These digital platforms represent a significant leap forward in the ongoing quest to enhance patient access to care and alleviate the pressure on NHS resources. By using technology, they aspire to deliver timely and effective support to individuals grappling with the challenges of lower back pain.
With lower back pain being the leading cause of disability and accounting for about 30% of musculoskeletal GP consultations each year, as per the NHS Long Term Plan, and 9.11 million people in England experiencing long-term back pain, the urgency for accessible solutions is evident. Supporting this cause are Ben Jeeves and Dominic Ellington, members of the Digital Team.
Ben Jeeves added, "The SelfBack app was a project we were invited to be a part of to drive forward digital innovations in managing MSK conditions. Myself and Dom supported the governance of the project with regards to digital clinical safety and IG requirements."
The platforms offer access to multi-disciplinary teams, along with guided exercise videos, and reminder functions for patients to perform tasks such as filling in questionnaires. Health Minister Will Quince praised the apps, stating, “These apps are yet another example of how technology can be used to help patients get the care they need, when they need it. They offer a range of services that will allow patients to manage lower back pain from the comfort of their homes by improving access to musculoskeletal services—a key component of our Major Conditions Strategy. This will help reduce pressures on the NHS, cut waiting lists, and assist people in living happier, healthier lives.”
The watchdog further recommends a multifaceted approach to lower back pain self-management, including exercise, manual therapies, psychological therapy, combined physical and psychological programs, and return-to-work initiatives. This comprehensive approach reflects a commitment to delivering the most effective solutions for patients seeking relief from lower back pain while fortifying the NHS's capacity to address patients needs.