AI-powered physio platform to be deployed in the NHS

  • 18 June 2024
AI-powered physio platform to be deployed in the NHS
Image provided by Flok Health

AI-powered physio clinic, Flok Health is planned to be rolled out in the NHS by Autumn 2024, with the aim of cutting physiotherapy waiting lists.

More than 300,000 people in the UK are on an NHS waiting list for physiotherapy, with 26% waiting for more than three months to be seen, according to the report ‘The state of musculoskeletal health 2023′, published by Versus Arthritis.

Flok Health provides same-day automated video appointments with an AI physiotherapist which can be accessed via a smartphone app.

The AI physio clinic uses a clinical decision engine which it to accurately recreate best-practice clinical reasoning, according to a press release published by Flok Health on 13 June 2024.

Finn Stevenson, co-founder and chief executive at Flok Health, said: “11 million people suffer from back pain in the UK and 20% of us will visit our GP with a musculoskeletal problem each year, but it’s getting harder and harder for patients to access the physiotherapy they need”

“Harnessing new technologies, like AI, can help us unlock individualised treatment for thousands of patients, while reducing pressure on NHS services and freeing up capacity for treating those in need of in-person care”.

Between May 2023 and December 2023, Flok’s AI physiotherapy clinic was trialled by more than 1,000 staff at suffering from back pain NHS Lothian, NHS Borders, Cambridge University Hospitals and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who were able to self-refer to the service.

Alison MacDonald, executive nurse director, NHS Lothian, said: “Technological developments such as Flok have the potential to substantially improve the care and journey for some people with back pain by complimenting the range of healthcare services available.

“We’re looking forward to continuing working with Flok to further understand and explore the potential for how we could integrate such technology with our current therapy provision.”

Data from the Cambridge University Hospitals trial indicated that the technology had helped reduce wait times for physiotherapy and that waiting lists for in-person musculoskeletal appointments increased by 50% at the end of the trial when the AI clinic was no longer in use.

Flok Health has been registered by the CQC as a healthcare provider, meaning they have met the requirements to provide treatment for disease, disorder or injury.

When the service rolls out, eligible patients will be able to either be referred to Flok Health via a community or primary care healthcare setting or self-refer.

In May 2024, NHS Borders rolled out Phio, a digital solution improving access to musculoskeletal care in the region.

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