PhysioWizard | Healthy Ageing Case Studies
PhysioWizard® wields augmented intelligence to improve muscle and joint care.
With funding support from the UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge PhysioMedics has developed ‘PhysioWizard® ’ to enable patients to get expert advice at a few clicks of a button. Kirsten Lord, Founder and Chief Clinical Officer at PhysioMedics, explains how.
The big idea
PhysioWizard® is the world’s first clinically validated, CE-marked, digital self-assessment tool and software triage platform for people experiencing muscle or joint (MSK) problems. It uses augmented intelligence to translate the expertise of a highly trained clinician into a tool that patients access online, and triages patients to the recommended healthcare professional or service (if appropriate) or to self-management. Patients receive personalised advice and reports on any device, whenever they need it. Launched just before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, it is now being used by national healthcare providers and large corporations.
The back story
Working as a physiotherapist for over 30 years, Kirsten Lord, Founder and Chief Clinical Officer at PhysioMedics had noticed a marked shift in her patient’s use of ‘Doctor Google’. Patients would spend hours researching their problems but many had trouble finding reliable and safe information. Patients arrived at her clinic with pages of notes from online sources, but it was difficult to find trustworthy information and many were anxious from reading worst case scenarios.
Having funded the business for six years, Kirsten first raised external angel funding in 2016 to expand the team, develop the platform and begin the sales journey, and by the start of 2020 the business had signed up several healthcare providers. Kirsten explains, “having finally launched our tool, the pandemic obviously had a devastating effect on the healthcare industry and 90% of people stopped visiting their healthcare professionals.” The impact of the pandemic on the industry led the team to apply for a grant from the Healthy Ageing Challenge in April 2020 to help pivot the business.
Using PhysioWizard® has helped us offer a safer approach and reduce face-to-face contact. Patients loved the experience and we look to continue using PhysioWizard® beyond the pandemic.
Impact of Challenge funding
The Challenge Fund grant provided PhysioMedics with the resources to provide patients with safe access to the PhysioWizard® platform, and develop security and GDPR compliance to accompany this access. These crucial improvements allowed PhysioMedics to offer its tool directly to the public. Kirsten explains, “it ignited interest from corporates and wellbeing companies, enabling us to deliver to many more people and enter new sectors. It also helped facilitate new partnerships.”
The boost for PhysioWizard® came at a time when demand for physiotherapy treatment is greater than ever. Britain’s lockdown saw a significant increase in muscle and joint problems due to several factors - the rise of home working, and deconditioning or weight gain that so many have experienced with COVID. The result has been a huge backlog of patients with ever growing waiting lists. PhysioWizard®, which enables patients to receive help inside their own homes, has therefore been well received.
Physiotherapy practitioners have given plenty of positive feedback about the app. For example Judith Paterson, a Director at Balanced Physiotherapy reports “COVID has had an enormous impact on the provision of Physiotherapy care. Using PhysioWizard® has helped us offer a safer approach and reduce face-to-face contact. Patients loved the experience and we look to continue using PhysioWizard® beyond the pandemic.”
PhysioWizard® marks a decisive step into the future of digital healthcare. Kirsten describes, “the public health sector is already changing, and more and more health services are being put online. Leading authorities have stated that Covid-19 has pushed digital healthcare five years ahead, changes that would have taken years to occur have had to happen very quickly. Digital healthcare aided by augmented
Prior to COVID, the PhysioWizard® tool was just used by physiotherapy businesses and now with help from the Healthy Ageing Challenge the company has successfully entered two new sectors. For example they have partnered with a high street bank to support their in-house occupational health work. In the next 12 months, PhysioMedics is particularly focused on increasing adoption in the corporate occupational and wellness market. With pilots in NHS Scotland and NHS England, they are also seeking to provide PhysioWizard® to the NHS, to assist GPs, physiotherapy departments and other healthcare professionals with the backlog of demand built over this past year.
This case study is one of a series shining a spotlight on projects that were awarded Covid Fast Response grants and supported by the UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge. The projects all aim to enhance the lives of older people during the pandemic, and beyond.