The determination to raise the quality and efficiency of MSK, mental health and pain community service provision across whole systems
In 1993 a fund-holding GP in South Shields, approached Andrew Walton, Connect Health’s founder, to seek an innovative solution to what remains a common, systemic problem; poor use of rehabilitation and long waits for physiotherapy. Resulting services are often highly medicalised and interventional using excessive diagnostics, treatments without clear evidence and with high cost and little outcome data. High public expectation for diagnostics and passive interventions rather than active rehabilitation results in poorly sustained benefits and patients re-presenting to their GP with chronic diseases and pain.
Connect Health has consistently been at the forefront of innovation. Integration for Connect Health in all its local pathways means closer working with primary, community, third sector and secondary care partners.
The key to consistent optimum outcomes and cost effectiveness is through the transformation of behaviour in the pathway. Connect Health has developed a methodology for mobilisation of new services which consistently delivers the expected improvements in performance.
We have invested around £2m over the last few years to develop an infrastructure with an exclusive focus on delivery of high quality, responsive integrated community MSK and mental health services with the aim of optimising the experience for patients, taxpayers and colleagues.
Connect Health Founded
Professor Andrew Walton founded Connect Health, now a leading community services healthcare provider encompassing mental health, IAPT, psychological interventions, rehabilitation, MSK (musculoskeletal) conditions, chronic pain, orthopaedics, rheumatology and occupational health services and by far the largest independent MSK provider in the UK.
Physio on the High Street
Connect Health were the ﬁrst to introduce this “shop front” approach which is common practice now. Prior to this, private physios were largely based at home.
Connect Health were the ﬁrst to introduce the choice of self-referral. Rather than having to wait for a GP appointment and possibility of inappropriate referrals, this was patients receive direct specialist support.
PhysioLine Telephone Triage
This brought about a cultural change in patients and physios with 25% of patients just needing a phone call. Reducing the average number of appointments in an episode of care down from 6 to 4 whilst maintaining excellent outcomes.
Clinical Assessment and Treatment services were given official backing via a new Department of Health MSK framework and stimulated growth in Connect Health’s specialist and advanced practitioner model.
Newcastle West Pilot
Ground-breaking pathways evaluation showing improved outcomes and reduced costs. www.connecthealth.co.uk/case-studies/exceptional-results-from-innovative-pilot-to-reform-local-msk-services/
Connect Health was an early adopter of technology and became paperless in 2010. Better use of technology such as the provision of interactive remote services, electronic patient records, apps and the use of Skype or Facetime to encourage interaction.
A new approach which widens the thinking around things that inﬂuence recovery. Functional testing and exploration of psychosocial barriers provide the baseline for rehabilitation programmes, which include both physical rehabilitation and education.
LIMS (Large Independent MSK Service Providers)
Andrew Walton recognised that larger independent providers were signiﬁcant in driving change and founded LIMS, a fledgling trade association, which represents over 90% of the largest MSK providers in the UK.
Connect Health's use of data to improve performance and patient care is second to none, through collection process and storage within the live data warehouse. This translates into driving clinician perform to achieve better care and adherence to evidence based practice.
The largest multi-centre study published of community physiotherapy to date – University of Northumbria retrospective, multi-centre study of EQ5D outcomes for 4,000+ NHS patients receiving physiotherapy treatment from Connect.
Connect Health deliver services for patients with persistent pain as part of broader MSK pathways. Collaborating with Prof Lorimer Moseley, an eminent clinical scientist, we have brought the Pain Revolution from rural Australia to the UK for the ﬁrst time.
Connect Health launches the Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service (JMAPS) in Northumberland, a jointly delivered service with Northumbria Healthcare NHSFT.
Connect Health launch PhysioNow®, a digital patient self-assessment tool to improve access and support ‘Right First Time’.
This aims to bring Connect Health to life, in terms of the services we provide, the patients we support, the people that work here and the importance of what we do.