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Case study

English National Opera Helps Long Covid Patients Get Their Breath Back

Media and Entertainment


To help patients suffering from long Covid, English National Opera devised a groundbreaking form of singing therapy. Frustrated at only being able to reach a few patients, its team turned to us to find a way to scale up its delivery.


Our team worked pro bono to develop a digital process optimisation tool that eliminates manual work. Thanks to the collaboration, ENO has scaled the programme’s reach by up to 60 times to serve a maximum of 3,000 patients at a time.

The English National Opera (ENO) is the United Kingdom’s only full-time repertory opera company. Based at the prestigious London Coliseum, the ENO is the home of English-language opera.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the ENO put its singing talents to work helping patients diagnosed with long Covid recover their respiratory functions. In collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust teams, the ENO delivered the ENO Breathe Programme - a course of online singing therapy intended to target breathlessness. This was administered to patients who had been referred to the programme by the NHS, and was conducted by ENO singing specialists.
The data from the treatment programme could then be provided to NHS Trusts and Imperial College to feed into research into Covid recovery.
Thanks to our collaboration, ENO's singing therapy programme has been scaled up by 60 times to accommodate 3,000 long Covid patients.

Finding the scope to scale

The reach of the project was initially limited by legacy administration systems and manual work. Once referred by their NHS clinic and given a code for the programme, patients were required to proactively phone or email the practice to register. The ENO’s team of three would then have to manually allocate groups and classes.

The team were also solely reliant on Microsoft Excel to input, store, and process these highly sensitive datasets. All this friction meant that the team could only offer intervention to 50-100 patients at any given time.

To scale the programme and help more patients, the ENO resolved to find outside help.

Charting a course to inclusion

When the ENO were administering the ENO Breathe programme, our team was already assisting them with a separate CRM migration programme. Impressed by our team’s pragmatic ethos, quality and delivery speed, the client asked us to help them overcome the barriers to expanding ENO Breathe. After seeing the potentials of this treatment for Covid recovery, we offered our services pro bono to help expand it.

We commenced the project by hosting a virtual envisioning workshop. In this session, the ENO team clarified the ENO Breathe programme’s key objectives, anticipations and pain points. This exchange allowed our team to understand both the client’s widescreen priorities priorities and the smaller, more technical details of delivery.

Armed with this information, we alighted on a scrum-based way of working as the appropriate model for the project. All the elements were now in place to start development.

Less busywork, more therapy

Endava developed a digital process-optimisation tool that removes manual work for registrants and administrators alike.


A digital self-service portal allows patients to register directly for the programme without having to make contact with the ENO. The tool allows users to input their code, register their preferences and pick their own session times.


The software also makes the project a more productive source of useful data. After each patient has completed their course of treatment, they are automatically sent a survey, requesting information on their health and symptoms. The results are then shared with the NHS and Imperial College Healthcare researchers.


This collaboration has revolutionised the scope of the ENO Breathe programme. Freed from the need to manually process each element of customer data, the ENO team have been able to expand the programme’s reach by up to 60 times. ENO Breathe can now accommodate 3,000 patients, with ambitions to scale across the country.


This expansion means that more, higher quality data is made available to healthcare researchers in the fight against long Covid.


Endava is proud to have lent the organisational direction and technical capability to such a trailblazing, socially beneficial project.


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