Health providers investigate whether new tech and open data improves physical activity referrals
Five technology platforms have linked up with London health providers to test whether open data can support more patients through improved physical activity referrals.
London Sport are leading a project, funded by the Greater London Authority and Sport England, to learn how referral services can best use open data on local physical activity opportunities to make it easier for anyone in a referral role (e.g., link workers) to refer Londoners to the right physical activity or sport sessions for them.
Research by the University of Kent has previously identified a lack of confidence amongst link workers in discussing physical activity within consultations.
This prompted London Sport to produce and offer evidence-based training on physical activity for London-based link workers.
From delivering this link worker training, London Sport found that those who engage with service users, require up-to-date information on local, relevant activity opportunities, something that is currently very difficult to find.
London Sport conducted further research in December and January with link workers from nine referral services across London to understand their experiences of supporting service users into physical activity sessions.
From these findings, we identified several areas which could potentially be addressed using open data, and then provided an opportunity for interested technology providers to submit applications with their proposed solutions.
Five technology platforms (full list below) have received funding and will be developing and testing their solutions with referral services in London until the end of May.
It is hoped that this will determine whether open data feeds that have relevant, up to date, physical activity opportunities, easily filterable by a link worker or service user, increase the quality and quantity of physical activity referrals.
Digital Coproduction + Waltham Forest Primary Care Network
Digital Coproduction are testing the logistics behind using open data feeds from two different open data standards (OpenActive and Open Referral), along with testing how data such as the contact details of the physical activity provider can be used to create a compelling and welcoming referral.
Digital Coproduction are working with the Central Walthamstow Primary Care Network (PCN), with the ambition to roll it out across the other PCNs in Waltham Forest.
Elemental + Enable Leisure & Culture Wandsworth
Elemental are testing how easy it is to integrate an open data feed into their system and display trusted opportunities to link workers, along with understanding which filters are most effective in matching the needs of a service user with the opportunities available.
Elemental are working with Enable Leisure & Culture in Wandsworth to test their solutions.
Health Place + Westminster
Health Place are developing a quiz which can help link workers match the needs of their service users to the key characteristics of the local opportunities available, along with an AI-enabled conversation module that can answer questions and escalate to a link worker if required.
Health Place are working with several stakeholders in Westminster, including four PCNs, along with rolling out the solution across North West London.
Healum + Bromley by Bow Centre
Healum are testing how location data can be integrated with other services such as Google Maps to provide service users with directions to the physical activity, along with testing how data such as the contact details of the physical activity provider can be used to create a compelling and welcoming referral.
Healum are working with the Bromley by Bow Centre to test their solutions.
Playwaze + Barking and Dagenham / East London NHS Foundation Trust
Playwaze are looking at how taster videos created by the physical activity providers can be uploaded into an open data feed and then help bring the experience of the session alive for link workers and service users.
Playwaze are working with the Healthy Lifestyles team in Barking and Dagenham and the East London NHS Foundation Trust in Tower Hamlets to test their solution.