The LIVA blog stream
Published 14th September 2018
Liva Healthcare enters Swedish healthcare market
This week we announced Liva has been awarded a large contract with the Swedish region, Gävleborg, north of Stockholm. This is an exciting step for Liva as the contract marks our further international expansion.
We now operate across three countries including Sweden, England and Denmark. In England, Liva is a provider in the digital stream pilot of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. In Liva’s home country – Denmark – more than 20 per cent of Danish municipalities have so far implemented the Liva programme for patients with lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Tackling unhealthy lifestyles
The Gävleborg region has a population of 285,000 and 18% of the population has BMI > 30, 4% above the national average. Over the next ten years, the number of diabetic patients in Gävleborg is expected to double. In order to tackle unhealthy lifestyles, nearly 40% of the population have indicated they need support to increase their physical activity levels, according to statistics from the region.
The new contract with Gävleborg will see Liva’s digital health programme being rolled out to diabetics throughout the region. Patients at risk of Type 2 diabetes, or who have Type 2 diabetes, will be able to use the Liva programme to slow down the development of the disease or even reverse it.
Since being selected by the NHS, the world’s largest healthcare provider, to help tackle Type 2 diabetes, we have received inquiries from all over the world. This latest development is part of our drive to become the world leader in the digital treatment of diabetes.
Published 4th September 2018
Britain heading towards a diabetes ‘epidemic’, The British Heart Foundation reveals
Last week, The British Heart Foundation released a risk factor assessment analysing the increase of heart and circulatory diseases caused by Type 2 diabetes. The report underlines the staggering notion that up to a third of all cases of heart disease in the UK will be linked to diabetes by 2035 if current trends persist.
Below we pin down the most interesting findings and discuss the link between Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The link between Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Out of the four million people living with diabetes in the UK, 90% of those have Type 2 diabetes. Whilst Type 2 diabetes is both preventable and reversible through lifestyle management, it can also develop into multiple chronic diseases such as coronary disease which may be harder to treat.
The British Heart Foundation forecast reveals that the growing number of people with Type 2 diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 diabetics suffering a heart attack in 2035 and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke. A rise of 9,000 and 11,000 compared to 2015. If current trends persist, diabetes is predicted to cause more than 380,000 cases of heart disease annually by 2035 – nearly a third more than the current 290,000 cases a year. What these statistics essentially highlight, is the concerning and unavoidable link between Type 2 and heart disease.
The root cause: obesity
A large number of Type 2 diabetes cases are often brought on by unhealthy lifestyle choices such as a poor diet and lack of physical activity. Meaning that the condition can be both prevented and rolled-back.
Greater efforts need to be placed on providing the people, either affected by or at risk of Type 2 diabetes, the support they require to make simple lifestyle changes to affect their weight. It is often the small changes to a daily routine that can make a big impact in the long-term health of a patient and, in the long run, prevent Type 2 diabetes and consecutively coronary diseases. This is a reality that cannot be ignored.
Revolutionising Type 2 diabetes treatment
We live in an ever-increasing technological world in which digital tools have been specifically developed tackle conditions caused by unhealthy life choices. Liva’s goal is to revolutionise diabetes treatment through an innovative digital platform designed to help patients make and sustain long-term lifestyle changes. Since 2014, we are proud to say we have had promising results through the use of digital interventions to help with weight loss – one form of treatment for those with, or at risk of, both Type 2 diabetes and chronic heart disease.
Published 16th August 2018
Driving towards personalised healthcare, findings from NHS England’s GP Patient Survey
Last week saw the release of the NHS’ annual GP Patient survey. The England-wide survey provides data about patients’ experiences of their general practices. 758,165 patients filled out the questionnaire between 2nd Jan and 31st March 2018. Here we dig into some of the most interesting findings and what we believe they mean for the future of healthcare and the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in particular.
The good news…
83.8% of patients described their overall experience of their GP practice as good, with 96% of respondents having confidence and trust in the last healthcare professional they saw. These findings are encouraging as we believe there is a desperate need for a trusted relationship between patients and their healthcare professionals. This is particularly true when it comes to the treatment of chronic diseases, which require patients to make long-lasting lifestyle changes.
