Patients experiencing musculoskeletal pain or injuries will no longer need to see their GP for a referral to a Physiotherapist, thanks to a new online tool.
The new PhysioNow digital assessment tool will provide 24-hour access to management and advice for patients living in Merthyr, RCT and Bridgend who suffer with musculoskeletal pain.
Patients can complete a digital self-assessment any time, day or night in English or Welsh.
The assessment will then be reviewed by a qualified Physiotherapist who will decide on the next steps required to support the patient with their pain or injury.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board in partnership with Connect Health is one of only two health boards across Wales trialling the new tool, which will initially run for eight weeks.
PhysioNow was chosen as one of five digital health initiatives to receive funding as part of the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Digital Solutions Fund. A fund administered by the Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) programme, was set up as part of Wales’ COVID-19 response with the aim of piloting market-ready technology within NHS Wales environments, with potential for scale-up of technology that’s seen to be transformative.
Zoe Brewster, Physiotherapy Professional Manager from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen by the Welsh Government to trial the use PhysioNow in Wales. This online tool will bring huge benefits for our patients, who will gain fast, easy to access advice and assessment from the comfort of their own homes. It will also bring benefits to our team of physiotherapists, providing important information about a patient’s condition before they even set foot in the clinic and helping us to streamline our services and treat those patients most in need.”
Helen Northmore, DHEW Programme Manager, (a collaboration between Life Sciences Hub Wales and the NHS Wales Informatics Service), said:
“The Digital Health Ecosystem exists to make it easier and faster to adopt digital healthcare technologies in health and care across Wales, and the Digital Solutions Fund has enabled us to do pilot new technologies and products, to understand what the benefits and challenges are.
“A tool like PhysioNow will help a lot of patients on their road to recovery, without needing to visit their GP and will allow them to manage their injuries in their home or work environment. This fund has accelerated healthcare innovation in Wales and I am excited to see the results of the pilot.”
Each online assessment takes around 15 minutes to complete. Once a patient has completed the online assessment via PhysioNow, they will then be invited for a telephone, video or face-to-face appointment for further support and treatment or be signposted to self-management materials to continue to manage their injury or pain at home.
Anyone over the age of 18 living in RCT, Merthyr or Bridgend can access PhysioNow. A link is available on the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Website here: https://cwmtafmorgannwg.wales/services/physiotherapy-services/