Physitrack is an iOS/Android smartphone app that helps patients complete their prescribed exercises instead of having to worry where they left their paper handout. It allows health care practitioners to prescribe over 1,000 clearly narrated exercise videos. To download the app patients pay $1.29. Practitioners pay a subscription fee. In this guest post Nathan Skwortsow, co-founder of Physitrack, explains the benefits.
The idea for Physitrack came about in late 2011, when a relative of one of our co-founders was given an unclear paper home exercise handout after a knee operation.
This greatly reduced his motivation to do his home exercise program, unnecessarily prolonging his post-op rehabilitation process.
We got together and decided that there should be a better way to encourage and track patient adherence and worked with health care professionals around the world to find a solution.
E-hab for the digital age
A study published in The Lancet in 2012 found that musculoskeletal conditions were the second greatest cause of disability in the world, affecting over 1.7 billion people, and putting billions of dollars of pressure on economies, worldwide.
Yet a consumer survey conducted during 2014 in Australia found that less than 30% of patients adhere to home exercise programs prescribed for them using traditional, paper-based methods.
In 2014, home exercise prescription platform Physitrack launched in Australia and The Netherlands. Physitrack features over 1,000 clearly narrated exercise videos and pre-saved programs to allow practitioners to create exercise programs for their patients.
Between 200-300 new exercises are added each month, and practitioners can either request new exercises to be recorded or upload their own exercises for even greater flexibility.
Where drawings fail
Until recently, practitioners have had no choice when prescribing home exercise programs other than to give patients paper handouts carrying printed instructions and either stickmen drawings or, at best, difficult to decipher photos.
While these can be adequate for explaining basic exercises, they are limited in their ability to explain the correct technique for more complex exercises. They also frequently prove inadequate where patients have a limited understanding of exercise techniques in general.
Meanwhile practitioners, hospitals and other health institutions using these traditional home exercise prescription methods have no way of gaining insight into patient adherence, progress, pain experienced during exercises or other, more specific feedback.
Better treatment & valuable data
The use of exercise videos in exercise programs has been shown to be more effective in encouraging confidence and motivation as well as in achieving performance accuracy. This in turn leads to increased patient adherence, which helps to improve treatment outcomes.
Physitrack provides practitioners with real-time insight into patient adherence, progress, pain levels and feedback, enabling them to provide patients effective support.
Built-in Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM ) surveys offer practitioners, and hospitals in particular, previously unavailable insight into the effectiveness of rehab programs, enabling them to optimise processes to help improve treatment outcomes and .
To create a more efficient clinic, Physitrack is also about to connect to popular patient management systems including Cliniko, TM2, Gensolve and PPMP for instant data sharing between platforms. The same connections are possible with hospital legacy systems.
Patient ease of use
Patients complete their prescribed exercises via iOS and Android smartphone apps instead of having to worry where they left their paper handout. Tablet and desktop computer versions are also available.
The app allows the patient to provide their treating practitioner with direct feedback after each exercise, which makes patients feel better supported and getting more out of their treatment.
Physitrack sends patients reminders to keep them motivated and on track with their exercise program.
For patients unable or unwilling to use an internet based platform, Physitrack allows practitioners to print out exercise programs in a form still preferable to most traditional paper-based formats.
Nathan Skwortsow is co-founder and CTO of Physitrack Limited. A subscription is priced at $29 p/m or $299 per year with professional discounts for SMA, ESSA, CAA and COCA members. For more information visit the Physitrack website.