Treatment of diabetes
The survey also sheds light on how diabetes patients are faring with their treatment. 83% of those with diabetes reported they are confident that they can manage any issues arising from their condition. What’s more, 82% of those with diabetes said they believe they’ve had enough support from local services to help them manage the condition.
Whilst there is clearly a need for improvement, these figures are a positive sign that initiatives to tackle Type 2 diabetes are making an impact on the lives of those with the disease. Such initiatives include the digital stream of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which Liva is a part of, which is using digital interventions to tackle the condition.
Personalised care plans
Liva’s programme was created on the premise that personalised care plans and strong relationships can help people make the behavioural changes needed to tackle chronic lifestyle diseases. The GP Patient survey found that 94% of patients with a care plan find it helps in managing their condition. However, despite this, under two-thirds (60%) of patients who have had a conversation with a healthcare professional about managing their condition have agreed a plan to manage it. What’s more, just a third (33%) have been given a written or printed copy of their agreed plan.
At Liva, we know the positive impact a personalised care plan can have. It is empowering to the patient through having the knowledge of the changes they can make themselves to tackle their chronic disease, rather than relying on medication. What’s more, the plan keeps the patient accountable to their health goals. Tracking progress against the plan can be a huge motivator for someone making daily small changes to their health. If this healthcare plan can be coupled with a personal health coach, then the patient also has a helping hand along the way to improve their health.
Published 9th August 2018
Advancing the quality of life and care in heart disease patients: a new clinical trial
Unhealthy lifestyles can lead to a number of health issues and lifestyle diseases. 160,000 people die from heart and circulatory disease every year in the UK1. In Europe, coronary heart disease is the single most common cause of death before 65, accounting for 16% of male and 10% of female deaths1. One of the most common treatments to prevent sudden cardiac death is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Our medical director, Dr Carl Brandt, has recently been working on a new study to see how Liva’s platform can help ICD patients manage their heart disease more effectively using a web-based intervention. Here we look at what this research is and why it is needed.
What is an ICD?
An ICD is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of a patient’s heart rate. Thin wires connect the ICD to the heart. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat.
The number of ICD implantations is on the rise. However, whilst many patients respond well to the ICD, around 20% of patients report difficulties with psychological adjustment after receiving the impact and report significant levels of anxiety, depression and a poor quality of life2.
In the last decade, there has been a shift in the management of ICD patients with face-to-face outpatient visits largely being replaced by remote monitoring. This remote monitoring enables the ICD clinics to detect abnormal heart rhythms and problems with the device fast, with demonstrated clinical and economic advantages. However, less has been known about the impact on patients given there is less face-to-face interactions. Arguably it has become more difficult to identify vulnerable patients who require additional support and follow up.
The ACQUIRE-ICD study
Our medical director, Dr Carl Brandt, has therefore been working with a group of researchers to design the ACQUIRE-ICD study – a personalised and interactive web-based health care innovation to advance the quality of life and care of patients with an ICD3. It aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive interactive eHealth intervention on patient outcomes – both patient reported and clinically reported. It will seek to understand the cost-effectiveness of web intervention compared to usual care alone.
The study involves enrolling patients who are receiving their first ICD. Patients will be spilt into one of two treatment conditions – usual care and interactive web-based care innovation. In both conditions, participants will receive usual care with their ICD which includes clinical follow-up visits. In the web-based care group, using the Liva platform, participants have access to a number of different components. This includes 1) goal setting for behavioural change, 2) monitoring of symptoms of depression, anxiety and overall health, 3) online psychological treatment, 4) dialogues with nursing staff via the platform, 5) information provision and education and 6) a forum with access to an online community.
Liva Healthcare platform will be used in the study to help patients manage their chronic lifestyle disease. Currently 478 patients are being recruited for a 12-month intervention in Denmark. It will be interesting to see the results of the study in a year’s time and we hope that Liva’s platform will help the participants live their best possible life with their device and disease.
Published 27th July 2018
Creating a one-stop shop for managing and improving health and wellbeing of insurance customers
It’s been an exciting week for Liva. We have announced a new strategic cooperation with dacadoo, the digital health engagement platform. The new collaboration will see us working together to tackle growing global health crises across Europe, Asia and US by combining our powerful digital health platforms.
