2021 Review: ReferAll's Top 10 most viewed blog posts

by author Rachel Stokes on January 13, 2022
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In a similar vein to its predecessor, 2021 was a challenging year that did not lift us as far from COVID-19 as we had hoped. As motivation for the new year, we're taking a look at our most popular blog posts from the past year to see what optimism and trends we can carry into 2022.

Let's now take a look at the 10 most popular posts, read by you, our supporters:

10. Stu’s Views: Overcoming challenges presented by COVID-19

As expected, COVID-19 featured heavily in our blog posts during 2021. Our thinking shifted to thought leadership about data collection, monitoring and training for the leisure & wellbeing industry delivering exercise referral and wellbeing schemes. Back in May 2021, Stuart Stokes, Founder and Director at ReferAll revealed his thoughts in his popular 'Stu's Views' blog, based on his extensive knowledge and experience, providing practical direction for service providers.

"Currently, our sector tends to segregate our programming based on conditions. I wonder if there is opportunity for providers to combine programmes – or the delivery of programmes – to overcome this hurdle in the short term?"

Using ReferAll, providers were able to collect data and adapt their services quickly in the face of pandemic.

Read the full blog post here: Stu's Views: Overcoming challenges presented by COVID-19

9. Introducing MyReferAll

Bookings became a theme in April for most pubs, bars and restaurants when they reopened on 12th April, requiring everybody to sign in. Leisure facilities already had this process in place but upgraded it to all customers, rather than allowing pay & play tickets. MyReferAll, ultimate all-new booking solution was launched.

Digital offers were set to form part of an ongoing 360˚ offering for many operators reopening – it means it became increasingly vital for exercise on referral providers to have a flexible online bookings solution.

As well as online bookings, MyReferAll was developed to allow clients to securely complete specialist questionnaires used by physical activity, weight management, smoking cessation, social prescribing, chronic disease management and mental health services.  We included questionnaire outcomes for easy reporting in your ReferAll platform, to minimise the follow-up of questionnaire data.

Read the full blog post here: Introducing MyReferAll

8. The EOR COVID bottleneck

Stu's View's blog is back. Back in February during the lockdown #3, providers were challenged to start planning for a possible reopening when lockdown restrictions eased. 

A COVID bottleneck was on the horizon, but Stu discussed the undeniable capacity issues providers would face and the possible solutions.

Read the full blog post here: The EOR COVID bottleneck

7. ReferAll collaborates with EXi to offer customers online exercise delivery solution

A late contender in the top 10 - in December we were pleased to announce a new partnership with the leading, NHS-approved, certified medical device (UKCA, CE) and app EXi. This latest ReferAll integration means our customers are able to invite their clients to create an EXi membership from within the ReferAll platform, connecting them to EXi’s personalised, digital exercise programmes. 

"We’re excited to offer EXi through ReferAll and believe this is a brilliant opportunity to change how we deliver support with prescribed exercise, allowing professionals to easily provide tailored support to their EOR participants through EXi’s personalised exercise prescription,” says Grace McNamara, CEO of EXi.

As a result of the partnership integration, our customers can take advantage of an exclusive offer for access to EXi Premium features by registering their interest before 14/01/22.

Read the full blog post here: ReferAll collaborates with EXi to offer customers online exercise delivery solution

6. Guest blog: Get savvy - you won't regret it

Out of lockdown and on our way to creating a new kind of 'normal' August welcomed Dr Nikita Rowley, CPsychol to our growing list of Guest Blogs. She has a BSc Sport Psychology, MSc Health Psychology degree and completed a PhD which reviewed exercise referral data from ReferAll’s National Referral Database.

Dr. Rowley discussed how efficiently recording and monitoring data will greatly help the case for funding post pandemic. From experience, Nikita knows what exercise referral schemes (ERSs) achieve is nothing short of miraculous. 

"Data collection is nothing short of vital for ERSs and wellbeing services. And it’s not just data collection that’s important, but good data collection," says Nikita. 

