and significant needs, so the ability to define your own goals, however big or small, is vital.

Third, it provides rich information for staff. We are able to see, at a macro level, the number of goals set and achieved, the time it takes for users to achieve goals, and the types of goals people set (physical health, mental health, alcohol, smoking, housing, relationships, work and money).

As users can also view their next appointment, and request to change the details, the app also helps to reduce the number of missed appointments – therefore saving the key worker time, and the organisation money.

What are the key achievements?

The app was rolled out as an initial pilot to our YouFirst service, a small Manchester service working with people at high risk of diabetes and also to our own staff. The pilot has just ended, and, alongside much positive feedback, staff and service users suggested some amendments and improvements, which are now being made.

Among our key achievements is the issue of data control and ownership. We decided to make the app service agnostic, meaning that it can be used across all our services, and potentially by other organisations in the future. This means that, if a service user is engaged in more than one of our services, they still only need to have one version of the app and therefore one version of their goals visible to multiple keyworkers, if consent is given.

This approach brought with it complexities in terms of both who owned the data and how we managed the data once either the user left the service or the contract ended, as each service works to different commissioners and data controllers. Working closely with the GMCA IG lead, we came up with an acceptable and workable solution that both addressed these data issues whilst still remaining true to our principles of delivering services around the needs of our users.

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