Revolutionising access to preventive healthcare for hard-to-reach patients

Increasing public participation in preventive healthcare and reducing health inequalities by combining, behavioural science, accessible invitations and NHS integrations.



Lead Organisation

Appt Health Ltd




Managing Complaints of Ageing

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About the project

Appt-Health (Appt) is an established social enterprise with a track-record of successful innovation. A mission-locked social enterprise offering an innovative patient engagement service Appt increase public participation in preventive healthcare and reduce health inequalities by combining:

  • Behavioural science
  • Accessible invitations
  • NHS integrations

Preventive healthcare is crucial for management of the common complaints of ageing. Long-term and chronic conditions are a source of the common complaints of ageing. NHS prevention programmes are designed to identify these conditions early, allowing preventive action to be taken and to enable effective self­ management. But these programmes are underperforming.

Low uptake of prevention poses structural and behavioural challenges. Older adults are increasingly likely to live with one or more long term or chronic conditions. This means that need for these programmes is increasing every year as our population ages. But the individuals who would most benefit from these programmes are often the least likely to access them. Age and deprivation are significant explanatory variables influencing low uptake of preventive healthcare. Under-performance results from behavioural and structural barriers. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) employ ‘call and recall’ processes to overcome these barriers and engage the public in preventive healthcare programmes. But these processes are ineffective.

Appt’s innovation responds to the lessons-learned in previous innovation projects. In our previous SBRI Social Ventures project, Appt successfully designed, built, and implemented a targeting engine, allowing them to move away from the one-size-fits-all approach to patient engagement. Trials demonstrated a 43% increase in lung cancer screening uptake, while saving the NHS money.

Improvements were seen across age groups, but more must be done for older patients. Appt’s rich dataset shows that their service improves engagement across the board, but still, uptake rates fall as age and deprivation increases.

This project is focused on 50-80-year-olds living in high-deprivation areas: frequently those with most gain from preventive healthcare. Building on the research in our previous project to increase target group uptake, Appt will build tools to identify target groups and predict the best engagement strategy. Integrating new, accessible booking channels, co-designed with target groups, into their strategies, including:

  • Over-the-phone recall
  • Letter-based recall

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