More NHS MSK patients set to benefit from innovative healthcare tool, thanks to partnership extension

Connect Health and EQL’s PhysioNow® reaches a milestone, supporting over 200,000 people

A pioneering digital healthcare tool, which has supported more than 200,000 NHS musculoskeletal (MSK) patients since launching four years ago, will now bring its physiotherapy treatment to even more people – following an extension of the partnership between the tool’s co-creators, Connect Health and EQL.

PhysioNow® offers remote triage access and care to NHS patients with MSK conditions, such as spine, back and hip pain. It was introduced in July 2020, following an accelerated launch at the start of the Covid pandemic.

The platform is powered by the Phio-Access triage tool, which utilises clinically-developed algorithms to navigate over 3000 scenarios and match patients with the most appropriate medical support. Senior clinicians from the Connect Health team were involved in its design and ongoing development.

Recently surpassing 266,758 registered users, more than 221,907 patients have completed triage via the tool.

Demonstrating its efficiency in identifying the right treatment pathways, data shows that 23% of Connect Health’s MSK service users had a ‘sub-acute’ (recent onset or rapid change) outcome which they received timely support for.

The tool can also help patients to fully ‘self-manage’ their MSK condition digitally and remotely, where appropriate, accessing exercises and advice, guided by a Connect Health clinician.

Additional PhysioNow® data highlights:

• 41% of patients used the tool outside of core office hours.
• Almost half (49%) of all patients sought help for spinal problems; 12% and 10% reported hip and knee conditions, respectively.
• 81% said ‘they would recommend PhysioNow® to friends and family’, and more than two thirds (69%) felt they received faster access to physiotherapy services because of it.
• Age isn’t a barrier to usage – almost a quarter (22%) of patients using the tool are over 65.
• 89% accessed PhysioNow® on a mobile device, where the average assessment time is 22 minutes.

Helen Robson, Head of Clinical Integration and Transformation, Connect Health says: “We’re delighted to mark four years of PhysioNow® by renewing our partnership with EQL.

“As the UK’s largest independent MSK and pain services provider, Connect Health has always been passionate about innovating healthcare and using technology to optimise resource, to empower and bring better outcomes for patients.

“The high volume of patients we treat means we’re in a strong position to help drive change to make a real difference to people’s lives – they tell us what is working for them and what can be improved.

“PhysioNow® gives users the tools to take ownership of their health – identifying the need for urgent care when necessary, and providing advice and early intervention to assist with self-management, or signposting face-to-face care if self-management isn’t suitable. And our clinicians continue to work closely with the EQL team to optimise the tool, reviewing and refining it so that patients can access tailored advice and care as soon as they need it.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved with EQL to date and look forward to bringing the service to many more thousands of patients in the future.”

Jason Ward, co-founder and CEO, EQL said: “EQL is happy to have extended our collaboration with Connect Health to empower more NHS patients to better manage their MSK health and recovery. There’s an important place for clinically led tech tools like PhysioNow to be made available to patients across the country.”

PhysioNow® can be accessed via self-referral or referral from a GP or healthcare professional and uses a series of questions to guide patients to the appropriate care pathway, following initial assessment. For more information, visit

Photo: Left to right: Jason Ward (CEO and Co-founder, EQL), Helen Robson (Head of Clinical Integration and Transformation, Connect Health), Helen Faulds (Chief Information Officer, Connect Health), Peter Grinbergs (Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder, EQL).