Managing health in an engaging way
Swiss company dacadoo develops and operates a digital, mobile health engagement platform that helps employees actively manage their health in an easy and fun way. To engage users to remain active and healthy, the company applies motivational techniques including online and games, collaborative features from social networks, personalised feedback and the patented dacadoo Health Score to better understand and improve their health.
Creating a one-stop shop for insurers
Dacadoo’s platform focuses on health promotion of the healthy and at-risk population, whilst Liva Healthcare aims to prevent and roll back chronic lifestyle diseases – such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Through the collaboration of the two complementary digital platforms, we are able to offer a broader service to our corporate customers, such as payers and insurance providers. Providing a better coverage of the population’s health management from healthy to not so healthy, in a connected offering. The strategic cooperation of Liva and dacadoo’s complementary platforms now offers insurers a one-stop shop for managing and improving health and wellbeing of their customers.
Published 23th July 2018
Motivational interviewing: How healthcare professionals can engage with their patients
Motivational interviewing is a method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behaviour. It is a practical, empathetic and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes. It is often used to address the management of physical health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. The intervention helps to motivate individuals to change the behaviours that are preventing them from making healthier choices. Here we look at how healthcare professionals can use motivational interviewing to get the most out of their patients.
Assessing if someone is ready to make lifestyle changes
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through changes to diet and exercise. However, people often feel in two minds about making changes to their lifestyle. In some ways, they want to change and, in others, they want things to stay the same. Ultimately for changes to occur, an individual’s reasons for change need to be greater to tip the balance towards change. Healthcare professionals can assess an individual’s readiness to change by asking the below questions:
1.Would you like to remove your pre-diabetes diagnosis? (No = 0, Yes = 1)
2. How seriously would you like to remove your pre-diabetes diagnosis? (Not at all seriously = 0, Not very seriously = 1, Fairly seriously = 2, Very seriously = 3)
3. Do you intend to start to make changes to help remove your pre-diabetes diagnosis in the next 2 weeks? (Definitely no = 0, Probably no = 1, Probably yes = 2, Definitely yes = 3)
4. What is the possibility that 12 months from now you will no longer be pre-diabetic? (Definitely not = 0, Probably not = 1, Probably will = 2, Definitely will = 3)
5. Add the scores up (0-10). The higher the number, the more engaged someone is with the idea of making changes. If they are experiencing some ambivalence towards change, the following motivational interviewing tips could help to resolve this.
Key principles of motivational interviewing
When practicing motivational interviewing, healthcare professionals should:
Avoid arguing the case for change with their patient. Instead, roll with resistance and express empathy with the individual.
Acknowledge that ambivalence is normal and that there is an argument for not making changes.
Ask open ended questions.
Make simple reflections on what the individual has said, for example by mirroring key words they use.
Summarise back to the individual what they have said to check you have understood correctly.
Observe any unspoken meaning and reflect on how the individual seems to be feeling.
Healthcare professionals should then encourage patients to review their arguments for change in relation to their core values. Through this, the healthcare professional can support and enhance their patient’s self-belief in their ability to succeed at making lifestyle changes.
Example questions to elicit lifestyle changes:
Why would you want to make this change?
How might you go about it, in order to succeed?
What are the three best reasons to do it?
On a scale of 0 -10, how important would you say it is to make this change?
Published 25th June 2018
Liva Healthcare recognized for its innovation, winning Health IT Firm of the Year!
It’s been a fantastic few weeks for Liva Healthcare. Our partnership with the NHS for the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme continues to grow and just last week we were named the winner of Health IT Firm of the Year at the HedalthInvestor Awards 2018!
The awards took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, recognizing the achievements in the business of healthcare. The packed audience of executives from major players across the healthcare sector was hosted by Rory Bremner, who led the celebrations. Our model was praised for being “highly scalable, enabling a large continuum of patients to increase functionality and lifestyle performance”. We were recognized for our innovation with the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Programme.
