Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is launching its first randomised clinical trial which will explore how a complete digital clinic solution could reduce surgical recovery times.

Following a successful service evaluation, the trust will be studying Sapien Health’s digital clinic – which was announced as a participant of this year’s DigitalHealth.London accelerator programme.

It is hoped the one-to-one support offered through the mobile application will improve long-term health outcomes by encouraging patients to make healthier choices before and after operations.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals consultant anaesthetist, Dr Rebecca Barker, who is leading the study, said: “We will be asking patients taking part to follow the support package during the weeks leading up to their surgery and during their recovery to measure the impact this has on recovery and reduced complications.”

The digital tool will be used to prepare patients for hip and knee surgery, as well as offer post-surgery support. It’s hoped that the technology will help to reduce the Covid-19 back-log.

Dr Baker explained: “Patients on our lists will be asked to work on a tailored programme based on their needs and abilities with the aim of getting them as fit as possible by the time they come into hospital for their operation.

“If they have kept to the programme and are more engaged with their own treatment, they can expect to recover more quickly and get back home to their loved ones sooner, meaning we can move on to treat others.”

Sapien Health’s approach is clinically-led and combines evidence-based, personalised education programmes and remote health coaching. It includes a mobile app which will offer patients personalised health management strategies before and after their surgery. This could include support to increase physical exercise, give up smoking, improve diet as well as support for mental wellbeing.

Robbie Huddleston, chief medical officer and co-founder of Sapien Health said: “Waiting lists are currently at record levels in the UK, and if we want to make a dent in them anytime soon then we need to start believing in the resourcefulness of patients.

“Our solution isn’t about telling people what to do. It’s about working with people to help them find a strategy that works for them. We don’t even like to use the phrase waiting lists — we’ve replaced it with preparation lists. This clinical trial is the next step in making preparation lists a reality for all.”

The multi-site randomised clinical trial will be led and sponsored by Sherwood Forest Hospitals and its research and innovation team.