The ‘Virtual Physio’ app helping people at home during COVID-19

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Alumnus, TrackActive, is a ‘Virtual Physio’ app helping people maintain their musculoskeletal health at home during COVID-19 and looking to provide free resources to GPs and patients. Ian Prangley, Managing Director and Co-founder, shares TrackActive’s story…

Virtual physio

It was back in 2013 in sunny Brisbane, Australia that my co-founder Michael and I agreed to embark on our journey to improve the lives of people with musculoskeletal conditions through the use of technology. I was a physiotherapist, Michael a technologist, so that was a pretty good fit. Seven years on, we could never have dreamt the world would be in the position it is in right now.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are injuries and conditions of the bones, muscles and joints and affect up to one in two people. Of all medical conditions, back pain has the highest global burden when related to years lived with disability (YLD). MSK conditions can also lead to chronic disease development due to impact on people’s ability to be active, and chronic pain can significantly affect mental health.

Our first development was TrackActive Pro, an in-clinic or remote exercise prescription and outcome measurement tool for physiotherapists and patients. This product made us realise the huge potential of technology for improving musculoskeletal care and the insights led us to the idea, design and development of a new product, TrackActive Me.

The concept was born when we moved the company to London and completed three accelerators – Startupbootcamp InsurTech, the Sport England backed Open Active accelerator and the 2019 DigitalHealth.London Accelerator. Throughout these accelerators we were creating new commercial and academic partners, building a strong clinical team, and working on the new product.

TrackActive Me is a ‘Virtual Physio’, an iPhone and Android application that uses a chatbot and artificial intelligence to diagnose a range of problems and deliver personalised exercise programs. It assists users on their journey to recovery without the need to leave their home. If required, the user can speak to a physiotherapist via a telehealth consultation. The application also stays with the user, providing exercise-based interventions and information to assist them reach national activity guidelines in order to stay healthy and pain-free. All of the exercise programmes can be completed at home with minimal equipment needed.

TrackActive Me is applicable to many different markets in health – insurance, employee wellbeing, and the NHS. Our first round of investment was led by HR Tech, a group of HR directors who saw the potential of the product for employee wellbeing. In insurance we’ve established a collaboration agreement with General Reinsurance Group, the largest health and life reinsurer worldwide. Off the back of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator we commenced a pilot last year with a North London GP practice. NHS waiting lists for physiotherapy can be up to four months, and we believe TrackActive Me can significantly reduce the burden on musculoskeletal services.

COVID-19 has drastically reduced people’s accessibility to musculoskeletal services and we are receiving increased interest in both TrackActive Me and TrackActive Pro. The TrackActive Me application is available for anyone to download from the Apple and Google stores. We are also looking to increase the free resources available that both GPs and their patients can access. We are particularly keen to speak with GPs at this time.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator has been invaluable in supporting us in the development and initial NHS pilot of TrackActive Me. When we commenced development, NHS musculoskeletal services were already overburdened and now many more thousands of people will have difficulty accessing the care they need due to COVID-19. With digital health technologies being pushed to the forefront, we believe TrackActive Me is in a great position to help.