Good Boost: Using AI to help people with musculoskeletal conditions

November 8, 2022


  • Four fifths of participants had incomes in the lowest forty per cent;
  • Eighty-four per cent were Black or Asian;
  • Almost half were living with another long-term health condition;
  • Fifty-five per cent of participants reported they were inactive before they started.

A project funded by a Health Innovation Network innovation grant has used artificial intelligence to improve the lives of Londoners with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

The year-long Good Boost Project was led by King’s College Hospital rehabilitation clinicians, physiotherapists and hospital volunteers. It was launched in Southwark in April 2021, and also piloted at Kingston Hospital.

The project supported patients living with long-term MSK conditions (conditions affecting the joints, bones and muscles), those recovering from joint replacement surgery, as well as older patients, giving them the opportunity to keep active.

Patients were offered a personalised water-based exercise programme, developed using artificial intelligence. This was tailored to their health condition, fitness level and confidence in the water.

After just five months:

  • Two-thirds of participants reported an improvement in their health
  • Almost a quarter reported improvements in their functional capacity
  • More than a fifth reported a reduction in pain levels

Nicky Wilson, Consultant Physiotherapist at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “This project began in the second Covid-19 national lockdown to make sure that people with MSK conditions could continue to keep active and well.

“Delivering the Good Boost Project in the heart of the community is increasing opportunities for people with MSK conditions to access rehabilitation, widen their social support networks, and embed regular ongoing physical activity into their lives, which will improve and maintain their health. It’s hugely exciting and humbling to see the impact the programme is having.”

Dorothy Oxley, 74, from East Dulwich, was invited to take part in the project after undergoing knee surgery in October 2021. She said: “My operation on my knee had left me with mobility problems, and I was determined to get my independence back. So when my physiotherapist mentioned the Good Boost Project, I was delighted to take part.

“I’m glad I signed up, because it really did help me build my confidence and become more mobile. Being in the water meant I wasn’t worried about losing my balance and falling, and everyone in the group supported each other. It truly was a boost.”

Find out more

Find out more about Good Boost in the full evaluation report.

Read the full evaluation