Our role in supporting the NHS to innovate

17 March 2022

Roundtable with NHS England, NHS Improvement and UCL Partners

Last week, in my role as a Fellow of the NHS Innovation Accelerator, I took part in a roundtable discussion with key NHS stakeholders. The discussion focused on the challenges of innovation within healthcare and how we can address them at a system level to ensure everyone can benefit.

Alongside four other Fellows, we were given the opportunity to highlight key themes across Elective Care, Artificial Intelligence and Empowering Person-Centred Care with Technology. This included some of the barriers and enablers to embedding and scaling innovation in the NHS, and what can be done to ensure the opportunity and benefits are maximised for all in society.

It was great to be able to share our experience and insights with leaders from across the NHS, such as Professor Stephen Powis (National Medical Director, NHS England & NHS Improvement) and Matt Whitty (Director for Innovation, Research & Life Sciences, NHS England). This type of engagement and the thoughtful conversation it creates is incredibly valuable as part of our mission to make everyday movement an accessible medicine for people here in the UK and globally.

Tommy Parker, CEO, KiActiv®

Christmas 2020 Roundup

24 December 2020

There’s no doubting that 2020 has been a peculiar year and we have all faced many challenges, both personal and professional. This Christmas time is no different and with many plans having been dashed at very late notice, it is worth remembering the adversity that we have already overcome this year.

In March we spoke about continuing care during Covid-19, the importance of physical activity and movement, and the need to empower people to manage their own health. We have witnessed remarkable resilience and motivation amongst our clients, which has reinforced our mission to make peoples’ personal everyday physical activity an accessible and effective medicine for managing health. I’m proud of what we have been able to achieve in the face of the pandemic, so, in addition to wishing you all a Merry (and Safe) Christmas, and the best wishes for 2021, I also wanted to reflect on what we have achieved in this most unusual of years.

Supporting People to Keep Healthy at Home:

At the beginning of the year we launched two projects, working with the West of England AHSN and their partners to support people to Keep Healthy at Home. The purpose was to evaluate KiActiv® in two separate real-world healthcare pathways, building on what we have already achieved in Long Term Conditions, to generate the evidence for wider adoption. You can learn more about the West of England AHSN’s Future Challenges here.

  • Replenish-ME is a project designed to help those diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) develop a greater understanding of their day-to-day activities and help manage energy levels.
  • Moving to Better Health (MBH) is a partnership between Sirona Care & Health that aims to help people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) through everyday physical activity.

Adapting to the Lockdown 1.0:

For many of us, the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation on Monday 23rd March were totally unprecedented. Amongst the many wider implications, we had to move quickly to fully remote working, with no downtime to our client services.

As the potential impact of Covid-19 restrictions on peoples’ physical activity levels became more and more apparent, we became increasingly concerned about the effects this would have on peoples’ mental and physical health.

As usual, the focus was placed on the role of exercise, ignoring the benefits of everyday movement and its accessibility to all. With our partners, through a number of blogs and webinars, we tried to do our bit increase awareness and improve the understanding of how physical activity, of all types and intensities, was vital to managing our health.

The New Healthcare Landscape:

As we know, the impact of Covid-19 has been felt in pretty much every aspect of our lives, and its impact on the NHS and service providers has been just as broad. Across all of our work with Long Term Conditions and Rehabilitation, the pathways we were integrating with changed, as did the needs of the providers and most importantly the patients.

We had always believed that we could provide new, cost-effective, digital pathways where physical activity is a key component, but none of us were expecting a global pandemic to be the trigger that accelerated our delivery of this vision. It is a credit to all of our healthcare partners and the team here at KiActiv® that we have been able to adapt to the changing needs and future outlook of services, and continue to support patients through a turbulent time for mental and physical health. We recently discussed some of the impacts of Covid-19 on our programmes with the West of England AHSN and you can read more about that here.

Working with the West of England AHSN we were able to respond to local needs – rapidly setting up a small project in Wiltshire to support patients who no longer had access to face to face Pulmonary Rehabilitation, due to the lockdown.

Here are some further examples of services we have continued to deliver throughout 2020:

  • Digital Self-Management for Long Term Conditions
  • Covid-19 Rehabilitation
  • Prehabilitation for Surgical Pathways
  • Supporting People with Lymphoedema and Lipoedema to Self-Care
  • Phase 3 Cardiac Rehabilitation

Building for a Better Future:

There has been a remarkable response to the Covid-19 crisis by so many people within healthcare and also more broadly, and we are proud to have played a small part by supporting people to manage their health at home. In the latter part of this year we’ve received support from the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University and SimDH at London South Bank University, to help us accelerate our growth and benefit more people in 2021 and beyond.

