PhysioNow: A Digital Physiotherapy Solution

Gary Howe Senior Service Transition Manager Connect Health

Zoe Brewster Assistant Head of Physiotherapy Cwm Taf Morgannwg

John Davies Senior Physiotherapy Service Manager Hywel Dda

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board & Hywel Dda University Health Board

In partnership with:

Welsh Government, Life Sciences Hub Wales, EQL and PhysioSpace Cardiff


PhysioNow is a clinically led chat-bot providing an agile and remote triage and support tool for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Clinically developed and constantly reviewed sophisticated algorithms guide users to the appropriate pathway, enabling the right care, at the right time, from the right person.

PhysioNow webchat
PhysioNow webchat

Users can remotely access an initial assessment 24/7 in multiple languages from anywhere. Connect Health use PhysioNow nationally in England and worked with Wales Government and Life Sciences to deliver PhysioNow to over 1000 patients in two Health Boards in Wales. The results indicate up to £1 million per annum can be saved across Wales.

Project Aims

Our partnership aimed to deliver a digital solution to allow MSK conditions to continue to be managed throughout Covid. We wanted to provide high quality, evidence-based assessment for MSK patients during the pandemic and beyond.

Tablet showing webchat
Man using smartphone

As part of this work, we wanted to assess the positive impact PhysioNow could have on:

Problems we aimed to address

Owing to Covid there have been delays to patients accessing services creating a significant accumulation in demand for MSK services.

By delivering and implementing tools such as PhysioNow, there is a significant opportunity to help and support colleagues in general practice and secondary care, to the betterment of patients.


We had some initial challenges as operational and clinical staff in both Health Boards were redeployed to Covid battle Covid based activities. Once these pressures began to ease, we were able to use PhysioNow and achieve some of the fantastic results evidenced below.

The Results


81% of respondents would recommend PhysioNow to their friends and family. Some of the key words repeatedly used by patients are below. The bar graph shows some of the reasons why so many patients loved using Physio

Bar chart showing multiple benefits for patients

The wider healthcare system

The introduction of PhysioNow into an average sized Health Board with standard physiotherapy activity has the potential to create efficiency and productivity improvements of over £300,000 per annum. If implemented across Wales, the benefit would reach well over £1 million per year.

34% of patients completed PhysioNow outside 09:00-17:00 including weekends and Bank holidays when typically, MSK physiotherapy appointments are unavailable.

This ability to provide around the clock assessment and guidance to patients has numerous benefits:

Patient Feeback

“It’s brilliant as it’s easy to answer and how to point out where the pain is coming from.”
“I had to put off going to see my GP, so this was an excellent prompt to investigate my pain.”
“I thoroughly applaud your work, very well done. Even if and/or when Covid is no longer an issue this is definitely the way for the future in terms of triage and audio/visual.”
“For me it was very positive and helpful. Worth considering as a long-term help to ease the pressure in the service.”

Feedback from Key Stakeholders

“PhysioNow is a great example of how we can enable patients to access services from a device when and where they wish to. Covid-19 has pushed us all to think differently, and this project has demonstrated the level of impact that can be achieved in a short timeframe.”

Abi Phillips, Head of Innovation – Economy Skills & Natural Resources Group, Welsh Government

“PhysioNow is bringing benefits to our team of physiotherapists, providing important information about a patient’s condition before they even set foot in the clinic and helping us to streamline our services and treat those patients most in need.”

Zoe Brewster, Assistant Head of Physiotherapy, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board

“At Connect Health we strive to be at the forefront of innovation and have been very active in the use of digital health to support people during these challenging times. PhysioNow puts patients in the driving seat, empowering them with tools to take ownership of their health.”

Prof Andrew Walton, Group Executive Director, Connect Health

Next Steps

PhysioNow is constantly evolving, and the ‘self-management’ outcome is one such area Connect Health are developing extensively and is ready for imminent roll-out. This will empower patients to manage their conditions without the need to directly interact with services where appropriate. A comprehensive suite of resources will be provided to guide patients on the road to recovery and be monitored every step of the way.

The technology underpinning PhysioNow is constantly advancing and a move to a more interactional chatbot experience is also due for forthcoming roll-out. This will enhance the patient experience whilst ensuring PhysioNow remains at the cutting edge of digital technology.

Our Exemplar Experience

We really value the opportunity to showcase our work as a Bevan Exemplar. We all would love to continue to receive the support of the Commission for any future adoption and spread.


Further Information

For additional information on our project, you can read a comprehensive 40-page report or a shorter 6-page summary from the links below.


07525 592255