Posted on May 19, 2023

getUBetter is a holistic digital self-management platform for all common MSK conditions and women’s pelvic health, and any of the linked problems. The platform includes physical, mental, societal, work, economic and behavioural support. It is now available across 16 integrated care systems (ICSs) to a total eligible population of over 17 million people.

The getUBetter platform helps ICSs to support care management across their entire local care pathways. It provides people with support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, taking them through their recovery day by day and providing them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to self-manage. Support is provided through triage, advice, exercises, outcome measures, safety netting and referral when necessary.

getUBetter can support the self-management of 80% of new, recurrent, or long-term MSK conditions presenting to primary care, providing patients with a better service – via direct and immediate support across the whole care pathway.

The platform has been proven to reduce the need for prescriptions, follow-up appointments and referrals, therefore helping to reduce inefficiencies and costs to the healthcare system.

Developed by Dr Carey McClellan, the getUBetter app launched in 2016, following support from the Health Innovation West of England through our popular Health Innovation Programme, run in partnership with SETSquared.

In the last two years, getUBetter has grown from supporting two ICSs to 16 and has seen a five-fold increase in the size of its team. getUBetter is now available across 36% of the country, including 80% of London.

The challenge

To provide direct and remote access to better support for patients with MSK injuries and conditions and help to reduce inefficiencies and costs to the healthcare system.

Common injuries such as back pain have a massive impact on patients, the NHS and the workplace/economy.

  • 20 – 30% of population will visit GP every year for a musculoskeletal complaint
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and conditions account for 18-30% of all GP appointments
  • Treatment waiting lists can be long with patients requiring support as they wait
  • The NHS spends £5 billion pounds treating these conditions every year
  • 20% of this is over-treatment
  • Musculoskeletal complaints account for half of all days off work and cost the economy £7billiion every year

Almost all minor injuries and MSK conditions will recover or improve with good self-management support (and without the need to visit the GP or physiotherapist, overuse medication or have an investigation).

Digital management solutions such as getUBetter can help to deliver a better service, by providing direct and immediate day-to-day 24/7 support, and access to whole pathway care, connecting people to their local MSK pathway and support services.

Our approach

getUBetter is a digital self-management platform for all common MSK conditions and women’s pelvic health support that integrates with local musculoskeletal (MSK) pathways, to aid the recovery and prevention of minor injuries and conditions and support women’s pelvic health.

Patients are enabled to trust their own recovery via a day-to-day standardised, clinically led, self-management recovery and prevention pathway. This releases capacity and cost pressure on health professionals, as patient referrals to secondary care and repeat visits to GP are reduced.

Carey McClellan, CEO getUBetter

By supporting patients using evidence-based tools, the platform promotes safe self-management but also automates referrals for treatment appropriately (planned care, unscheduled and local support services.) The support can be accessed at any point the patient enters the health care cycle.

The app, developed by Dr Carey McClellan, and launched in 2016, has been developed and deployed with our support:

Health Innovation West of England first supported Carey very early on in his innovation journey, (in 2013), to help him get early ownership of the content and ideas he had, the intellectual property and, in 2015, he secured a place on our Health Innovation Programme (HIP). We have continued to support Dr McClellan from development through to deployment and scale – connecting him to relevant organisations and helping him to write bids for funding.

The Health Innovation Network (South London) has also supported Carey with deployment across the South and South West London.

In 2021, getUBetter secured a place on DigitalHealth.London’s accelerator programme and was named Alumni company of the year 2022.

Dr Carey McLellan is one of the 2022 cohort of NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellows, to receive three years of support to scale getUBetter up across England’s NHS, for the benefit of patients and staff.

Recently, getUBetter has secured the HSJ Partnership of the Year Award for their partnership with South West London – ‘Meeting The Needs Of Patients, Clinicians And The Health System Across An ICS’.

In the last two years, getUBetter has grown from supporting two ICSs, across South London and South West England, to supporting 16, and has seen a five-fold increase in the size of its team. It is now available across 36% of the country, covering an eligible population of 17+ million people, including 80% of London. It can be accessed via self-referral or via referral from a clinician (eg GP, pharmacist, physiotherapist, occupational health, urgent care).

getUBetter is currently also working with South West London ICS as an NHS England digital exclusion pioneer, to understand and reduce digital exclusion across its population, and has been shortlisted for Health Service Journal’s NHS Healthtech partnership of the year.

Impacts to date

Patient impact

  • 79,000 patients have been supported by getUBetter to date
  • 86% of patients would recommend to others
  • 100% of patients feel the app helps recovery
  • getUBetter is now also supporting peri-operative recovery, waiting lists , women’s health and heart health

Clinical impact

  • 74% activation rate
  • 66% reduction in urgent care attendance, if given getUBetter
  • 50% reduction in physiotherapy appointments, if provided to patients on joining the physio waiting list
  • 50% reduction in prescribed MSK medication
  • 13% reduction in GP appointments
  • getUBetter can support the self-management of 80% of new or recurrent MSK injury and conditions presenting to primary care.
  • 20% reduction in physiotherapy referrals

Economic impact

  • Independent economic evaluation demonstrates a cost saving of up to £1.9 million per ICB for back pain alone

In the following video, Dr McLellan talks about the getUBetter platform, its impact to date and the support received from the Health Innovation West of England. You can watch it here or below.


“It gave me reassurance when I was worried about my pain and helped me manage my expectations about the speed of recovery”. Patient

“The app is a great complement to seeing a GP or as an alternative” Patient

“I think it is a fantastic resource on its own but also because patients can then be referred on through the Wandsworth pathway directly.” GP, Wandsworth

“We see the ever-expanding app as a major part of our service redesign going forward.” Jim Fenwick, CEO Battersea Healthcare

Find out more about getUBetter here

Find out more about our Health Innovation Programme here.

For further information, you can email Alex Leach, Deputy Director of Programmes, Health Innovation West of England at

> Back to index

  twitter   facebook   linkedin