Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Keir Philip

Title: Digital delivery and assessment of holistic interventions for breathlessness

Summary: During my PhD I have been leading a range of research projects exploring the delivery and assessment of holistic interventions for people with breathlessness. I started by investigating the impact of Singing for Lung Health on peoples' heart rates, how much oxygen they used, and other ‘physiological’ measures. The COVID pandemic required singing sessions move online, so I completed a small study exploring the differences between online and in person Singing for Lung Health. The findings from these first two projects were used to design a larger clinical trial comparing online Singing for Lung Health with usual care for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The intervention is delivered online and assessed using various methods, including actigraphy (advanced activity monitors). I am also analysing data from these monitors to explore if they could provide new ways for understanding people’s movement in real life, by analysing a large pre-existing data set. I have also been leading a large clinical trial of the English National Opera’s ‘ENO Breathe’ programme, which is a breathing and wellbeing programme for people with breathlessness due to long COVID. Lastly, I have conducted two qualitative studies to understand the experience of people with breathlessness in the UK and Uganda participating in singing/dance interventions.   

Biography: I am particularly interested in the intersection of the performing arts, medicine, and digital health. I previously worked as a dancer before training as a doctor and have always sought to combine these two interests by leading, and contributing to, a range of arts-in-health projects. While working on a rural South African multidrug resistant tuberculosis hospital ward, I set up and ran dance sessions for the patients. Observing the wide ranging biopsychosocial impacts the sessions had, inspired me to pursue a career as a clinical academic, conducting research to improve our understanding of the potential role and impacts of such activities. Additionally, I am interested in how holistic interventions can be delivered remotely and assessing the impact using fixed body sensors. I am currently in the final year of my PhD with supervisors based at Imperial College and UCL and will be returning to clinical practice as a Respiratory and General Internal Medicine Registrar in London later in the year.     

Supervisors: Prof Nicholas Hopkinson, Prof Michael Polkey, Dr Daisy Fancourt, Dr William Man.