Sword's Impact on Mental Health & Work Productivity
Today we release the first clinical study results that indicate how Sword Health’s programs promote significant improvements in work productivity, even for members with moderate to severe mental health challenges. At Sword, understanding the connection between musculoskeletal (MSK) issues and mental health has always been critical to our mission. When we find ways to improve mental and emotional wellbeing, quality of life can improve, bringing us one step closer to freeing the world from pain.
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. The 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), explores 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 (members with a PHQ-9 score of <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% improvement in depression scores; 41% and 21% improvement 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, an average of a 48% reduction in productivity impairment.
Based on a combination of outcomes from Digital Physical Therapy, the Academy, and our cognitive behavioral therapy, we’ve shown how our multimodal digital care programs can produce substantial improvements in both mental health (anxiety and depression scores) and productivity even in members with significant depression at baseline. This affirms Sword’s leading role in reducing the burden of both MSK and mental health in the population, and that tackling MSK can provide improvements beyond its scope.
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
About Sword Health
Sword Health is the world’s fastest growing digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider, on a mission to free two billion people from pain. It is the first digital solution to pair its members with a licensed physical therapist and the Sword Health Digital Therapist, to deliver a clinically proven, personalized treatment plan that is more effective, easier, and less expensive than the traditional gold standard of care. Sword Health believes in the power of people to recover at home, without resorting to imaging, surgeries or opioids, and it is the industry's only end-to-end digital MSK solution. Since entering the market in 2020, Sword Health has worked with insurers, health systems, and employers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia to make high quality musculoskeletal care accessible to everyone. Sword Health now has more than 200 clients including leading companies such as Pepsi, Dell, State Farm, Cardinal Health, Danaher, and Cisco. The company has more than 470 employees globally and is hiring significantly until the end of the year.