Digital and advancing technology

An evaluation of virtual physiotherapy as an alternative to in-person treatment.

Until recently, virtual physiotherapy services represented the minority of support offered by the private and public healthcare sectors. The Covid-19 outbreak created a sudden need for digital health services to be rolled out more widely.

Ascenti wanted to use its dataset of 27,000+ virtual appointments to see how results for online physiotherapy compared with those for in-clinic care and to gather views from patients and clinicians to enable further improvement.

Using digital technology and user-centred design to develop a physiotherapy self-referral service for back pain

14 million people in England use GP online services. Harnessing digital technology in primary care to develop a physiotherapy self-referral service provides an opportunity to make physiotherapists the first point of contact for patients suffering back pain, whilst enabling service-users to make decisions about how they wish to receive care. A previous self-referral model of telephone and email access yielded low uptake and made inefficient use of administration resources. The aim of this 'proof of concept' project was to explore if a digital physiotherapy self-referral service is safe and acceptable to patients with back pain.

Getting the Know-How: The Feasibility of Delivering a Digital Self-Management Programme for Axial Spondyloarthritis

Despite recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the management of Axial Spondyloarthritis (AS), adherence to exercise and self-management education is reported to be variable. The Axial Spondyloarthritis Know-How (ASK) self-management programme offers service-users a single attendance exercise and education workshop supported by a self-management digital toolkit. The digital toolkit consists of a short educational film and self-assessment tool prior to attendance and an interactive self-management handbook to support health behaviour change following attendance. The feasibility of delivering a digital self-management programme for adults with AS was explored prior to implementation.

Early detection of post-operative pulmonary complications such as pneumonia using physiotherapy-led lung ultrasound: A case study

Lung ultrasound (LUS) has been shown to have higher diagnostic accuracy (95% sensitivity and 95% specificity) in the detection of pneumonia in patients with respiratory symptoms when compared to chest radiograph (CXR) (49% sensitivity and 92% specificity). Physiotherapists trained in LUS could use this diagnostic technique to monitor patients for pneumonia especially when they begin to show signs of post-operative pulmonary complications (PPC).

The use of a standardised outcome measure within the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Services across a Trust in Staffordshire

Musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy teams within Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) historically used a variety of outcome measures including the EuroQol (EQ-5D-5L) alongside condition specific PROMS and a patient experience-reported experience measure, in line with Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) recommendations. However, teams used different outcome measures and data collection, inputting and analysis methods varied considerably.

In 2017, the MSK Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ) was introduced and a data inputting and analysis calculator was developed following a consensus group exercise with the clinical and operational leads of MSK physiotherapy teams to facilitate the implementation of the MSK-HQ.

Trial of diagnostic ultrasound in the orthopaedic setting

Historically, provision of MSK Ultrasound diagnostics has been via a referral to Radiology. However, there is increasing evidence that assessment, investigation and initiating treatment at the initial appointment is shown to be cost-effective, increasing patient satisfaction. Utilising this approach also reduces repeated hospital visits for further diagnostics and appointment times for results. The aim of using Point of Care (POC) ultrasound is to enhance the patient experience through instant access to diagnosis, timely implementation of most appropriate clinical pathway and achievement of the optimal outcome in the shortest possible time.

This study aims to investigate the benefits of point of care (POC) and schedule ultrasound clinics using a proof of concepts approach in the orthopaedic setting.

The digital future of physiotherapy

The Five Year Forward View report1 highlighted the need to take advantage of opportunities technology offers patients. 81% of UK Adults (91% 18-44) have touch screen smart phones with the majority (89%) 4G enabled.

Our service initiative utilises App and web based technology to provide patients with a credible, evidence based source of education and advice on musculoskeletal and mental health issues. Our aims:

  • Ability to complete visual triage assessments via web and App based solutions, enabling enhanced remote assessments and treatment.
  • To offer various mediums for patients to gain knowledge, fitting their learning styles. Through provision of evidence-based information on different platforms including; website, webinars, podcasts, blogs and an app.

This special interest abstract is to share our innovations with the wider physiotherapy community offering alternative ways of delivering services in the 21st century.

Delivering self-management for low back pain via a digital solution in primary care

Most low back pain (LBP) does not need specific or specialist treatment and will often resolve if people follow simple evidence-based advice. Access to this advice is inconsistent with people often self-managing via untrusted resources online. Using digital technology to provide immediate day-by-day support whilst connecting people to their local MSK pathway and support services, has the potential to deliver trusted evidence-based advice in a consistent and standardised way. We are introducing a self-management solution (getUBetter) into the routine care of patients with LBP. Implementation should lead to quicker recovery, better outcomes, and a reduction in overall healthcare spend.

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