Gary Howe (Connect Health), Zoe Brewster (CTMUHB) and John Davies (HDUHB)
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board, in partnership with Welsh Government, Life Sciences Hub Wales, EQL and PhysioSpace Cardiff
PhysioNow is a clinically led chat-bot providing an agile and remote triage and support tool for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Clinically developed and constantly reviewed sophisticated algorithms guide users to the appropriate pathway, enabling the right care, at the right time, from the right person.
Users can remotely access an initial assessment 24/7 in multiple languages from anywhere. Connect Health use PhysioNow nationally in England and worked with Wales Government and Life Sciences to deliver PhysioNow to over 1000 patients in two Health Boards in Wales. The results indicate up to £1 million per annum can be saved across Wales.
Our partnership aimed to deliver a digital solution to allow MSK conditions to continue to be managed throughout Covid. We wanted to provide high quality, evidence-based assessment for MSK patients during the pandemic and beyond.
As part of this work, we wanted to assess the positive impact PhysioNow could have on:
- The wider healthcare system
Problems we aimed to address:
Owing to Covid there have been delays to patients accessing services creating a significant accumulation in demand for MSK services.
By delivering and implementing tools such as PhysioNow, there is a significant opportunity to help and support colleagues in general practice and secondary care, to the betterment of patients.
We had some initial challenges as operational and clinical staff in both Health Boards were redeployed to battle Covid based activities. Once these pressures began to ease, we were able to use PhysioNow and achieve some of the fantastic results evidenced below.
81% of respondents would recommend PhysioNow to their friends and family. Some of the key words repeatedly used by patients are below. The bar graph shows some of the reasons why so many patients loved using PhysioNow.
The wider healthcare system:
The introduction of PhysioNow into an average sized Health Board with standard physiotherapy activity has the potential to create efficiency and productivity improvements of over £300,000 per annum. If implemented across Wales, the benefit would reach well over £1 million per year.
34% of patients completed PhysioNow outside 09:00-17:00 including weekends and Bank holidays when typically, MSK physiotherapy appointments are unavailable.
This ability to provide around the clock assessment and guidance to patients has numerous benefits:
- No need to sacrifice work or family time to attend appointments
- Patients benefit from a safety perspective as well as convenience.
Feedback from Key Stakeholders:
PhysioNow is constantly evolving, and the ‘self-management’ outcome is one such area Connect Health are developing extensively and is ready for imminent roll-out. This will empower patients to manage their conditions without the need to directly interact with services where appropriate. A comprehensive suite of resources will be provided to guide patients on the road to recovery and be monitored every step of the way.
The technology underpinning PhysioNow is constantly advancing and a move to a more interactional chatbot experience is also due for forthcoming roll-out. This will enhance the patient experience whilst ensuring PhysioNow remains at the cutting edge of digital technology.
Our Exemplar Experience:
We really value the opportunity to showcase our work as a Bevan Exemplar. We all would love to continue to receive the support of the Commission for any future adoption and spread.
For additional information on our project, you can read a comprehensive 40-page report or a shorter 6-page summary from the links below.