Update – January 2020

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Happy New Year,
Tim here, Lead Developer on the MSK assist team, as a New Year’s resolution I’ll be poking my head up from my computer every month to keep you updated with the latest MSK assist developments.
It’s been an amazing second year for MSK assist with uptake across the UK as well as the development of the “Primary Care” and “Patient” web apps, a visual overhaul of the mobile app and enough data from pilot programmes to gain some useful insights. So here’s what happened in 2019 and what we’ve got planned for 2020.
The Pilots
Firstly we’d like to say Thank You to all the organisations that participated in pilot programmes, we very much appreciate the valuable feedback gained from each of you and we hope you like the changes we’ve made based on your suggestions.
So without further ado here’s what our pilots said and what the data tells us:


The Good

  • Most clinicians liked the interface and found it easy to use.
  • 25% of patients provided an outcome measure via the app.
  • Clinicians averaged just 60 seconds to create a treatment plan.
  • Clinician usage was steady from week to week.

The Bad

  • Clinicians didn’t want to fill in lots of patient details
  • Some patients wanted to register for the app themselves
  • More exercises & customisation options were asked for

The Ugly

  • GPs didn’t have the time to use the system.
  • Some patients really didn’t like not being able to register in the app.
  • Integrating with EMIS and SystmOne wasn’t possible

The Unexpected

  • Approximately 50% of the treatment plans given out were sent by email and not to the app
2019 Updates & Changes
Many of the changes that you requested were relatively minor so we spent much of 2019 making small changes to both the clinical and mobile apps that you may not have even notice, things like removing the requirement that all patient details had to be filled in when registering a patient, letting patients register without an email address, and adding a button that copies the treatment plan to your clipboard were all minor changes that drastically improved the workflow.
Actually, we were surprised that there were no major issues and by how positive the feedback was, however, the uptake didn’t reflect what we were hearing, there were obviously still some major barriers to usage and it was the GPs in Hampshire that sparked a major change in our thinking towards the end of 2019.
Workflow redesign and new products
The Hampshire pilot could have been deemed a failure if it hadn’t been for the redesign that stemmed from the major barrier that GPs told us about, and that was time pressure. With barely 5 minutes per appointment GPs couldn’t spare the time to create bespoke treatment plans using MSK assist, on top of that MSK assist had be designed for Physiotherapists and required knowledge of MSK clinical pathways.
Cathal had already suggested we create template plans for certain common conditions, so with that in mind we stripped MSK assist back to bare bones; removed the login, removed patient details, pre-compiled some treatment plans, and even removed the need for a clinician. The end result was a website that clinicians and patients could visit to register for an MSK assist treatment plan for some of the most common MSK conditions. These products are already being piloted in Sussex and we hope to begin full production roll-out in early 2020.
So what’s planned for 2020
Well we’re focused on making MSK assist more readily available by allowing organisations to register on a pay-as-you-go scheme, we expect this to go live in early January. We’ll also simplify the IG process by including an IG checklist of all relevant data policies and data flows.
For physiotherapists we’re adding 160 more exercises and creating a “favourites” system so that it’s even easier to build the treatment plans you use every day.
We’re pushing for GP clinics to adopt the “Primary Care” and “Patient” versions on their websites to provide treatment plans directly to patients without them having to refer to MSK services.
The reporting tools is almost complete and has already provided us with some insightful information of clinical usage of MSK assist. We’re aiming to provide you with a useful dashboard that will let you see the most frequent conditions diagnosed, most active clinicians, and most active locations among other insights.
And finally, the patient app is to undergo a complete overhaul, we really want this to be a premium product to rival commercial wellbeing apps. We’ll be looking at improving every aspect of the app from layout to patient engagement.
Terms of Service Update
We should also notify you that our terms of service have been updated so please ensure you’re up-to-date.
That’s it for now
Thanks for checking in, as you know we’re always keen to hear your thoughts so please get in touch with info@mskassist.com
Happy New Year
Categories: Update