Health

NHS patients to receive £120 private health app to get them fit for surgery

NHS patients to receive £120 private health app featuring a personalised fitness and nutrition plan to get them fit for surgery

  • Sapien Health will work with NHS trusts to prepare patients for surgery 
  • Patients will receive personalised diet and health plans ahead of their operation
  • The App will also assist patients to speed up their recovery after their surgery 

A health app is promising to shorten hospital stays and speed up recovery from major surgery by helping patients get fitter before they go under the knife.

Private healthcare firm Sapien Health will soon begin working with dozens of NHS Trusts to provide personalised diet plans and exercise programmes on patients’ smartphones in the run-up to operations and during the recovery phase afterwards.

Once patients receive a surgery date and have downloaded the app, a specially trained coach contacts them and goes through a set of questions to determine their fitness level and diet regime. The coaches then design health goals which can be anything from losing weight to helping patients feel more energised by taking up a new activity, all of which is accessed through the app.

Patients will be able to download a special app and will be connected to a coach to monitor their progress with the personalised plan

The app will continue to provide assistance after surgery to assist with the patient's recovery

The app will continue to provide assistance after surgery to assist with the patient’s recovery

Each week the coach will have a 20-minute call with the patient to monitor their progress.

The programme typically begins two months before a patient’s operation and continues until a month afterwards.

Dr Rebecca Barker, a consultant anaesthetist at Sherwood Forest NHS Trust which piloted the service, says: ‘It’s really important that patients are prepared for surgery because research shows they are going to recover quicker, return home faster and have fewer complications.

‘From what we’ve seen, patients really enjoy the programme and are more motivated to help themselves get better.’

Each patient who uses the app costs the health service £120. But the experts behind it say it may help to reduce the number of cancelled operations every year, many of which are due to patients being too unfit for surgery.

Improving fitness levels before surgery can also dramatically boost recovery – both reducing the risk of complications and speeding up the time it takes patients to get back on their feet.

Previous studies showed patients who take part in a programme before their operations have the risk of surgical complications halved and leave hospital three days sooner than expected.

Dr Barker adds: ‘There is so much opportunity to improve patients’ preparation for surgery.

‘It is easy for doctors to issue guidelines, rather than thinking how can we help patients at an individual level? That’s what we’re trying to do here.’

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