The award win is a further testament to the fact that our digital platform is a key driver for change in the UK healthcare market. It comes at a time where we are now widening our presence in the UK through building new partnerships and launching new health prevention programmes. We are working with private insurance, pharma and public healthcare bodies across Europe. Our platform is being used to drive patient engagement, clinical outcomes and healthcare delivery efficiency with real-time data insight.
The UK is an extremely forward-thinking market when it comes to technological advancements and, with this win, we’re confident that Liva Healthcare will continue to successfully expand in the exciting market.
Published 7th June 2018
Overcoming eHealth challenges
Digital health tools are becoming increasingly utilised to address the challenges faced by our healthcare systems. Including to help more patients be seen and to drive cost efficiencies. But how can digital tools be used most effectively to drive results for patients themselves? Do we risk diluting the effectiveness of health professionals by putting technology in the middle of what has traditionally been a face-to-face personal relationship?
Effective eHealth coaches
There is a wealth of research demonstrating that eHealth can facilitate lifestyle changes such as weight loss, tobacco cessation and increased activity levels. Research has also shown that
eHealth can help people maintain these lifestyle changes over long periods of time. This is however best achieved when a digital health tool, such as an app, is used to connect a patient with a health professional, rather than just having a digital health tool alone. This combination of digital technology and personal relationships is known as a collaborative eHealth tool.
In order to explore this topic further, our medical director, Dr Carl Brandt, recently undertook research to look at how healthcare professionals perceive eHealth coaching. The research explored what influences successful long-term lifestyle change for patients using a collaborative eHealth tool.
Interviews were conducted with ten healthcare professionals. The study found that all healthcare professionals found establishing and maintaining an empathic relationship with their patients was important. Digital health coaching was found to challenge the personal patient relationship at times because healthcare professionals did not receive immediate feedback from patients when using digital health tools.
Developing an empathic relationship
The research therefore concluded that establishing and maintaining empathic relationships with patients is one of the most important factors in developing effective eHealth services. The research found that it was of significant importance for healthcare professionals to get to know their patients first e.g. through an initial face-to-face meeting. In addition, despite the fact that healthcare professionals felt patient feedback was delayed when using digital tools, they also believed this offered an opportunity for reflection before responding to each other.
The key takeaways
In order for patients to fully benefit from collaborative eHealth coaching, the quality of the patient-healthcare professional relationship needs attention. Digital health tools present an exciting opportunity to revolutionise healthcare to help more patients and reduce costs. When using digital health, eHealth coaches should look to strengthen their ability to be empathetic via digital tools.
Published 21th May
Maintaining the GP-patient relationship to drive effective treatment
New research from the University of Leicester has revealed that the number of patients in England who were able to get an appointment with their family doctor fell by 27.5% between 2012 and 2017.
The researchers stated that, due to the decline in regular contact between patients and GPs, relationship continuity is at risk of being damaged with consequences for people’s health. The literature suggests that when people see the same GP, they are more likely to take their prescribed medication, go to theGP to prevent poor health and are therefore more likely to have any illness diagnosed earlier.
Worryingly, it’s likely the situation could get worse. Figures revealed this week that over 1,000 family doctors have left the profession. This is despite a government drive to recruit 5,000 extra doctors by 2020.
Based on our research and patient experience, it’s alarming to think that the number of GPs are falling and that there has been a sharp decline in the GP-patient bond over the last six years. In our view, the GP-patient relationship is a key driver of efficient treatment.
This is particularly true for the treatment of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which require patients to make lifestyle changes. From previous medical studies, it has been proven that the most important driver in long-term lifestyle changes is a strong and personal relationship based on trust. Be that with a GP, health professional or even friend or family member.
It’s important that the healthcare system recognises this and takes action to encourage patients to have someone to form a strong relationship with, whether that is with a GP or a personal health coach. Digital health tools can help with this too. Apps, for example, can allow healthcare professionals to keep in touch with certain patients that require ongoing support to treat an illness. In addition, video and text consultations can take place on an ongoing basis to maintain the relationship and ensure the patient stays on track. Ultimately, this relationship is the most powerful tool to helping patients manage and prevent many chronic diseases. Therefore, if meeting the same GP is impractical, and numbers of GPs is strained, innovative digital health tools could well provide the solution to maintain effective relationships.
