Surgery Hero (previously Sapien Health)

Surgery Hero is creating a new standard of surgical care and is on a mission to help 100 million people have a better surgery experience.

By using evidence-based, clinically-backed behavioural change psychology, accredited health coaches give patients the chance to influence their own surgical outcomes.

For healthcare providers, Surgery Hero is ensuring lower costs and reduced rates of readmission. Employers in the UK and US can hope to see a faster return to work rate and insurers can expect a reduced cost of claims.

Check out this poster case study with additional information about what Surgery Hero achieved during their time on the Accelerator programme.

NHS problem

Surgery doesn’t begin on the day of the operation. Patients are arriving for surgery physically and mentally unfit, resulting in avoidable complications, increased costs, worse health outcomes and a longer road to recovery. One in three patients experiences post-operative complications, half of which are avoidable with better preparation.

Billions of pounds are wasted each year on avoidable costs related to surgery. Day of surgery cancellations cost the NHS £400M per year, longer hospital stays cost £424 per additional bed-day and post-op complications cost the NHS an additional £7.2bn per annum. Wound complications alone equate to £980M for the NHS per year. Data points from the UK support that 5–21% of patients will experience at least one serious complication after surgery (procedure dependent) and that complications have been linked to a two- to four-fold increase in the length of hospital stay.

The solution

Surgery Hero is the home of the preparation and recovery experts. Their perioperative programme supports patients from the decision to operate, all the way 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 average person in the UK will undergo four to six surgical procedures during their lifetime. 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’s 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 recent outcomes include:

NHS South Tees Trust | Project Lead: Professor Gerard Danjoux

  • A 2-day average reduction in LOS (1-day median)
  • Cost saving of £273 per patient
  • 3% post-op complication rate (requiring pharmacological intervention)
  • 86% perioperative programme completion rate
  • Average increase of 10 points in patient health activation score (PAM)

Cheshire and Merseyside ICS | Project Lead: Professor Rowan Pritchard Jones

  • 5-days average reduction in LOS (1-day median)
  • 65% reduction in post-op complications (6% vs 17% control group)
  • 0% Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) (vs 5% control group)

NHS Sherwood Forest Trust | Project Lead: Dr Rebecca Barker

  • Average increase of 7 points in PAM
  • 81% of patients had a higher PAM on Exit compared to Entry
  • Improvement in self-rated physical fitness (+5%) and sleep quality (+10%)