Sword Health, a leading digital musculoskeletal (MSK) solution, releases clinical study results suggesting Sword’s programs were able to promote significant improvements in work productivity, even in participants with moderate to severe mental health comorbidities.

Comorbidity between MSK pain and mental health issues is highly common. In fact, chronic MSK pain sufferers are up to 5 times more likely to have anxiety disorders and up to 3 times more likely to have depressive disorders. Association between MSK pain and mental health conditions leads to greater symptom burden and greater productivity losses than either condition alone. Tackling both physical and mental health is therefore crucial to maximize productivity recovery. 

This study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), aimed to explore the impact of digital MSK care programs in productivity and mental health, looking specifically at members with mental health comorbidity. To assess this, members were grouped based on baseline depression levels: group 1 (<5: minimal or no depression); group 2 (5-10: mild depression) and group 3 (≥10: moderate depression). Significant improvements in depression and anxiety scores were observed in groups 2 and 3 – respectively 51% and 29% in depression scores; 41% and 21% in anxiety scores. The three groups  reported significant reductions in productivity impairment: 38% in group 1; 62% in group 2 and 44% improvement in group 3.

Through this study, Sword Health shows that its multimodal digital care programs, based on Digital Physical Therapy,  through its Academy solution, and cognitive behavior therapy, can produce substantial improvements in anxiety and depression scores and productivity even in members with significant depression at baseline. These results reinforce the need to address both physical and mental health in people with MSK issues and Sword’s leading role in reducing both the burden of MSK and mental health in the population.

Clinical Study insights 

This clinical study included 7785 participants, which were divided into 3 groups according to baseline depression scores: 6137 (78.8%) were included in group 1, 1158 (14.9%) in group 2 and 490 (6.3%) in group 3.

Significant improvements in depression and anxiety scores were observed in groups 2 and 3:

  • Depression: 51% improvement in group 2 (from 6.6 to 3.2) and 29% in group 3 (from 14 to 9.9)
  • Anxiety: 41% improvement in group 2 (from 5.4 to 3.2) and 21% in group 3 (from 10.7 to 8.5)

All groups reported significant improvements in productivity impairment: 

  • 38% improvement in group 1 
  • 62% improvement in group 2
  • 44% improvement in group 3 

[Source(s): Sword Health, GlobeNewswire]