Sword’s Comprehensive Care Team Advances Whole-Person Healthcare

Why Sword
April 22, 2024
Comprehensive Care Team tackles pain and comorbidities

Sword’s deep commitment to clinical integrity is what sets us apart. We only hire licensed Doctors of Physical Therapy with thousands of hours of clinical training to provide care to our members—never non-clinical, non-regulated “health coaches.” And we use an FDA-listed device to track and correct members’ movements in real time for all body areas and all levels of acuity, ensuring proper form at all times.

But committing to clinical rigor doesn’t just mean hiring world-class physical therapists and building cutting-edge technology. It also means acknowledging that a clinical expert in one area can’t be a clinical expert in all areas, and that very few health issues exist in a silo. On the contrary, many medical conditions are complex, meaning they involve multiple coexisting conditions or comorbidities. Complex medical conditions often affect multiple body systems, are chronic in nature, and require coordinated care provided by a multidisciplinary team.

Which is why, to help our team of highly qualified physical therapists provide holistic care to members, we have invested in a team of world-class experts in other disciplines. Because no patient should have to fight for thoughtfully integrated care.

What is Sword’s Comprehensive Care Team?

Sword’s Comprehensive Care Team is composed of licensed specialists—never unregulated “health coaches”—with backgrounds in psychology, sleep, and nutrition. By combining the expertise from these disciplines with that of Sword’s Doctors of Physical Therapy, Sword is addressing pain as well as other conditions such as sleep issues, obesity, and depression that are linked to solving pain and improving well-being.

Why a Comprehensive Care Team?

Overlapping health conditions, or comorbidities, require more complex clinical management, are associated with worse health outcomes, and drive up healthcare costs. Using a coordinated team of specialists to tackle comorbidities is key to ensuring the best outcomes and lowest costs—both because it helps streamline care by reducing unnecessary or redundant interventions, and it improves the patient’s overall healthcare experience.

Unfortunately, MSK pain and disorders are frequently accompanied by comorbid conditions:

  • Patients with MSK pain have a significantly higher prevalence of insomnia, anxiety, and depressive symptoms compared with patients without MSK pain.
  • People with higher risks of cardiovascular disease are significantly more likely to develop one or more MSK disorders.
  • Obesity is a risk factor for the development of MSK disorders.

In fact, 43% of Sword’s members report relevant comorbidities from mental, metabolic, and cardiovascular domains, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Luckily, Sword’s Comprehensive Care Team can offer them a multi-pronged approach directly within Sword’s ecosystem for efficient, accessible, and impactful member care. This approach also improves treatment sustainability by providing long term management strategies and reduced recurrence of pain.

48% of members in Thrive, Sword’s digital physical therapy program, experience anxiety and pain. 32% experience depression and pain.

At Sword, we understand that mental and physical health are inherently intertwined. Our Doctors of Physical Therapy are specifically trained to treat members with the understanding that MSK pain and mental health disorders contribute to one another in a vicious cycle—which is why we always utilize a comprehensive intervention model that incorporates emotional factors. However, in situations where additional support is needed, a psychologist on our Comprehensive Care Team is available to help.

38% of Thrive members experience pain and trouble sleeping.

Similar to the devastating feedback loop between MSK pain and mental health disorders, poor sleep and pain share a complex and reciprocal relationship: Poor sleep can exacerbate pain, and pain can disrupt sleep. Poor sleep is also associated with the development of chronic pain, especially chronic MSK pain. Because restful sleep is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing, support from an in-house sleep specialist is an instrumental part of fighting some Sword members’ pain.

39% of Thrive members experience pain and obesity.

In some cases, elevated body mass index (BMI) is associated with increased odds of MSK pain. For members whose goals are to lower BMI and improve metabolic health, support from a registered dietician on our Comprehensive Care Team can be extremely helpful as they make dietary and lifestyle changes.

How does it work?

Sword members who could benefit from multidisciplinary care are identified based on program goals, comorbidities reported at enrollment or during the program, or by a referral from their Sword Doctor of Physical Therapy.

First, those members will be contacted to schedule a consultation with the appropriate Comprehensive Care Team expert.

Then our Comprehensive Care Team will work with them to address their needs. This involves discussing available care options, providing recommendations to help members take an active role in the management of their health and well-being, and sharing relevant educational materials.

Want to learn more about how Sword can provide whole-person care to your team members? Request a demo.

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