Care Pathways

08.05.20

AI-driven physiotherapy app reduces pressure on NHS during Covid-19

Words provided by Eye catcher, editorially reviewed by National Health Executive

As the NHS continues to face significant demand and pressure amid the current coronavirus outbreak, a partnership between Healthshare and high-growth technology company EQL have worked to give millions of NHS patients with muscle and joint pain to be able to be triaged through a physiotherapy app using conversational artificial intelligence.

Announced today, the partnership will enable an additional one million people across Westminster, Oxfordshire and Hull to access Phio. An interactive web-based application, Phio combines pioneering technology with best-in-class clinical oversight to make the musculoskeletal referral process more efficient for both patients and clinicians.

Before Phio, the typical patient with musculoskeletal pain — for example, back pain — would first see a GP, who could refer them to a physiotherapy department, which could then arrange an appointment for the patient to attend a face-to-face assessment with a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, someone with musculoskeletal pain could wait up to four months for an assessment, at which exercises are prescribed. Making this process more efficient is essential, as early access to physiotherapy and advice expedites recovery, improving the patient’s short-term and long-term health outcomes.

Phio delivers digital-first physiotherapy triage for the NHS, covering all types of musculoskeletal pain. This removes the need for a GP appointment, capturing key information so that the patient’s first face-to-face appointment, if clinically appropriate, is with the musculoskeletal physiotherapist. Phio’s conversational artificial intelligence guides patients through an initial assessment, helping clinicians to separate patients into groups of those who need urgent help, those who can self-manage and those who would benefit from a face-to-face appointment. Healthshare, a community-based healthcare provider led by ex-NHS clinicians and working exclusively with the NHS, has responsibility for managing triage of NHS musculoskeletal patients across Westminster, Oxfordshire and Hull - the partnership with EQL transforms this into a digital-first experience, which is particularly pertinent during lockdown.

To contain the spread of coronavirus, it was announced that all non-essential face-to-face outpatient appointments would be postponed across the NHS, starting from the 20th March 2020 and effective for at least three months. During this time, Phio will play an important role in reducing GP appointments related to seeking referral to physiotherapy services. This takes considerable strain off primary care, as 30% of all GP appointments in England relate to musculoskeletal pain.

EQL’s partnership with Healthshare builds on similar partnerships, which will enable a total of 8.4 million patients to access Phio — equating to 12% of the UK population. The team is developing new partnerships, with the ambition that everyone in the UK — and beyond — will have access to Phio. EQL’s partnerships will transform physiotherapy during and after lockdown, with the contracts signed for a period of years.

iStock-512698489

Phio combines pioneering technology with best-in-class clinical oversight to make the musculoskeletal referral process more efficient for both patients and clinicians.
 

Jason Ward, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, EQL said: “We want to support patient pathways at a time of extreme pressure on the NHS. We believe that digital technology holds the key to supporting patients within their own homes.

“Since lockdown started, we’ve had a 96% completion rate of Phio triages and 100% of people who used the system said they would recommend it to family and friends. We’re proud that our partnership with Healthshare will enable an additional million people to access this support.”

Peter Grinbergs, Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder, EQL added: “As a physiotherapist myself, I know first-hand how debilitating musculoskeletal pain can be for patients.

“As well as the pain itself, individuals sometimes find that their mental health suffers in the face of longstanding discomfort.

“We created Phio with the vision of providing best-in-class, at-home triage. Our partnership with Healthshare is an exciting development in our quest for digital-first support — empowering patients to take control of their muscle and joint conditions, whilst alleviating pressure on the NHS at this very busy time.”

Nick McGrath, Joint Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Healthshare said: “At Healthshare, we focus on ‘real world’ innovations linked to improving user engagement and experience — ultimately delivering improved outcomes for our patients and value for our commissioners.

“The ability to successfully integrate AI technology at the front end of a patient pathway, via the Phio platform, further improves our integrated musculoskeletal and diagnostics offering. The adoption of Phio to support our highly successful Joint Pain Advisory Clinic model of care will allow patients to access our service 24/7 for advice, care and immediate self-management support.

“We are engaged with NHS England on supporting waiting list backlogs in Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Pain Management linked to the Covid-19 situation, using our virtual Joint Pain Advisory Clinic model of care — with the Phio platform acting as the triage engine — which is a very unique proposition.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS Confederation: Complacency must be avoided in lockdown easing

29/05/2020NHS Confederation: Complacency must be avoided in lockdown easing

Alongside welcoming in news of further easing of lockdown measures in England, NHS Confederation Chief Executive Niall Dickson also issued a star... more >
Supporting NHS trusts, employees and their families in remote working

28/05/2020Supporting NHS trusts, employees and their families in remote working

Words provided by Skillsoft, editorially reviewed by National Health Executive The shift to remote working has been sudden and dramatic for ... more >
RCGP: GP input will be vital to local level success

28/05/2020RCGP: GP input will be vital to local level success

As the UK government unveils its new NHS Test and Trace programme, the Chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Martin Marshall, outli... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research published in The BMJ. The study also found that, over eight years, the number of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes tripled. By 2025, it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes in the U... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >

health service focus

View all News