Learn Nikita's recipe for good data collection and why reviewing your data regularly is a vital part of the process.

Read the full blog post here: Guest blog: Get savvy - you won't regret it

5. Guest blog: Long-COVID and how clubs are allocating members to the right service pathways

Coming in at number 5, there were at last signs of reopening and recovery on the horizon. We were delighted to have industry expert Mel Spooner, Managing Director of CAWS® Training for our June Guest Blog. The prevalence of Long-COVID was established, leaving people with debilitating conditions. This is what led Dr Colin Robertson and Mel to create CAWS® flagship training programme, Rebuild™ – teaching our industry to rehabilitate those recovering from acute COVID-19.

ReferAll's & CAWS® customers began to request product development for CAWS® Long-COVID specific questionnaires. How could our scheme admins out there record client responses and fitness assessments at various points throughout the 48 week programme In ReferAll? We set our product team to work with Mel and our development team built the specific questionnaires, complete with outcome reports data.

To hear what Hannah Drew, Health & Wellbeing Officer Community Services at Stroud District Council has to say about the benefits of our new partnership read the full article here: Guest blog: Long-COVID and how clubs are allocating members to the right service pathways

4. Take a fresh look at your referral pathway

It's often easier to continue doing things the way you’ve always done. However, back in February this popular blog post provided support and advice for providers to take a fresh look at their referral pathway. We offer our thoughts about the benefits of adapting your offering, perhaps to include self-referrals or providing a blended approach to service delivery. Find out how reviewing your pathway could potentially save hours of administration time, as well as giving your referral rate a much-needed boost in these challenging times.

Read the full blog post here: Take a fresh look at your referral pathway

3. What change can the new Office for Health Promotion effect?

Making it to number 3 is the 3rd Stu's Views in our top 10! Stu took us through how the aims and ambitions of the new Office, helping drive people to improve their diet, reduce their alcohol intake and take more physical activity, the bedrock of many of the services our customers run.

Stu's view was hopeful that good works will come from this new Government Office, however he was adamant the plethora of great work, joined-up thinking and large datasets currently available should not stay hidden behind the doors of the leisure industry. He urged service providers to stand tall and shout loud about our industry's successes.

With strong evidence and the support of ukactive and CIMPSA, health-related programs have an opportunity to turn a portion of funding into services.

Read the full blog post here: What change can the new Office for Health Promotion effect?

2. The Public Health Commissioner's view

Missing out on the top spot, we are delighted to see our readers were keen to understand how ReferAll can help public health commissioners. A big thank you to Phil Lown, Partnership Programme Manager at Public Health Suffolk for sharing the challenges he faced as a commissioner of exercise referral services and why he chose ReferAll to be their data software platform across Suffolk. 

Lown explains: ‘We were looking for a solution that allowed us to gather consistent data across a wide variety of sites/inputs, so we could dependably evaluate outputs. We have 15 sites run by a mix of trusts, leisure operators and schools, so we needed a customised solution to understand the effectiveness of EOR in the county and how to bring it closer to primary care.’

Read Phil's insightful blog to discover the benefits he shared from a commissioners view: The Public Health Commissioner's view

1.  ReferAll works alongside Places Leisure and CAWS® to help launch COVID-19 and Long-COVID Rehabilitation programme

'Drum roll please'...the moment you have all been waiting for. Our top story highlights the collaborative partnership of Places Leisure, CAWS® and ReferAll. It all started way back in 2021 (with several head scratching Teams meetings!) we were delighted to post this inspiring blog in September. To find out what Sarah Roberts, Head of Fitness at Places Leisure revealed in this amazing story, read the full blog post here: ReferAll works alongside Places Leisure and CAWS® to help launch COVID-19 and Long-COVID Rehabilitation programme

Once again, thank you for your ongoing support.

From all the team at ReferAll, wishing you a happy and healthy 2022! 


Rachel Stokes | Marketing Outreach Lead 

Topics: Exercise Referral, News, COVID-19, Public Health, Funding, Evaluation, Data Collection