Published 7th May
More education is needed to help GPs use eHealth
The NHS and other health services are steadily using wearables, fitness apps and home monitoring devices to help patients with lifestyle changes. Health professionals are increasingly aware of the need for individuals to make changes such as improving diet and increasing exercise to tackle the growing problem of health-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
How do GPs use eHealth?
The NHS is trialling digital health interventions, such as Liva, to tackle Type 2 diabetes and has launched online GP consultations. In other countries like Denmark, where Liva Healthcare was founded, GPs use digital health records and electronic health consultations on a daily basis. But how do GPs find using eHealth? And what do they need from health authorities in order to support their patients; healthy lifestyle behaviour?
To get to the bottom of this, our co-founder and medical director, Dr Carl Brandt, recently conducted a study to explore GPs’ perspectives on eHealth devices. GPs from Denmark were interviewed on how they used eHealth and mobile health (mHealth) devices to help patients with lifestyle diseases and to understand how they thought eHealth could be used in the future.
The study found that all GPs communicated on a daily basis with patients about disease and medicine via their electronic health record and the internet. However, this communication was often only one-way (i.e. from the GP to the patient). GPs also said they are familiar with behavioural change techniques and are ready to use them in eHealth but only if they are used to optimise processes and not hinder other treatments.
The future of eHealth
When looking to the future use of eHealth in patient lifestyle coaching, the study revealed that more education is needed for GPs in order to help them recognise patients’ abilities and preference to use eHealth when wanting to make changes to their lifestyle. The study identified that eHealth has the potential to become an important tool for GPs in future work to improve the health of their patients. However, education is needed and more research is needed to understand how GPs can become active in developing behavioural change eHealth solutions that will create the future framework for collaboration among general practice, local authorities and patients.
Published 23th April
Preventing Type 2 diabetes: Andrew’s story
“I’m 50 and I wish I’d had this when I was 40…I don’t want to be a diabetic, end of story. I want to enjoy life.” – Andrew, a patient using the Liva Healthcare app to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Prevention Week
This last week was Diabetes Prevention Week which aimed to raise awareness of the causes of Type 2 diabetes and the complications associated with it.
The awareness week comes as we are now five months into the pilot of the digital stream of the NHS Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme. Patients at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes based in Humber, Cost and Vale and North East London are still being referred to Liva Healthcare. And many are already reaping the benefits.
Progress is being made
The best part about the work we do at Liva Healthcare has been seeing the progress patients have made. So far, we have recruited over 200 patients in North East London to be part of the programme and over 80 in Humber, Coast & Vale. We are really pleased with how the pilot is going, with some patients losing up to a stone in their first two months on the programme.
But don’t just take our word for it! Watch this Channel 5 video all about how digital interventions, including Liva, are tackling Type 2 diabetes: https://bit.ly/2K486DQ
Published 9th April, Kristoffer From, founder of Liva Healthcare
Tackling the root cause of Type 2 diabetes: obesity
Obesity is responsible for about one in ten deaths in Britain and costs the NHS £5.1 billion a year. It vastly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age and leads to more than 100 amputations a week. Type 2 diabetes has been called a global health epidemic.
Whilst we often associate Type 2 diabetes with older people, new research has revealed a concerning relationship between Type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. Research from King’s College London has revealed that childhood obesity can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes four-fold by the age of 25 compared to children with a normal BMI.
The need to change lifestyles
This latest research demonstrates further the need to prevent obesity from early life. The lead author of the King’s College London research, Ali Abbasi highlighted how “more than half of adults and one out of three children leaving primary school are now overweight or obese”. The Government needs to invest more in engaging the public in diabetes prevention efforts. This includes following a healthy diet and exercise regime.
Some cities are leading the way
Whilst in many places childhood obesity rates are rising, one place where they are falling is Amsterdam. The city has set up a healthy-weight programme which has overseen a 12% drop in overweight and obese children. The programme costs under £5.3m a year and relies on working with existing professionals such as teachers, doctors nurses and social workers to enforce a consistent, healthy lifestyle message. Children are taught how to eat healthily, are not allowed sugary snacks or fizzy drinks in school and are encouraged to be active. What’s more, fitness classes are offered to those that need more help. The city has also started initiatives such as banning fast food adverts on the subway. We believe this is a fantastic step forward and other cities should follow suit.
