In October 2019, a unique partnership began between two very different organisations: Beezer, an Edinburgh-based start-up that aims to revolutionise the mobile app market with its unique DIY app-building platform; and St Raphael’s, a charity providing exceptional hospice care to the people of Merton and Sutton.

Beezer’s mission is bold: to democratise the mobile app space. The start-up was formed on the back of a realisation that Founder & CEO Brian Smillie had while running a digital marketing agency. As he explains, “I started to hear the same story from so many of my clients – ‘Brian, we’ve spent a fortune developing our app, and we love it, but nobody’s downloading it.’ I felt their pain, but there was nothing I could do for them. The only way to solve this problem was to bypass the app stores.”

The issue faced by SMEs and charities is simple: normal websites are not fit for purpose on a mobile phone, with people spending almost 90% of their phone time in apps; but the native app market is dominated by a few huge companies, with the vast majority of apps, having cost dearly to create, never seeing a single download. Beezer solves this problem by offering an affordable DIY mobile-app building platform which outputs Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Essentially the next evolution of the web, PWAs are accessible via a simple URL, but work with technology in every device to be fully adaptive – meaning they work across every device type and operating system, and they look, feel, and act exactly like a native app when viewed on the phone. The Beezer platform lets its users easily build their apps and distribute them directly to their customers, outside of the app stores.

In the fall of 2019, when St Raphael’s decided to take on the project of creating an easy-to-use, easy-to-share educational app for palliative care professionals, they decided to trial this start-up that they’d heard about. From there, the app was born quickly and is now ready for wide-spread use.

Gail Linehan, Director of Care Services and Strategy Development at St Raphael’s explains: “As experts in palliative and end of life care, we are pleased to introduce our first educational app. Working in partnership with Beezer we have developed a unique mobile-based platform for sharing information and knowledge about palliative and end of life care. Our user-friendly educational app will benefit both nursing staff and healthcare organisations across all settings.”

The St Raphael’s App is an exciting alternative to education days. It’s an easily accessible self directed learning tool, which facilitates healthcare personnel to read and gain knowledge in their own time, at their own pace. The modular format enables users to build on knowledge, enhance clinical skills/expertise and supports the confidence of those delivering the end of life care.

To further support learning and development, users can also choose to answer the questions at the end of each module and have them marked by the Clinical Team at the Hospice, for which there is a cost. A certificate of attainment will be issued to those who pass all the modules successfully.

Gail notes: “The accessibility of the St Raphael’s App enables it to be shared locally, nationally and internationally. The Hospice is currently working to support its use in India and Nepal. Locally, it will be facilitating Nursing and Care home staff to access it. At St Raphael’s, we want to share knowledge and facilitate healthcare professionals develop the skills to deliver good palliative and end of life care which will have a positive therapeutic impact on the patients experience wherever they are being cared for.”

The team at Beezer, for their part, are thrilled to be a tool in the work that St Raphael’s is doing. As Marketing Director Anna Tripodi says, “Here at Beezer, we’re proud to be supporting such important work – so much so, that we have offered our platform to St Raphael’s free of charge. We’re excited about what the future of our partnership will bring.”