How Sensors are Changing the Way We Deliver Physiotherapy

Tradeshow TalksSWORD HealthSandrine Ortega

An interview with Sandrine Ortega from SWORD Health, at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo, discussing the greatest barriers to physiotherapy in the UK, and how SWORD Phoenix is improving patient outcomes for musculoskeletal disorders.

What are the biggest challenges for healthcare systems such as the NHS when it comes to providing physiotherapy?

One of the biggest challenges is access to physiotherapy. It takes months to get an appointment with a physiotherapist through the NHS as there is only one physiotherapist per 2000 inhabitants.

Man receiving physiotherapy with sensor technology

There is also the problem of the UK population getting older, meaning more and more people are in need of physiotherapy.

This low number of physiotherapists, combined with a high demand for services, means that patients are not receiving the gold standard of care when it comes to rehabilitation. This reduces the number of patients that make a full recovery and increases the length of time spent in the health care system.

What is the SWORD Phoenix?

SWORD Phoenix is an AI-powered digital therapist that allows physiotherapists to deliver home-based rehabilitation programs.

SWORD Phoenix is bringing physical therapy home

How do physiotherapists engage with the system and ensure patients are doing the exercises correctly?

The physiotherapist is there in every step of the way with the patient. They are plugged into the system, and they can monitor each of their patients individually, as well as seeing how they are performing as a cohort.

They monitor the patient by assessing the results and changing the prescription accordingly with the max efficiency since everything is data based.

Has the technology been proven to work clinically?

We are the first AI solution with clinical trials published in reputable journals showing better patient clinical outcomes when compared with the standard of care.

Patients feel more supported, knowing that their physiotherapist is observing their performance and are more engaged with higher compliance.

How is the SWORD Phoenix helping the NHS cope with the increase in population size?

Physiotherapists using SWORD Phoenix have been shown to increase their productivity by five times, meaning they can treat five times more patients per hour.

This helps solve the waiting list problem in the UK and means that many patients receive a high quality of care early on, reducing the likelihood of their condition becoming worse.

Image Credit: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock

The difference in patient outcomes is astounding, with SWORD Phoenix resulting in 25% better outcomes than the current system.

Our technology is also highly cost-effective and scalable, which is very important for a tax-payer funded system like the NHS. SWORD Phoenix allows physiotherapists to treat more patients at a lower cost than face-to-face counseling.

Patients are able to make a conscious decision about when to do their therapy, and where to do it. This results in 90% of patients adhering to the treatment, which is a much higher number than the current system.

What does the future hold for SWORD Health? Could the platform be extended to other areas of medicine?

At the moment, SWORD Phoenix can be used to treat around 90% of musculoskeletal disorders and it’s available in the UK, Portugal, Australia, the USA, and Canada.  As consequence, we aren’t looking to expand to other conditions but to expand to other regions to increase the access of quality therapy to everyone.

Where can readers find more information?

About SWORD Health

SWORD Health is a healthcare company that is rebuilding physical rehabilitation through SWORD Phoenix - a digital therapist powered by AI that is sensor based and user-friendly. In 2015, SWORD was recognized by the European Commission as one of the most innovative companies in Europe.

Kate Anderton

Written by

Kate Anderton

Kate Anderton is a Biomedical Sciences graduate (B.Sc.) from Lancaster University. She manages the editorial content on News-Medical and carries out interviews with world-renowned medical and life sciences researchers. She also interviews innovative industry leaders who are helping to bring the next generation of medical technologies to market.


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