So what’s happening in the UK?
The good news is that private companies, and the NHS, have started to innovate in order to tackle Type 2 diabetes. Digital health tools, such as Liva Healthcare, have been developed to facilitate healthcare professionals to see more patients at once and track their progress more regularly. Losing weight isn’t easy but digital tools have the potential to support sustainable, lasting changes to someone’s lifestyle and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes. Creating a healthier lifestyle is quite a radical thing to do and commit to. Key to succeeding is having a supportive network. Technology exists to facilitate this and connect individuals facing similar health concerns. Thereby providing an instant, digital support network.
This isn’t about replacing healthcare professionals with algorithms, it’s about facilitating them. However, these initiatives are largely for adults. Other policies are needed to help tackle childhood obesity in the UK, to prevent later diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes, such as the programme seen in Amsterdam.
Please get in touch if you’d like any further information on how our platform works: email@example.com
Published 26th March
New research shows trusted relationships are essential in driving patient weight loss with digital health tools
Digital health tools are on the rise, indicating that apps run on algorithms may be able to step into the shoes of healthcare professionals. However, new research recently published in the BMJ Open suggests that digital health tools still need a human touch.
The human touch
The research, led by Dr Carl Brandt at the University of Southern Denmark, looked to understand the key facilitators and barriers to achieving long-term weight loss. Qualitative interviews took place with patients who had previously taken part in a weight loss intervention study which used e-health tool Liva Healthcare.
The interviews revealed that whilst digital health tools are effective in helping patients lose weight, it is only when this is paired with a trustworthy relationship between the patient and a healthcare professional. Patients reported this relationship was essential for achieving long-term successful weight loss.
Facilitators and barriers to weight loss
Other facilitators for sustainable weight-loss were found to be daily goal setting, having strong social support, connecting to others going through a similar struggle to lose weight through online support forums and using e-health tools.
Barriers to weight loss were found to be having a lack of confidence, being addicted to high-calorie food and a lack of social support.
What does this all mean?
The research has strong implications for treating chronic lifestyle diseases, many of which are caused or aggravated by preventable lifestyle choices, such as an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. Research has already shown that e-health tools have a positive relationship with driving weight loss in patients, however this latest research shows this can be even more effective if combined with a strong personal relationship and social support. Liva Healthcare does just that – we provide patients with an app but it is not just an algorithm at work. The patient has access, through the app, to a personal health coach ensuring that the individual has strong support and a personalised approach to their weight loss programme.
Digital health tools should therefore look to support healthcare professionals, not replace them. Ultimately, successful, sustainable weight loss depends on the ability of healthcare professionals to provide strong, positive support on a regular basis with their patients.
Diabetes is on the rise: the importance of digital health technologies in transforming lives – Kristoffer From shares his thoughts
Published 12th March, Kristoffer From, founder of Liva Healthcare
A growing health problem
Diabetes UK revealed last week that diabetes diagnoses have more than doubled in 20 years. Currently 3.7 million people over the age of 17 are known to be living with the disease, compared to 1.8 million over 16-year-olds in 1998. Although the research didn’t break down the prevalence of Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes, Diabetes UK said both had risen, with Type 2 increasing more.
Making healthier choices
Type 2 diabetes is often brought on by unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles. To reverse the rising numbers, the root cause needs to be tackled. Greater efforts need to be placed on educating the public about making healthier choices when it comes to their lifestyle, including having a balanced diet and incorporating exercise on a weekly basis. The importance of this can’t be ignored.
The upcoming levy on sugary drinks in the UK in April is a welcomed initiative, helping reduce the amount of fizzy drinks consumed. Similar interventions in Mexico and Hungary have shown positive results with 12% and 40% reduction respectively in the first year of implementation. But more needs to be done to drive lifestyle changes in the UK in order to reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.
