DigitalHealth.London Spotlight: Kidney Beam

Every week, we shine a spotlight on one (or more) of our DigitalHealth.London companies, founders, or NHS fellows. Today, to commemorate World Kidney Day, we are excited to feature our current DigitalHealth.London Accelerator company Kidney Beam.

What is the problem you are trying to solve and why is it important?

There are 7.2 million people in the UK living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which is more than 10% of the entire population, costing the UK economy £7 billion a year. An estimated 28% of CKD patients are considered to be physically inactive, increasing to 44% in end-stage kidney disease patients. There is significant evidence that exercise rehabilitation for people with kidney disease can lead to a 21% delay in disease progression, a 33% reduction in mortality risk and could save healthcare £268m/year. Despite this, kidney lifestyle management is currently fragmented and not part of routine care. This is because it is currently expensive to deliver face-to-face and there is insufficient skilled workforce or resources to deliver it.

What is the solution you have developed and how can it help with the problem?

Kidney Beam is a clinically-proven, online exercise, education and well-being platform developed for people living with CKD. Created in partnership with King’s College Hospital London, the platform offers live and on-demand classes and programmes led by physiotherapists and exercise professionals either trained in or living with CKD.

It provides:

  • Evidence-based kidney-specific content
  • Professional and peer support
  • A data-driven, personalised experience
  • Interoperability with platform partners
  • 20 years of world-leading scientific IP
  • A virtual solution that delivers comparable outcomes to in-person care
What is the history of your company?

Kidney Beam was born out of a collaboration between Beam, a technology platform designed to engage people with chronic health conditions in exercise, and King’s College Hospital. The product was launched in May 2020 as a rapid response to COVID-19.

The original co-founders of Beam, Katie Bell (a serial tech entrepreneur) and Pamela Scarborough (a former NHS physiotherapist), were joined by Dr Sharlene Greenwood (Consultant Physiotherapist at King’s College Hospital, President of The UK Kidney Association and NHS Topol Digital Fellow) to lead their expansion to kidney disease.

What successes have you had so far from successful pilots/trials/contracts?

Kidney Beam has been rolled out across England via the 8 renal networks.  They have completed a multi-centre randomised controlled trial of 340 participants which was recently published in the prestigious Lancet Digital Health journal and showed that Kidney Beam participants had;

  • Significantly improved Kidney Disease Quality of Life Score
  • Significantly improved Patient Activation Measure
  • Significantly improved physical function as measured by the 60 sec sit to stand test
  • 93% and 98% probability of being cost-effective at £20K and £30K per QALY.

Overall, the study showed that the Kidney BEAM physical activity platform is an efficacious digital health intervention to improve mental health-related quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease. These findings could facilitate the incorporation of remote digital health interventions into clinical practice and offer a potential intervention worthy of investigation in other chronic conditions.

Kidney Beam is working with some of the leading Kidney Charities, including Kidney Research UK, the National Kidney Federation, Kidney Care UK, the UK Kidney Association and Kidney Wales.  They also have trial sites in Ireland, USA and Canada.

What are your future goals? What does success look like?

The NHSE Renal Clinical Reference Group are currently working on guidelines for the provision of exercise and rehabilitation, to make this routine care in Renal Units across the country.  Kidney Beam will be well placed to deliver the exercise and rehabilitation for the Renal units in a cost-effective and evidence-based manner and is therefore looking to support the Renal Units in delivering this care.

As well as increasing the content that is on the programme, Kidney Beam is also looking at further international expansion and in particular hopes to set up a US research study in collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation.

How has your time on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator helped you in achieving these?

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator has afforded us lots of new learnings around commercialising a product and effectively working with the NHS to deliver health tech products. Having an NHS navigator has allowed us to build a relationship with a mentor who has helped us with introductions and great advice.

Do you have any advice for aspiring digital health companies?

Start collecting clinical evidence as soon as possible and make sure to link with a health economist so that you are in a position with the evidence base for your product.

Any asks for the audience?

We are looking for investment partners to help us scale and reach commissioning, as well as develop and commercialise the product. We are looking for healthcare partners to help us get Kidney Beam into the hands of as many people as possible.

Kidney Beam is currently in Cohort 7 of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme is funded by the UK Government via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It is delivered by the Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London in partnership with the Office of Life Sciences, CW+, Medicity, NHS England, the Mayor of London and the Levelling Up Fund.

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