Delivering home exercise programs using an app
Home exercise programs are an integral component of treatment for many different types of musculoskeletal conditions, and are typically designed by physiotherapists to suit the individual needs of patients during face-to-face sessions. Typically, these programs are provided on paper. Adherence to the exercises is low: up to 70% of patients do not perform the exercises as prescribed and adherence declines over time.
A free mobile-phone-based app is available for physiotherapists to use to generate the home exercise program and to monitor the patient's adherence with it. The app covers exercises used for musculoskeletal problems and neurological problems. In a recent study, 80 people with musculoskeletal conditions in the arm or leg were randomly allocated to receive their home exercise program on paper or via the app.
Acceptability and user-friendliness of the app were very highly rated. Beneficial effects were noted from using the app, including greater adherence to the exercise program and self-reported functional status.
The size of these effects was modest, so they might be considered mild bonuses on top of more fundamental reasons to use the app, such as: ease of use, free availability, wide range of exercises available, and ability to monitor adherence.
Patients who use their mobile frequently may also find that they are more likely to have their exercise program in close proximity when the time comes to conduct a home exercise session.
Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!
On top of that, you can access the app here!
> From: Lambert et al., J Physiother 63 (2017) 161-167. All rights reserved to the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.