We are committed to re-establishing everyday physical activity as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, and this year has made us even more determined in the delivery of our vision. So this Christmas, and into the New Year, remember that every move you make matters for your health.

Merry Christmas from all of us at KiActiv®.

Tommy Parker, CEO

World Health Organisation (WHO) update their physical activity guidelines

1 December 2020

To accompany the new guidelines, they have also released a new video firmly acknowledging the role of everyday physical activity, instead of just focusing on sports and exercise. The video illustrates a variety of daily activities that you can undertake to get up and get moving – ranging from cleaning and making the bed, to gardening and even dancing! All of these are great sources of movement that will elicit great benefits, and it’s important to remember that these activities do not have to be intense or structured to have a valuable impact on your health and wellbeing.

At KiActiv®, we champion this principle that every move matters and, whilst it is great that the WHO are finally beginning to recognise and promote the importance of these everyday movements, there is still more work to be done. The accessible multidimensional nature of physical activity should not be overshadowed by this excessive focus on exercise – finding the value in your everyday movements is just as beneficial!

Hopefully, more people will take the lead of the WHO and join us in moving beyond just rhetoric to make everyday physical activity an accessible and effective medicine for improving health.

The KiActiv® Team

Continuing Care During COVID-19

24 March 2020

The Challenge We Face

Across the UK millions of people require support and rehabilitation services to help manage their Long Term Conditions (LTCs) and overall health. Unfortunately, as a result of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, face-to-face, clinic based services are being temporarily stopped and people are requested to stay at home, which is interrupting care for a vast number of people. Further to this, isolation measures are increasing the risk of inactivity, which is proven to be a major contributing factor to a deterioration in mental and physical health.

Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, identified the need to support those in isolation to manage their own health as part of the overall goal of reducing deaths from all causes during COVID-19. In order to do this effectively, we must utilise technology and remote services to provide a continuation of care for those that need it and, as much as is possible, reduce the future impact of this crisis on peoples’ health outcomes and the NHS.

What Are We Doing?

KiActiv® are continuing to deliver our remote, technology enabled services to support people with Long Term Conditions or undergoing Rehabilitation, to improve their self-care. We are currently delivering services in the following areas across the NHS and we also have additional capacity to help people stay healthy at home using everyday physical activity.

  • Long Term Condition Management (Type 2 Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Lymphoedema and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Rehabilitation Services (Frailty and Falls Prevention, Pulmonary Rehabiliation)
  • Prehabilitation Services (as part of a surgical pathway for Colorectal Cancer)

We have witnessed astonishing behaviour change amongst over 1000 NHS patients in a short period of time and many are accompanied by truly heart-warming stories of better health.

The recent response from participants with Long Term Condition’s and other Rehabilitation services to us continuing to provide care has been overwhelmingly positive. We are witnessing that people are readily embracing the limitations to their environment and finding new ways to be active for the benefit of their conditions, and their mental wellbeing. This reflects our previous experience of housebound individuals and those in a restricted environment showing resilience and ingenuity to benefit the health.

What is KiActiv® Health?

KiActiv® Health is a personalised and guided online service that empowers people to increase physical activity within their everyday lives, and without the need for visits to clinics or gyms. We integrate clinically proven behaviour change technology in an interactive personalised dashboard that uses data from an accurate activity tracker and dedicated remote mentor support. It is focused on everyday movement and promotes the opportunities to be active across all ~112 waking hours a week, rather than 1-2 hours of an exercise, with no barriers to age or mobility.

During the KiActiv® Health programme, participants are supported by phone calls with a trained KiActiv® Mentor at key times across 12 weeks. The calls help participants build an understanding of the value of their daily activities and the confidence to plan, monitor and improve, without compulsion or prescription. At the end of the 12 weeks the participants will have continued access to their personal dashboard and activity monitor to enable them to continue their self-management and the changes to their daily routines.

Our service provides people with a unique and personalised understanding of everyday physical activity for health, enabling them to make healthy, sustainable choices that suit their condition, capacity and environment.

If you are an NHS organisation looking to increase the remote support you can offer to your patients in Long Term Condition and Rehabilitation pathways, please get in touch with Tommy Parker using the form below.

The KiActiv® Team