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Unlocking the benefits of prehabilitation

Harriet Bullough By May 9, 2024
Unlocking the benefits of prehabilitation

Since 2020, prehabilitation has become a pinnacle discussion point for healthcare providers. Just like rehabilitation but before surgery, prehabilitation utilises exercise, nutrition and lifestyle adjustments to help patients get in optimal shape before their procedure. Proactively preparing patients reduces complications and accelerates recovery, leading to shorter hospital stays. However, adopting prehabilitation poses a significant financial challenge for healthcare providers, with face-to-face and telemedicine versions carrying a hefty price tag of up to £1,000 per patient.

Despite these costs, the prehabilitation landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by NHS England’s perioperative mandate*, which requires NHS trusts to integrate prehabilitation into their care protocols as of April 2024. This has transformed prehabilitation into an essential part of perioperative care. However, the associated costs remain a significant barrier, leaving many healthcare organisations searching for affordable prehabilitation options.

How have we transformed the prehabilitation market?

The key word is digitalisation. Digital prehabilitation is revolutionising perioperative care, offering individualised prehabilitation at a fraction of the cost. Harnessing technology means programmes can adapt to patient data as they progress automatically, benefiting both healthcare providers and delivering exceptional patient care.

Digital solutions can reduce administrative burdens, remove waste in public spending, analyse and process extremely large amounts of data to identify health risks, and accelerate the creation of cures for life-threatening diseases. It also opens new opportunities for people with disabilities and for most senior citizens to remain active and included in society through important communication technologies.
Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE

Our individualised prehabilitation programmes are 84 percent cheaper than traditional methods, making us the most cost-effective solution on the market, and the most realistic method to meet recent NHS England guidance on patient optimisation at scale.

Costs are significantly reduced compared to traditional methods by eliminating the need for expensive health coaches and clinician intervention reducing strain on hospital resources and staff time. However, cost saving isn’t the only exciting benefit of prehabilitation’s digital transformation.

Most notably patient prehabilitation can be continued over a long period without significant cost increase, optimising patient wait times.

How are we turning long waiting lists into positive outcomes?

Surgical wait times, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing healthcare professional strikes, have emerged as a prominent concern among clinicians. Commanding attention in the UK press and a major focus of the government’s NHS long-term plan, it’s an undeniable issue that demands resolution. However, we believe there is power in a patient’s wait time, seeing the backlog not as a problem to be solved but a window of opportunity.

By empowering patients to achieve optimal health before undergoing surgery, we seize upon extended wait periods as valuable opportunities for preparation and education, commonly known as “teachable moments.” This strategic approach utilises surgical wait times as a powerful tool to enhance patient health and well-being, simultaneously reducing surgical cancellations, complications, and hospital stays. Consequently, mitigating healthcare provider costs.

What does PreActiv mean for healthcare providers?
  • Reduces the risk of complications.
  • Decreases bed days
  • A realistic method to meet recent NHS England guidance on patient optimisation at scale.*
  • Dramatically reduces healthcare expenses and surgical cancellations.
  • Tailored to surgery date, optimising patients during their wait time.
  • Easily accessible reporting, maximising efficiency.
  • Community forum supports high retention rate
  • Entirely remote, greener and a carbon neutral solution
How does digitalisation affect healthcare staff?

“I think that we will see AI assisting doctors in spotting exceptions and bringing to light the most important information about the patient. It will almost serve as a heads-up display seen in aircraft. So, I think we are going to see some of this emerging in the coming five years.”
Professor Rachel Dunscombe, CEO, NHS Digital Academy, UK

Digitalisation is inevitable, yet its success in prehabilitation hinges on including pre-operative and surgical teams in its design. Neglecting this crucial aspect can lead to fragmented implementation.

Our co-founders, Dr Alec Snow, a consultant anaesthetist and intensive care physician and Dr Rebecca Allam, understand the importance of this better than anyone, with over 25 years clinical experience within the NHS.

We recognised the urgent need for accessible prehabilitation. Alec and I formed a group of motivated healthcare professionals, a senior tech team and an experienced management board in order to use technology to address what as doctors we were seeing first hand.
Rebecca Allam, PreActiv CEO and co-founder

To ensure seamless implementation, it is imperative that accessible design is combined with clinical knowledge. Within PreActiv, we have utilised a multidisciplinary team with a deep understanding of pre-operative and surgical processes. This has enabled us to curate a product and implementation process that maximises efficiency, optimising precious staff time and enabling a smoother workflow. This not only improves service delivery but also facilitates the seamless transition to remote healthcare practices, allowing staff to enjoy greater flexibility in their work.

But we know monitoring isn’t everything. Digitalisation may be the key to the evolution of prehabilitation, but robust support is paramount to ensuring its success. The wellbeing of pre-operative and surgical staff whilst implementing new work processes is an important step to healthcare integrating more technology. Robust support is a vital part of PreActiv, not only ensuring smooth implementation but also safeguarding the wellbeing and efficiency of pre-operative and surgical teams throughout the platform contract.

Looking to the future

The future of prehabilitation and digitalisation are interwoven. As healthcare providers aim to implement more cost-effective prehabilitation solutions, the demand for digital platforms will rapidly increase. Luckily there is no need to wait.

At PreActiv, we harness technology to create dynamic, individualised prehabilitation programmes, that offer a real solution to healthcare providers without pulling on the purse strings. We implement every positive aspect of digitalisation. Our platform offers healthcare providers an opportunity to be industry leads in innovation whilst reaping the numerous benefits of digitalised prehabilitation.



* Earlier screening, risk assessment and health optimisation in perioperative pathways: guide for providers and integrated care boards. https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/earlier-screening-risk-assessment-and-health-optimisation-in-perioperative-pathways/

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