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App will use AI to deliver advancements to multimorbidity self-management

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Holly Health is to partner with Loughborough University and the Modality Partnership, providing its multimorbidity digital self-management tool to hundreds of thousands of patients.

The partnership has secured £447k from Innovate UK to develop a just-in-time adaptive intervention (JITAI) machine learning system with Loughborough University’s Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour (CLiMB) & Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.

The partnership is supported by Clinical Deployment infrastructure at Modality Partnership.

Vigorous academic development will be undertaken before being deployed to the population in a process never seen before in the UK.

The project has the potential to revolutionise the role of user-centred machine learning in public health and health prevention.

Holly Health CEO, Grace Gimson, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Loughborough University and Modality on this project.

“This will enable our Prevent app to become the go-to multimorbidity digital self-management tool, which is scalable and will help the NHS meet current societal needs, as well as future proof these for years to come.”

Currently, 40 per cent of NHS costs annually (£72 billion) are spent on treating preventable conditions including multimorbidity, the presence of two or more long-term conditions, which 30 per cent of adults in the UK have.

With costs for patients increasing with each additional condition they have, multimorbidity care accounts for 70 per cent of total NHS health and social care expenditure.

Self-management is essential to alleviate pressures on the NHS, fuelled by multimorbidity, and increased patient action has been proven to reduce, or even reverse disease progression and usage of NHS services.

There is, however, a lack of self-management support offered by the NHS due to financial pressures, existing tools that aren’t fit for purpose (often due to lack of co-design processes with patients), and staff shortages.

The Holly Health Prevent app aims to address these challenges by delivering the first application of its kind in the management of multiple chronic conditions, offering significant advancements on existing digital personalised behavioural interventions and general health apps.

The project will further develop the Holly Health Personalised Digital Coaching Service, which has resulted in a 22 per cent increase in personal wellbeing and a 33 per cent reduction in patients needing GP support.

This will be through the combination of machine learning approaches with emerging techniques in adaptive behaviour change support, to ensure patients receive the right type of coaching interventions at the right time.

The 18-month project will initially focus on patients aged 40-65 who are at risk, and those who are already living with multimorbidity.

This is particularly poignant as more than 50 per cent of people over 60 have multimorbidity.

The project intends to work towards improving and encouraging positive behavioural health outcomes through increased self-management of conditions.

Modality Partnership CEO, Vincent Sai, said: “This project consortium has huge potential as it will combine Holly Health‘s proven track record of successfully supporting people with health conditions with Loughborough University’s behavioural science and machine learning expertise as well as our primary healthcare and community services experience to develop the most efficient app possible in Prevent.”

Dr James Sanders, academic lead at Loughborough University, ADDED: “We’re excited to be pairing the top behavioural science approaches with cutting-edge machine learning technology, recognising that people with multiple chronic conditions have unique and evolving needs.

“Accessible digital technologies, like Holly Health Prevent, will provide a great opportunity to drive the day-to-day behaviours that have the potential to revolutionise the management of chronic conditions.”

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