Physical Therapy Telehealth app

The therapy app helps to organize exercise plans, track the progress of physical rehab after surgery.
Frame Mend
Industry:
Headquarters:
Market:
Team size:
Cooperation:
Technologies:
Healthcare
UK
US-UK
5 members
2019 – 2020
React, Nodejs, Graphql, Postgress
Industry:
Healthcare
Headquarters:
UK
Market:
US-UK
Team size:
5 members
Cooperation:
2019 – 2020
Technologies:
React, Nodejs, Graphql, Postgress

How we built a successful Physical Therapy Telehealth app

In this Case Study, we will describe how to develop a telehealth therapy app on the example of the project we helped to develop for our client, its challenges, the choices we made, the development process, and our proud results.

Introduction

Physical rehab often sounds horrifying. Either an injury or major surgery, the key part of the recovery is following the systematic plan of stretching and exercising. As we all know, staying always motivated and enthusiastic at home is quite challenging. The doctor that prescribed the exercise regimen cannot push you to get up from the sofa and the progress tracking is very vague. Apart from that, an injury or surgery brings stress at constantly high levels. To remember what you have been told, make decisions, and stay educated becomes difficult to a greater extent.

The therapy app creators decided to change it for everyone. Busy surgeons and physiotherapists can improve managing their caseload immensely, as well as tracking their patients’ progress and collaborating more effectively with colleagues.

Statistically, it is only 50%. One out of two people follows the home rehab and gets decent results in faster recovery, lower costs, and better long-term health. Talking about musculoskeletal disorders, as much as 32% of savings in episode-of-care costs rely on good self-care. And these issues affect 1 in 4 of the UK adult population.

Telehealth therapy is transforming physical rehab by building a digital platform to improve the experience and outcomes for everyone involved. The daily routine of a physical therapist is often a whirlpool of never-ending tasks. The app allows providing high-quality care to patients, and the rich data insights create a better visual picture of clinical pathways for patients, healthcare providers, and payers.

Business challenges

After surgery, the patient needs to make a set of exercises for rehab, the doctor should manage this process. To make this process more comfortable for patients, without the need to visit the doctor often, most of the communication and control the app allows making online.

Security and Informational Safety

Bee-HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, PCI

One of the important business challenges was security and informational safety, so being HIPAA, PIPEDA, GDPR, and PCI-compliant became our top priority at the very start.

HIPPA
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) lays out three rules for protecting patient health information in the United States: privacy, security, and breach notification rules.

PIPEDA
Among the guidelines of the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) are accountability, accuracy, identifying purposes, limiting collection, consent, challenging compliance, being open, and individual access.

GDPR
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects the right to be informed, the right of access, upgrade, to restrict processing, to data portability, to erasure, to object as well as rights concerning mechanized decision making and profiling.

PCI
Payment card industry (PCI) standards combine the agreed security set of rules for credit and debit cards, both online or in person. To be PCI compliant means a decent password and data protection, encryption, document policies, etc. Our team was aware of its great importance as this is the key to customers’ trust and future confidence with their sensitive payment card data. It also defined our clients’ reputation.

Other Challenges

1) A lot of attention went to the ongoing customer support like free training classes, webinars, community encouragement, and other resources that help you get the most out of our physical therapy app.

2) There were no options for our client’s therapy app but being accessible anywhere. Only a cloud-based web and mobile app could guarantee being securely logged in from any device both for medical professionals and patients.

3) Our client also wanted the app to be adapted to any kind of business, as each one is unique, as well as the needs of patients. Journaling options, settings, and branding had to be tailored for different needs.
The app aimed to enable expanding physiotherapy services. Our client wanted to make the ability to add unlimited team members and patients over time, we regarded it as a must-have in our project.

4) We also had to make our product able to cover a range of exercises for all types of diagnoses. It had to be useful either when curing strength and movement issues connected to neurology like stroke or brain injury or orthopaedic traumas like muscle sprain, joint injury, fracture, etc.

5) The therapy app we were developing had one more important task connected to prevention. Home exercises must be continued long after they end physiotherapy so that more therapy is not needed in the future.

THE SOLUTION

When discussing how to develop a telehealth therapy app, the idea of supporting everyone in the healthcare ecosystem seemed one of the most important. Patients, surgeons, physios, other healthcare professionals and providers, employers, healthcare payers, medical device companies, etc – all should benefit from the project we were developing.

