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EPCA2020 person centred-care award winner – Moving Medicine

An initiative to promote physical activity to support patients.

Moving Medicine is an innovative online tool designed for healthcare professionals to promote and support their patients to get more active. It was awarded the person-centred care award at the Royal College of Physicians’ Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2020.

Physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 UK deaths; up to 40% of long-term conditions could be prevented if everyone met the UK chief medical officers’ physical activity recommendations.

Inactive individuals are at high risk of developing long-term health conditions and subsequently becoming increasingly inactive. Healthcare settings provide a unique opportunity to support understanding, create awareness and greater engagement in physical activity among some of the least active, highest risk members of our population. 

'Our project aim was to equip healthcare workers with increased knowledge, skills and communication techniques to promote increased physical activity through behaviour change.'

In recognition of this problem, in September 2017 the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine received initial funding from Sport England through Public Health England as part of their ‘moving healthcare professionals’ agenda.

We realised that many clinicians lack the knowledge, skills and confidence to integrate physical activity  behaviour  change, and the routine integration of interventions is poorly supported by healthcare systems.  We believe that frequent, time-sensitive, high-quality, person-centred conversations provide the key tool to influence this change. Millions of conversations happen every day across the NHS. By positively skewing each of these to empower people to lead active lives, the potential for fundamental system change is huge.

Our project aim was to equip healthcare workers with increased knowledge, skills and communication techniques to promote increased physical activity through behaviour change.

The consultation guides were developed using a knowledge-into-action framework comprising:

  1. Knowledge creation: Synthesising the available evidence relevant to physical activity in each disease area:
    • Narrative review of published quantitative and qualitative literature.
    • Presentation to and appraisal of review by an external evaluation panel of academic physical activity experts.
    • Disease-specific workshops to understand the relevance of the literature to clinical practice. Workshops included representation from consultants, specialist nurses, allied healthcare professionals (AHPs), GPs, patients, charitable stakeholders and medical royal colleges.
  2. Action cycle: Developing a mechanism to unlock the wide-reaching evidence base for all healthcare practitioners:
    • A preparatory phase and workshops with clinicians and patients
    • Engagement with a design company to develop the design and IT capability to support an open-access online resource
    • A Delphi study engaging a purposively sampled heterogenous group of experts and clinical staff helped refine the tool to directly support the demands of clinical practice
    • A comprehensive behavioural framework analysis laying the foundations of the resource in sound behavioural change theory, and providing a detailed coding framework to inform future evaluation.

The website was launched by the health secretary Matt Hancock on 16  October 2018 at the 7th  International Society for Physical Activity  and Health Congress in London.

The initiative can be used in any clinical setting by any healthcare worker. Our online resource has recently been made fully accessible and has grown to include the active conversations and the active hospital toolkit streams alongside the ever-expanding prescribing movement resources. The consultation guides now include additional adult conditions as well as guides for children and young people living with long-term conditions. The individual resources evidence will be updated every 3 years and the evaluation process is ongoing.

We have been invited to present our work at several national and international conferences and have become an international resource which, alongside an educational component, has made the initiative sustainable.

An integral part of the project was that we wanted this to be an example of a truly multisystem collaborative project. The success and importance of the initiative is evidenced by the number of those involved who gave their time and knowledge freely to work on the development of the resource and this award belongs to every contributor. The now over 600 contributors (at time of award application this figure was 400) represent the real strength of the initiative; healthcare professionals, including but not limited to, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists and researchers have all been involved. The project was further strengthened by stakeholder contributions from the relevant medical colleges, public, private and charity sector organisations.

And finally, the project to help change patient behaviour was developed with the contribution of those with lived experience of the condition (expert patients) who formed a key proponent of the development team.

This award is so important to us in that the concept and process of our resource we feel truly represents ‘person-centred care’.

Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2021

The EPCA 2021 will be opening in autumn 2020 and we’ll be introducing an additional category for work linked to COVID-19.