A project which aims to improve digital pathways for patients with low back pain has been successful in securing funding via the NHSX Adoption Fund.

The collaborative project aims to digitise and maximise the uptake of a cost effective, evidence-based approach for affected patients from the very first contact. By using the STarT Back screening tool in GP clinical systems, patients who present with low back pain will be assessed and then referred to an app to support their progress.

The project will be managed by Professor Kay Stevenson, consultant physiotherapist for Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and honorary professor in musculoskeletal care and leadership at Keele University’s Impact Accelerator Unit.

It will be led by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who recently launched its five-year digital strategy intended to enhance care through innovation.

The partners involved in the project are Keele University, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, University Hospital of Derby and Burton NHS Trust, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, University of Glasgow and the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Stevenson said: “I’m delighted to be leading this collaborative project. We have been successful in gaining funding from NHSX to look at how we support people with back pain.

“Our plan is to provide a link to an app, called SelfBack, that will encourage activity and measure how people are progressing. This work is based on research that has been undertaken at Keele and Glasgow universities. The work of the Keele team (STarT Back) will assist assessment of patients in primary care and link to the SelfBack app.”

The NHSX Adoption Fund was established to support innovation in the NHS. It can provide funding to initiatives that support current priorities around elective recovery; have the potential for rapid and wide roll-out across the NHS; and are DTAC compliant, or are on their way to being so. This year’s winners are set to receive a share of £6.5m under the scheme.