Bringing innovations closer to home

Juliet Bauer, SVP and UK managing director of Livi, explains how the company has gained traction in the UK with its digital health solutions.

First, give us a sense of where it all began with Livi?

Our mission is to build better, more accessible healthcare for patients, and to equip GP practices and other healthcare providers with digital tools that enable them to deliver services more efficiently.

Livi launched in the UK in 2018, with just one contract and a team of 15 staff. Since then, we’ve grown at an astounding rate – we now cover eight million patients under the NHS contract. Livi is part of Kry, which was founded in Sweden in 2014.

Enabling patients to see a GPs via video consultation when they most need it was the first step on the journey, and last year Livi became the first digital healthcare provider to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. This was a watershed moment for us, and it means our digital healthcare service can stand side by side with the best in the industry.

Give us an overview of the technology behind Livi?

Livi offers a suite of digital solutions that improve patient access and provide critical capacity for clinicians and health systems. Our MJog by Livi batch messaging technology is used by more than 4,500 GP practices in the UK andallows GP practices to communicate important information quickly to patients. This obviously made a huge difference during the pandemic. In 2020 our technology was used to send over 200 million messages for COVID-19 vaccinations, appointments for flu jabs, and other vital communications.

The pandemic has changed the way that people think about and use technology in relation to their health, have you made advances with your own developments?

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual consultations. Using Livi meant that despite the lockdowns, patients were able to access a GP without having to visit surgeries and expose themselves and clinical staff to unnecessary risk, and surgeries were able to continue to support their patients.

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions also saw a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, compounded by a lack of access to mental health professionals.

We recently launched a Talking Therapies service, allowing patients to see a psychologist remotely, and receive treatment for several mental health conditions. Later this year we’ll add Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to our talking therapies service, following a successful trial in Sweden. The service will support psychologists to see twice as many patients suffering from mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and stress.

It seems that Livi takes the simple things, via technology, to the patient’s doorstep, is there more to it than that?

It’s no secret that some people see digital GP services as a temporary solution to a temporary problem, and now it’s time to get back to the doctor’s waiting room. But this view fails to account for the transformative effect services like ours can have on improving healthcare.

My vision is harnessing the power of scale, technology, and data to create transformative solutions to improve population level health outcomes. Our technology will soon be able to match patients living with long-term conditions, for example, to the clinician with the most appropriate skillset. In Sweden analysis of our patients’ data has shown that our algorithmic patient matching tools reduce avoidable hospitalizations by 20%. With this technology rolled out at scale, there is so much more we could do.

Right now, we have innovations closer to home. In January this year Mjog by Livi became the first messaging service to be integrated with the NHS App. Currently in its pilot phase, this integration means patients can receive messages from their GP directly in the NHS App. This will make patient communication safer, thwarting the scammers who targeted people with fake messages during the pandemic, and will open the door to powerful population-level health interventions.

We also launched Mjog’s remote monitoring service, allowing GPs to send patient surveys to monitor conditions such as asthma, anxiety, and depression. With data coded securely to patient records, those who need help can be identified faster, and quickly access the support they need. It is easy to see how this technology could power population level campaigns for smoking cessation or weight loss, with patients accessing high-quality support directly in the NHS App. This is scale, technology, and data in action.

What plans do you have for the company going forward?

This year we will be continuing to scale our services to help more patients and give them better access to healthcare. We will also be working hard to scale our mental health services and try to address the impact the pandemic has had on people’s mental wellbeing.

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