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First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year

The NHS will introduce its first AI-run physiotherapy clinic this year to reduce waiting times amid rising demand and staff shortages. The platform, Flok Health, provides same-day automated video appointments and is approved by the Care Quality Commission. Initial trials show positive outcomes, with many patients finding the AI service as effective as human consultations.
The NHS is set to introduce its first AI-run physiotherapy clinic this year to reduce waiting times amid rising demand and staff shortages.

The platform, Flok Health, will offer same-day automated video appointments via an app that responds to patient information in real time.

This digital initiative is approved by the Care Quality Commission, making it the first of its kind to be a registered healthcare provider.

Patients experiencing musculoskeletal issues such as back pain can be referred to Flok Health through various healthcare settings or self-refer directly.

The service aims to provide quicker care and alleviate pressure on clinicians.

Waiting lists for musculoskeletal treatments have increased by 27% since January last year.

Despite the promise of AI, there is concern that it cannot yet substitute the nuanced care provided by human physiotherapists.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) highlighted the shortage of physiotherapy posts in the NHS and emphasized that while AI shows significant potential, it cannot replicate expert clinical judgment.

Initial trials, involving over 1000 NHS staff, indicated positive outcomes with many patients noting the AI service as being equal or better than human consultations.

The AI platform personalizes treatment pathways, offers weekly video appointments, and adjusts treatments based on patient feedback.

Trials at various NHS trusts, like NHS Lothian and Cambridge University hospitals, showed improvements in patient symptoms and reduced waiting times.

Flok, co-founded by Finn Stevenson, is the only digital MSK provider approved by the CQC, enabling direct patient management.

It also received medical device clearance under MHRA regulations.

The AI clinic is expected to start with NHS partners this summer.
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