The NHS knows that when it comes to health, investment in preventative programmes can sometimes be more cost-effective than actual treatment. That's why the organisation has begun exploring a scheme that will reward members of the public with discounts on shopping, fitness gear and gym memberships if they demonstrate a more active lifestyle via an app.
Members of the public don't have many official apps from which to choose from, but today Public Health England (PHS) announced the launch of "Active 10," an app that seeks to get the "6.3 million adults who do not currently manage a brisk 10 minute walk per month" up and out of the house.
The idea is to get app users to incorporate 10 minute brisk walks into their day. PHE says that it's the first app to measure how many chunks of ten minutes -- known as Active 10s -- are achieved each day. Should the user manage at least one active walk, the app can help them set additional goals that will build towards the 150 minutes a week of exercise recommended by the UK's Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
One in every six UK deaths can be attributed to inactivity, which ultimately costs the NHS over £900 million each year. With evidence suggesting that at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day reduces the risk of early death by 15%, the organisation is keen to reduce the costs associated with diabetes, cancer, heart disease and strokes. Plus, there's the added bonus that exercise can help improve mental health.
Sure, there are plenty of apps that promote an active lifestyle, but Active 10 has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Already, GPs across the country are recommending it to their own patients as a tool to help them manage their existing ailments. With additional pressure from the government to better manage its finances, the NHS is embracing a digital strategy to keep people out of its practices and hospitals.