A helping hand
In order to help people make lasting changes to their lifestyle and prevent Type 2 diabetes prevalence rising even further, we need to look at how to drive behaviour change to encourage healthier lifestyles. At Liva we believe the best approach is to use digital interventions to extend the work that health professionals do. For example, by using technology, healthcare professionals can be continuously connected with patients to help set and monitor lifestyle goals. Technology can therefore both facilitate and extend the work of healthcare professionals by giving them the tools to communicate with patients remotely and monitor far more patients at once. Giving a helping hand to people in need of a lifestyle change can help stop the progression of the disease, or even roll it back completely.
You can drive behaviour change and patient engagement digitally
Published 26th February, Kristoffer From, founder of Liva Healthcare
In 2009, Phillippa Lally, health psychology researcher at University College London published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit. The study examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. The data was analysed, and on average it took 66 days (over two months) before a person’s new behaviour became automatic.
Making lifestyle changes is a radical thing to do
Creating a new habit is therefore difficult. Having support from others around you and self-motivation is key. When making healthy lifestyle changes, it is common for people to hit a brick wall, and we find this usually happens between three to six months on. Breaking through that plateau is difficult. That’s why sometimes individuals in need of a lifestyle change to support their health needs somebody to help take them to the next level.
Digital platforms can drive patient engagement
In order to drive long-term behavioural changes in their patients, healthcare professionals can significantly benefit from using an online platform to stay in touch with their patients.
For example, Liva is a digital healthcare app whereby a patient, who has or is at risk of a chronic lifestyle disease such as Type 2 diabetes, is given a professional health coach.
Patients have an initial face-to-face meeting with their coach, to discuss their current lifestyle and long-term objectives. After this meeting, the relationship moves online with the patient and coach having regular contact to ensure the patient is remaining on-track with their individual goals.
We have found the most important feature of the digital intervention is the relationship between the coach and the patient. This is the key that will improve and potentially even reverse the patient’s medical condition. In our experience, it is only with this relationship that patients truly benefit from what digital platforms have to offer such as health tracking tools.
Relationships are key for digital interventions
Healthcare professionals should never be replaced with algorithms. It’s very important that digital health industry doesn’t get too digital. At Liva, we see that patients don’t want to communicate with an automated messaging system when they are trying to change some fundamental things in their life.
When using Liva, the coach’s relationship with the patient drives change. Liva’s digital health platform facilitates it. In our view, digital health interventions are paramount to reducing costs and scaling up services to treat more patients suffering from chronic lifestyle diseases. However, the human touch must remain to ensure that the interventions are truly effective.
Using digital interventions to improve heart health
Published 12th February, Kristoffer From, founder of Liva Healthcare
This National Heart Month Kristoffer From explains the role that digital health can play in managing chronic heart disease
February is National Heart Month in the UK. For this, the British Heart Foundation promotes making small changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Around seven million people live with cardiovascular disease in the UK. However, despite the high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in the UK, the good news is that 80% of premature heart disease, stroke and diabetes can be prevented. So how can we do this?
Digital health solutions
During the digital transformation age, health technology has taken off. Over the last few years, digital tools have been developed to assist patients in dealing with conditions such as heart disease.
One treatment for cardiovascular diseases is for patients to undergo lifestyle changes. These changes include regular exercise and stopping smoking. Often it is small changes to daily routines that can make a big difference to a person’s health and, in the long term, save a life. Digital innovations are helping patients make these changes and stay on track. Through digital health interventions, such as apps, health professionals can monitor their patients remotely and create a personalised intervention to help them change their lifestyle and improve their heart health. Health professionals can for example monitor their patients exercise and smoking levels, food and water intake and sleeping patterns.
At Liva, our digital health platform does just this and has proved effective in tackling lifestyle diseases. We have had promising results on the use of digital interventions to help with weight loss – one form of treatment for those with, or at risk of, chronic heart disease. For example, we monitored the progress of 136 patients using our app. Over the period, 82% of the patients lost weight, losing an average of 6.3kg, demonstrating signs of a successful lifestyle intervention. Encouragingly these patients appear to be losing more weight, and faster, than previous studies with digital health interventions have shown.
Given the large-scale problem of heart disease, and the cost to our national health service, digital interventions, such as Liva, are a valuable tool for the health service in order to cut costs and scale up treatment with more patients attended to remotely. If you would like more information on the Liva platform and how this could help your business, a colleague, or yourself, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org