Dr Carey McClellan CEO and Clinical Director of Accelerator company and SME of the Week getUBetter, shares an update on the company’s delivery of musculoskeletal (MSK) pathways across South West London Health and Care Partnership and how they have helped during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery.
getUBetter is incredibly proud to be one of the few SMEs on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme that is based outside London but is making an impact to the health and wellbeing of people in the greater London area. We are based in the ever-expanding tech city of Bristol. I am a physiotherapist and CEO at getUBetter, but I am only one of a growing team of clinicians (physiotherapists and doctors), developers, digital health specialists and transformational change experts. Our vision is to transform the way clinicians and health systems deliver MSK self-management to their population.
getUBetter delivers personalised recovery and prevention self-management for common MSK conditions and injuries including back, back and leg, knee, neck, and shoulder pain. The mobile platform provides self-management support that helps patients to trust their recovery and therefore utilise less healthcare resource. It is made available to the whole population and can be provided wherever a patient interacts with the system e.g. primary care, occupational health, urgent care or physio.
Each element of a CCG’s local MSK pathways is configured in the platform and then integrated into the health system. We are not just about triage or exercise prescription but a whole pathway approach which includes triage, recovery, referral, rehab, prevention and reoccurrence management. We connect patients when needed to their local treatment options (such as physiotherapy), healthcare providers (such as aGP/First Contact Practitioners or an emergency department) or local services (such as rehab programs or mental wellbeing services).
By supporting people using evidence-based digital tools, we give people the knowledge, skills and confidence to safely self-manage but also automate referrals for treatment appropriately. People can either self-refer for a condition or it can be prescribed during a virtual or face to face consultation.
getUBetter has been evaluated at level 3a of the NICE Digital Health Technology (DHT) Evaluation Framework and independent economic evaluation demonstrates a cost saving per CCG of up to £1,960,000 for back pain alone.
The impact of COVID-19
The last year, dominated by COVID-19, has caused significant upheaval to the traditional way MSK pathways are delivered and has created huge challenges in keeping MSK patients safe and supported. Right now, there has never been a more important time to provide effective and proven MSK self-management support to patients. I wanted to share with you some of our experiences and success over the last year.
Before the pandemic started, getUBetter was providing its solution for back pain to every GP practice in Wandsworth and using stratification tools such as the STartBack to allocate and refer patients to self-management, physio or physio and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Overnight these options changed but we were able to safely and quickly reconfigure the pathways “live” as there was no longer any face-to-face physio service. Working with Digital Pioneer Fellow Ben Wanless at St Georges Hospital, Battersea Healthcare and Wandsworth CCG; we were able to change the pathway to enable user access to all AQP Physiotherapy services for a virtual assessment from within the app, provide patients with the NHS England Musculoskeletal emergency pathway updates and provide standardised messaging about COVID. We also quickly increased the number of available conditions to include back and leg, neck, shoulder, knee, soft tissue injury and ankle injury. This meant we could potentially support up to 80% of Wandsworth’s MSK patients seen by General Practice. We undertook a communication exercise to educate all stakeholders and ensured everyone knew how to prescribe getUBetter and had the capability for patients to self-refer. We saw activation rates of up to 75%.
We now provide injury and condition management for ALL common MSK injuries and conditions and have recently extended our deployment in South West London to cover Kingston and our most recent contract win covers the whole of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester.
Looking to the future
Our focus this year is to expand our footprint and deliver more evidence of the effectiveness of getUBetter. We have been working with the Health innovation Network on this DHT evaluation. We have brought a team together from St Georges Hospital, South West London Partnership, University of the West of England and Oxford University (NDORMS) to apply for an i4i NIHR application to undertake a real-world impact evaluation of getUBetter across South West London. We are also looking to connect with key MSK stakeholders across the country who are looking to provide digital self-management support to their population as part of their MSK pathway transformation work. We are excited about the year ahead and hope we are able to support as many people as possible in self managing their MSK conditions.
Learn more about the implementation of getUBetter in St Georges University Hospitals NHS Trust in this blog by Digital Pioneer Fellow Ben Wanless.
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getUBetter is currently one of 20 digital health companies on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.
The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by London’s three Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners, Imperial College Health Partners, and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.