NHS 24 MSK App Review

This app from the National Health Service in the U.K. provides quality videos and self-help materials to your patients with MSK conditions and is great for those in the U.S., too.

Musculoskeletal conditions account for 25% of all visits in primary care. Over 400 MSK conditions can walk into a busy primary care practice on a given day. Many of these are easily treatable with self-rehab, relative, rest, limited medications, and physical therapy. Taking time to review exercises and frankly even finding quality handouts/videos can be challenging. Some are available in books, online websites, and even YouTube (which is far better than you may think). However, time frequently can result in patients being left to their own devices to find the “best” resources or lack of early home/office based rehab can lead to increased costs later on expensive and unnecessary imaging, consults, and medications.

Here on iMedicalApps we have reviewed several apps from the NHS Scotland including Polypharmacy Guidance and have favorably reviewed many others including, most recently, Antimicrobial Companion. The NHS is even giving away millions of apps and devices to patients to promote population health. One of NHS 24’s apps that I previously overlooked is called NHS 24 MSK. The main NHS has also recently released a version of the app. NHS 24 MSK is an app that is for patients with common MSK conditions of the back, neck, upper, and lower extremities. It’s divided into those conditions, but can also be searched via videos, self-help materials on each category. For customization, NHS 24 MSK contains several calculators/questionnaires for patients to complete to help tailor the app contents specifically to their needs. Finally, the app contains a patient reminder section for setting reminders to take medications and/or perform MSK rehab exercises.

Evidence-based medicine

The app does not contain PubMed type references for any of its content but comes from a reputable source with links back to the NHS website. Much of the information on the website does contain references for some of the booklets and handouts.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Patients and their family members, students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, internal medicine, sports medicine, physical/occupational therapists. The app could be prescribed to any patient with MSK problems for home education.

Price

Likes

  • Easy-to-follow interface covering MSK exercises, self-help information, and reminders
  • Most information including videos work without internet/cellular connection
  • Available for Android

 

Dislikes

  •  Lengthy download initially may be off-putting for some; should be optional
  • Some videos should be more closely paired with a specific diagnosis
  • Explanation of results is incomplete

 

Overall

NHS24 MSK is a well-designed, helpful app for patients with common MSK conditions. For providers and patients alike who may not have time for bedside education or if barriers/costs of physical therapy prevent early consultations, this app can fill numerous gaps. The app contains high quality, easy to use and share content for the most common MSK conditions encountered in primary care. If you don’t already have a “go to” source for such information to share with patients, then make sure to check out NHS 24 MSK.

Overall Score

User Interface

  • 4.5 stars
  • Easy to use after the initial download of offline content and intuitive directions.

Multimedia Usage

The app contains numerous downloadable videos, handouts, links to outside sources.    

Price

App is free

Real-World Applicability

Any GP in the UK definitely could use this app. However, I think most primary care providers in the U.S. and elsewhere could prescribe the app to smartphone savvy patients for the high-quality handouts, booklets, and videos on self-management of common MSK conditions.

Device Used For Review

iPhone 8 running iOS 12.1.4     

Available for Download for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.