Pilot paves the way for remote triaging of physiotherapy patients
“PhysioNow is a great example of how we can enable patients to access services from a device when and where they wish to. Covid-19 has pushed us all to think differently, and this project has demonstrated the level of impact that can be achieved in a short timeframe.” Abi Phillips, Head of Innovation – Economy Skills & Natural Resources Group, Welsh government
A clinically-led pilot project which delivered digital physiotherapy support during Covid-19 restrictions has had an overwhelmingly positive response from both patients and clinicians.
The Connect Health (Physio Now) chatbot-based triage app, built in partnership with EQL, was used to test the future potential for remotely triaging physiotherapy patients to the correct pathways, whether urgent or non-urgent.
The 16-week pilot was one of five to benefit from the Welsh government’s £150,000 Digital Solution Fund (DSF) launched to identify and test new products and services that could help the digital transformation of health and social care systems.
Connect Health, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated community musculoskeletal physiotherapy services, ran the project, working in collaboration with Digital Health & Care Wales (previously the NHS Wales Informatics Service).
Almost every Health Board in Wales was interested in testing PhysioNow, but two were chosen as pilot sites: Cwm Taf Morgannwg and Hywel Dda Health Boards.
Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the most reported illnesses in Wales.
The physiotherapy teams in the Health Boards worked closely with Connect Health to agree appropriate information governance processes, adapt current referral and triage processes, communicate the pilot to GP Clusters, and monitor PhysioNow’s compliance and accuracy.
Users could self-refer and were not bound by typical service referral routes or opening hours.
The PhysioNow pilot had 1029 patients who completed consultations, of which 22% provided anonymous feedback. This was overwhelmingly positive, with 81% of respondents stating that they would recommend the use of PhysioNow to friends and family.
Patients loved the ability to login and go through the symptoms checker at any time of day or night, which was much more convenient for them. Physiotherapists found the tool useful, and it gave physiotherapy leads across Wales an understanding of a digital enabled physio pathway, helping them understand where the biggest impact can made. To read more click here…
The results and key learnings from the pilot physiotherapy services will help shape future service design across Wales.
Abi Phillips, Head of Innovation – Economy Skills & Natural Resources Group, Welsh government said:
“PhysioNow is a great example of how we can enable patients to access services from a device when and where they wish to. Covid-19 has pushed us all to think differently, and this project has demonstrated the level of impact that can be achieved in a short timeframe.”
Future Care Capital has reported on a prevention of falls study.