Health Education England backs respiratory physiotherapist launch new app

A respiratory physiotherapist at the Royal Free London has launched a new app to help physiotherapists develop skills needed when treating patients with COVID-19.

The app launch of is being supported by Health Education England and provides physiotherapists access to training and resources to help them manage COVID-19 positive patients with confidence.

Stephanie Mansell the developer of the app, which was launched on April 6, worked with Iain Loughran from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS FT, both part of NHS England’s clinical entrepreneur training programme, to rapidly develop and launch ONCALLbuddy.

Stephanie said “We realised that we were getting lots of physiotherapists from other areas coming into respiratory care to support during the pandemic.”

“There are lots of educational materials out there, but we needed something that would be instantly available, there in your pocket ready to be used when needed.”

In the first two weeks of the app launch it was downloaded 8,000 times. It is now being used every two minutes and has been downloaded by people across the world including Canada and Australia.

The team will now be receiving funding from Health Education England to develop the app further, and to build on their content, and provide further information for physiotherapists for when they’re helping their patients.

Beverley Harden, Allied Health Professions Lead for Health Education England, said “This excellent innovation is essential for the COVID-19 period and for the future delivery of acute respiratory physiotherapy. The timeliness of this useful resource is very valued by clinicians in service, and its further development will help provide optimal long-term support.”

Stephanie added “The sponsorship from HEE is amazing because it means that we can develop a lot more content than would have otherwise been possible.”

“We also intend to keep the app running after the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing how much the app has been able to support people during the current situation has been amazing but there is also going to be an ongoing need for this kind of training resource, which gives staff access to information on the go.”