An interview with Simon Pickup, UK Managing Director of Liva Healthcare, about the Liva digital health platform and how it can be used to help patients change their lives for the better.
Heart disease and diabetes are amongst the biggest killers in the world today. How can lifestyle apps such as those offered by Liva Healthcare help to reduce the prevalence of these diseases and save lives?
The Liva digital health platform is all about changing lifestyles for the better. We help patients improve their lifestyle through a process called behavioral change therapy.
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Patients are given individual goals that range from eating smaller portion sizes, increasing the amount of exercise they do, even improving sleep patterns, all of which have been linked to chronic disease.
How does the Liva app work?
The program is a combination of a professional health coach and our state-of-the-art digital platform. The patient initially meets up with a health coach who comes up with an individualized health plan. Everybody has a different plan depending on their needs, and the condition they are suffering with.
During the hour, incremental step changes in the form of goals are put into place. The patient then uses the platform to manage their health and meet these goals. The coach can see everything the participant is doing through the platform and is able to help the patient meet their goals.
The platform isn’t just for one chronic condition. It is suitable for all chronic conditions. For example, patients with Type 2 diabetes often have lots of co-morbidities that need to be taken into consideration before recommending a health plan.
The NHS program for diabetes prevention is currently 12 months. We have set-interval coaching throughout this period and at any point in time, the coach can monitor the performance of all the patients that they are managing, which, in turn, helps drive efficiency.
What types of lifestyle changes does the app recommend? Why is it so effective at helping people to lose weight?
There are a number of goals that are available on the platform, and we’re releasing new ones all the time, depending on the condition that the patient is suffering with.
There are around 20 goals at the moment, and as I said earlier, it’s about setting individual goals for that particular patient. Not everybody follows the same plan, and the focus of each plan is different.
Once they've achieved or attained that goal, we either switch that goal off and turn another one on or increase their goal settings.
To give you an example, our clinical studies have shown that not only can patients lose 7.4kg within the first four months but they are actually able to sustain this weight loss 20 months later. Which is about 7.2% of their BMI. We have published results like these in several reputable journals.
It takes about three months in general to change a lifestyle, but it can take up to 18 months to keep that lifestyle. This isn’t a fad diet. It’s about momentum. Slow, incremental changes that help patients change their lifestyle permanently.
It’s about getting people to slowly, incrementally change the way they live, which means that they will stick to it. It becomes a permanent lifestyle change.
Do you think that every patient in the UK should use a lifestyle app? If yes, what age would you recommend that people start using them?
Interestingly, my ten-year-old daughter has a lifestyle app. I think it's more of a craze than actually doing anything with it. But you know what? It’s been proven that children as young as 5 could do with a change of their lifestyle, which is a really scary statistic.
For us, it's about educating the adults to change their lifestyles and then hopefully that knowledge will be passed on to the next generation. There are lots of school initiatives with famous chefs to improve the way our children are eating in school, and that helps too.
How can healthcare apps such as Liva help to reduce the economic pressures faced by today’s NHS?
We currently offer our program as a pilot in two regions for the NHS; in Humber, Coast and Vale and North East London. We’d like to extend our service to more regions, for example, to CCG’s in different regions that manage diabetics, but also to CCGs who manage other chronic diseases, for example, respiratory diseases.
We’re also looking to partner with pharmaceutical companies to improve outcomes for patients using one of their products. We’re just about to start a pilot with one particular pharmaceutical company in two regions globally.
Liva has been proven to reduce the costs faced by the NHS, simply because we are able to improve people’s lifestyles. For example, patients who successfully use the platform are able to reverse their Type 2 diabetes, and others are no longer at risk of developing diabetes. This allows us to reduce the cost burden of medication on the NHS.
The cost for a Type 2 diabetic with severe complications is around £35,000 a year. On average, we can prove that per patient we can save around €2,000 in societal cost savings.
This doesn't seem like a lot of money, but if you multiply it by a huge cohort of patients, it’s huge savings.
Where can readers find more information?
For more information, head to the Liva Healthcare website.
About Liva Healthcare
Founded in 2014, Liva Healthcare is an innovative digital health coaching platform for scalable lifestyle and disease management.
Winner of 'Health IT Firm of the Year' at the HealthInvestor Awards 2018 and 'Healthtech Innovators of the Year - Europe at the Global Health & Pharma Awards 2018, Liva Healthcare is used by public health care, private insurance and pharma companies including NHS England, AXA PPP Healthcare and Copenhagen Municipality.
Liva Healthcare’s platform facilitates ongoing personalised health coaching through an intuitive platform, building strong bond between coach, GP and patient. Its focus lies on tackling chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease, by driving behaviour change.
Currently being used in Denmark, UK and Sweden, the platform is multilingual across several languages. It has proven to work efficiently across all socio-economic backgrounds and is capable of engaging groups normally hard to reach.
It is based upon nine to 18 months of continuous patient engagement to make new habits and behaviours stick. One coach can manage 500 patients per year simultaneously without the loss of patient outcomes.
Implementation time from get-go is normally within weeks and the platform is available as a white-label SaaS platform, or as a turn-key solution, dependent on client specifications.
Liva Healthcare has offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and London, UK.