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We are pleased introduce our digital platform KOKU which has been developed by The University of Manchester in collaboration with a number of strategic partners. KOKU is a digital healthy ageing platform (downloadable as a tablet-based App) that focuses on preventing falls and physical decline in older people, using personalised and progressive strength and balance exercises. Embedded health literacy games raise awareness of best practices to improve bone health, home safety, diet and hydration.
“We were delighted to gain both NHS Digital approval and a high ORCHA rating that demonstrates the strength of evidence and that it is safe, secure and clinically assured. But most rewarding is the improvements in health that we are hearing from our older users”
Emma Stanmore, Director of KOKU Health, Reader in the School of Health Sciences, Deputy Director of the Health Ageing Research Group (HARG) at the University of Manchester:
The following clip explains what KOKU is and how it is used. This app is the product of extensive research, with input from numerous partners in academia, healthcare, industry and the public who have been involved in the co-development and co-design of the app. KOKU has been design by older people for older people.
KOKU was released to assist with COVID-19 in May 2020. There is now an increased need in the COVID-19 aftermath due to long-term-covid, deconditioning and self-isolation which has led to greater risk of falls, especially for older age groups. Falls are the leading cause of common serious injury in older people, they account for 50% of hospital admission for injury and have significant cost implications for the NHS – however this problem can be avoided.
Evidence shows that strength and balance exercises, like those in the KOKU app, can help prevent falls without the need for specialist input from a healthcare professional. The current implementation issues of such resources are due to not following the best evidence correctly, poor adoption and engagement by users and limited information on tracking progress and usage of such resources.
Our aim with KOKU is to increase engagement with users through personalised and progressive exercise plans and gamified health literacy modules that increase awareness and education. The team have also taken numerous steps to bridge the digital divide and make the adoption process easier, by making resources available and accessible where possible.
The following quotes illustrate some of the user feedback we received on ease of use, app usefulness and attitude/ intention to use the app:
“For a novice like me it was clear to understand…no jargon…..”
“Able to walk with greater ease & confidence, ‘legs stronger’, able to go up/down stairs more easily”
“Perked up after exercise’ ‘more motivated to be active”
“Exercise in your own home at a time that suits you’ ‘It was very informative…..it spoke to you….you could see exactly what was on the screen….knew what to do”
“I think you have an amazing programme, we have been proud to be able to use it and recommend it”
Our KOKU app has high usability, is user friendly, is NHS Digital compliant and has been awarded an 84% ORCHA rating. It has been translated into a number of different languages and it is downloadable in both iOS and Android formats.
Currently we are conducting an implementation evaluation of KOKU in the Tameside Borough of Greater Manchester, with input from NIHR ARC-GM and HARG teams at the UoM. Please check out the links below for further information on KOKU.