As well as round-the-clock access to expert advice and virtual consultations, PhysioNow’s guided videos and tailored exercise programmes are designed to speed up recovery, compliment face-to-face care and maintain good health.
“Our platform provides seamless integration of our workflow systems and solutions which is an industry first and this service links in to those,” says Ascenti chief executive Stephanie Dobrikova, an Imperial College London mechanical engineering graduate.
Available to all the company’s NHS, private and commercial clients, such as insurers and firms’ investing in their employees’ well-being, “for patients and our therapists PhysioNow could not be easier. As with all our technology it ensures quality and consistency,” she explains.
“Records can be instantly updated for example so no time is wasted and everyone knows where they stand. That enables our teams to focus on the treatments and delivering the best results.”
The independent business was set up 22 years ago by medical claims solicitors in response to problems injured customers had in sourcing good rehabilitation services quickly.
Now it has a £40 million plus turnover and a network “where 90 per cent of the UK population live within five miles of an Ascenti clinic,” says managing director Kevin Doyle.
Three hundred physiotherapists deliver 52,000 treatments a month, to those in all walks of life from office workers to top athletes, through an operating model that differs from competitors by employing its 600 staff directly.
Treatment charges are from £40 a session and services cover back pain, long term conditions such as arthritis, pregnancy physio, surgery recovery, sporting injuries and deep tissue massage.
Doyle, once a rising soccer star with Nottingham Forest turned to physiotherapy after his career was cut short at 19 by injury on the field and a long, gruelling time in rehab.
His first job as a qualified therapist was with Birmingham City FC before becoming an entrepreneur.
90 per cent of the UK population live within five miles of an Ascenti clinic
Managing director Kevin Doyle
He sold his clinics business to Ascenti in 2010, taking a stake and has played a key role its expansion.
Changes in the healthcare industry over the last 20 years have seen “a big shift towards early treatment, prevention and self-management, with the emphasis on these improve outcomes for patients overall,” he observes.
“Private businesses are more invested now in their people and individuals are becoming more motivated to take responsibility for their health, be it through sports, gyms or paying for private treatment.
Modernising and adapting to major trends such as the increase in numbers seeking help for back pain – a third of Ascenti’s referrals, self-management of pain, and the empowering role of technology, have all been strengthened by its centralised business model that has proved a top performer.
“While the responsibilities and financial demands have been greater,” says Dobrikova “it has given us control over all aspects from governance through to our in-house IT team creating bespoke solutions.
“The opportunities to pioneer development in this industry are huge.”
“All healthcare faces a recruitment problem, however, but we are countering that with excellent training programmes and student placements.”
Expansion of the clinics’ programme will continue in UK cities such as London where demand is strongest.
Funding for the digital innovations and a re-branding of the business, that despite being long-established is often referred to as one of the NHS’s best-kept secrets, has come from within the group, which is majority owned by the Squire family.
For Doyle, who knows more than most about pain and recovery, the rewards of working in physiotherapy are greater than he could have ever imagined.
“When you help someone come back from injury, run a marathon and raise money for charity,” he says “that’s when you know you are in the right profession.”
For more info: www.ascenti.co.uk
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