Surgery Hero (previously Sapien Health)

NHS problem

There is a widespread misconception that surgery begins on the day of the operation. In reality, the operation is only half the battle, everything we do before and after plays a critical role in the success of the surgery. Patients are arriving for surgery mentally and physically unfit, resulting in avoidable complications, increased costs, worse health outcomes and a longer road to recovery. One in three patients experience post-operative complications, half of which are avoidable with better preparation.

Burnout among clinicians is currently at record levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With over five million people on the waiting list for surgery, NHSE/I has launched multiple initiatives to address the backlog. Their aim is to reduce workforce burden through digitisation of the perioperative pathway and implementation of solutions supporting deconditioned patients.

Additionally, billions are wasted each year on avoidable costs related to surgery, with unplanned cancellations costing £400 million per year and 29% of admitted patients at nutritional risk, average costs are 60% higher in these patients. Moreover, wound complications cost £980 million per year. By working with patients to address their modifiable risk factors, we can have a dramatic impact on postoperative complications. For example, quitting smoking four weeks before surgery can reduce complications by 19%.

The solution

Surgery Hero is a Digital Clinic for Surgery that helps people prepare their mind and body for surgery through sustainable lifestyle changes. Their perioperative programme supports patients from the decision to operate through to recovery. The service combines expert human care, individually-tailored content and cutting-edge tech to empower people to take control of their health so they can conquer their surgery. The company was founded in 2020 in London by Adam Robinson, Luke Eastwood, Dr Robbie Huddleston and Dr Matthew Beatty, with the mission to help people everywhere on their journey to a healthier life.


10 million patients undergo elective surgery in the UK each year. With Surgery Hero, patients acquire the knowledge, confidence and skills to better manage their own health, thereby reducing reliance on health services. This approach correlates closely with the NHS Long Term Plan to empower patient self-management. By supporting self-management, Surgery Hero reduces the burden of work on NHS clinicians and allows for the reallocation of resources to those patients most in need.

Surgery Hero has demonstrated a 12-point average increase in Patient Activation (PAM) from baseline to programme completion with its existing study at NHS South Tees Hospital. Other NHS – Surgery Hero outcomes / key metrics include:

↑ 12 Points Patient Activation Measure

↑ 20% Physical Activity Score

↑ 10% Diet Score

↑ 20% Sleep Quality Score

↑ 10% Sleep Duration

Net Promoter Score: 90/100 & Completion Rate: 86%