Posted on March 8, 2022

getUBetter is a digital self-management physiotherapy platform, for all common musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and conditions. It integrates with local musculoskeletal (MSK) care pathways, to aid the recovery and prevention of minor injuries.

It can support the self-management of 80% of new or recurrent MSK injury and conditions presenting to primary care, providing patients with a better service – via direct and immediate 24/7 support and whole pathway care.

The platform has been proved to reduce the need for prescriptions, follow up appointments and referrals, therefore helping to reduce inefficiencies and costs to the healthcare system.

The getUBetter app, developed by Dr Carey McClellan, and launched in 2016, has been developed and deployed with AHSN support. Very early on in his innovation journey, Dr McClellan sought support from the West of England AHSN to get ownership of his ideas and content – the intellectual property. He then secured a place on our 2015 Health Innovation Programme (HIP), teaching him about healthcare business strategy and planning.

His innovation is now deployed in the NHS and occupational health sectors across South London and South West England and is prescribed by clinicians (GP, physiotherapist, occupational health) during patient consultation, when injury recovery is recognised as suitable for self-management.

UPDATE: Carey has been announced as one of the 2022 cohort of  NHS Innovation Accelerator fellows and will  be supported to spread getUBetter across the NHS over the next three years.

The challenge

To provide direct and remote access to better support for patients with MSK injuries and conditions and help to reduce inefficiencies and costs to the healthcare system.

Common injuries such as back pain have a massive impact on patients, the NHS and the workplace/economy.

  • 20 – 30% of population will visit GP every year for a musculoskeletal complaint
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and conditions account for 18-30% of all GP appointments
  • Treatment waiting lists can be long with patients requiring support as they wait
  • The NHS spends £5 billion pounds treating these conditions every year
  • 20% of this is over-treatment
  • Musculoskeletal complaints account for half of all days off work and cost the economy £7billiion every year

Almost all minor injuries and MSK conditions will recover or improve with good self-management support (and without the need to visit the GP or physiotherapist, overuse medication or have an investigation).

Digital management solutions such as getUBetter can help to deliver a better service, by providing direct and immediate day-to-day 24/7 support, and access to whole pathway care, connecting people to their local MSK pathway and support services.

Our approach

getUBetter is a physiotherapy self-management digital therapy platform that integrates with local musculoskeletal (msk) pathways, to aid the recovery and prevention of minor injuries.

Patients are enabled to trust their own recovery via a day-to-day standardised, clinically led, self-management recovery and prevention pathway. This releases capacity and cost pressure on health professionals, as patient referrals to secondary care and repeat visits to GP are reduced.

Carey McClellan, CEO getUBetter

By supporting patients using evidence-based tools, the platform promotes safe self-management but also automates referrals for treatment appropriately (planned care, unscheduled and local support services.) The support can be accessed at any point the patient enters the health care cycle.

The app, developed by Dr Carey McClellan, and launched in 2016, has been developed and deployed with AHSN support:

The West of England AHSN first supported Carey very early on in his innovation journey, (in 2013), to help him get early ownership of the content and ideas he had, the intellectual property and, in 2015, he secured a place on our Health Innovation Programme (HIP). We have continued to support Dr McClellan from development through to deployment and scale – connecting him to relevant organisations and helping him to write bids for funding.

The Health Innovation Network (AHSN for South London) has also supported Carey with deployment across the South and South West London.

The innovation is now deployed in the NHS and occupational health sectors across South London and South West England and is prescribed by clinicians (GP, physiotherapist, occupational health) during patient consultation, when injury recovery is recognised as suitable for self-management.

In 2021, getUBetter secured a place on DigitalHealth.London’s accelerator programme.

“It gave me reassurance when I was worried about my pain and helped me manage my expectations about the speed of recovery”. Patient

“The app is a great complement to seeing a GP or as an alternative” Patient

“I think it is a fantastic resource on its own but also because patients can then be referred on through the Wandsworth pathway directly.” GP, Wandsworth

“We see the ever-expanding app as a major part of our service redesign going forward.” Jim Fenwick, CEO Battersea Healthcare

Impacts to date

getUBetter can support the self-management of 80% of new or recurrent MSK injury and conditions presenting to primary care.

  • 10,000 patients have been helped so far
  • In Wandsworth 1 in 10 patients with a MSK problem are using getUBetter
  • Reduces physiotherapy referrals by 20%
  • Reduces GP follow-up appointments by 13%
  • Reduces prescriptions for MSK by 50%
  • Independent economic evaluation demonstrates a cost saving of up to £1.9 million per CCG for back pain alone
  • 86% of patients would recommend to family and friends
  • 73% felt the app would provide a better GP service (none disagreed)
  • 100% of patients felt the app would help recovery

The West of England AHSN work with getUBetter began in April 2013 and is ongoing.

Find out more about getUBetter

Meet the innovator blog with Carey McClellan

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