Personalization

Mend

The main feature of the telehealth therapy system is that it personalizes exercise plans for patients through video content captured on the patient’s smartphone while under the supervision of the psychotherapist, with motivating messages and tools to encourage them to stick with their exercise plan. It would also be possible for the patient to enter feedback on their progress, including their motivation and compliance levels. This feedback will be shared with their healthcare professionals. Usually, it is a surgeon and a psychotherapist. They will be able to view this feedback on the web portal in real-time.

We added motivation messages which proved to be of great support and effectiveness. After the surgery date, they sound like this: “You are 2 weeks and 5 days into your rehab. Try to stay active!”. Or something more generic like “Staying active is the best way to relieve pain. Don’t give up!” gives really good results in a friendly encouragement.

The therapy app suggests patients fill Questionnaires due to the rehab stage and procedure – Pre-Surgery, 3-month Post-surgery date, 6 and 12-months Post. As long as these can be different for the United Kingdom and The USA, we store them in a config file or database, so that they can be different on the US-based cloud versus the UK-based cloud.

2 Types of Users – Patients & Doctors

Here is how our project functionality was implemented. There are 2 types of users: a patient and a doctor. Patients can create their own profiles. Both patient and doctor profiles are HIPAA & GDPR compliant. A doctor is allowed to create a set of exercises (videos), configure a scheduler for each patient. As a patient users can configure notifications. Patients can safely communicate with doctors in chat (Telehealth feature) HIPAA & GDPR compliant solutions. Application is available for mobile and for the web. A doctor can check chart analysis and other data about patient progress.

The daily rehab consists of basic flow, alternate flow, and exceptions. The user-friendly design shows exercise details, different modes of videos – playback or loop play, and buttons Completed, Partly done, or Skip. Progress for related categories is updated immediately.

Patient journaling includes the useful sharing or logging of pictures with accompanying notes and remarks. Everything is in real-time. Creating physical therapy and exercise goals for patients varies from those to complete on a daily, weekly, and on a long-term basis. Notifications and reminders are easy to customize, and video consultations and appointment fixing are on the go.

Offline Use Possibility

Offline possibility

The patient will either be with his healthcare professional, at home, in the gym, or park when using the core functions of our product. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of a decent Internet connection or a strong mobile signal in any of these locations. So we made our best to ensure the core functionality of watching, changing exercise parameters, and viewing progress are possible while offline. Content changes and sharing progress becomes synchronized with the server when next online.

In fact, we managed to find a way that allows users not to depend on the internet connection as so much can be done offline! Create new exercises, view a list of active exercises, edit them, archive or restore, select reps, sets, times per day, days per week; multi-select for Strength, Balance, Range of Motion, Function. You can receive motivational level prompt, record progress, view Today’s completion charts, fill in periodic questionnaires, check achievements – settings can be made when offline and then synced when online.

The list of common questions to surgeon and physio, with answers appearing when clicked is also available offline. These questions were pre-loaded and adapted to different body parts, most of the focus went on knee surgery though.

 

THE RESULTS

By facing all challenges and solving important technical tasks, our team has developed the therapy app for our client, and contributed greatly to the modern world of healthcare. It lets you take control of your physical rehab by helping to set up your exercise plan, track your progress, and bring you closer to your healthcare professionals. This app is available free on smartphones or tablets to patients who have been invited to sign up by their healthcare professional.

Information Security

The product captures key patient outcomes, they are a great source of information providing the healthcare system with the ability to generate measurable improvements across the chain of healthcare.
Strong information security is everything. We proudly demonstrate strong information governance and information security, having successfully achieved compliance with these industry standards: NQA Information security management, Cyber essentials Certified, NHS Digital Toolkit.

Key Features

The app allows patients to be in full control of their rehab, feel more empowered and supported with regular prompts, guides, and rewards to mark key milestones in one’s progress. It also saves time on commutes. All these regular appointments and consultations at your physiotherapist, bringing home a tailored exercise, trying not to forget what you were told to do each day, etc requires much effort.

Telehealth therapy makes you feel the difference and focus on what is really important. Besides, having fewer meetings in person does not mean you lose connection with your healthcare professionals. On the contrary, the progress shared with your surgeon, physiotherapist, or any other healthcare professional involved with your treatment plan, can be immediately viewed and given the appropriate and encouraging feedback so that you know you are doing everything right and you are not lonely. Continued practice is guaranteed and encouraged by the app features.
Prevention is a very important factor for remaining strong and active, staying on the right track.

Healthcare providers got benefits too, being able to enhance their brand thanks to our client’s physical therapy app. The therapy app enables delivering personalized care plans, creating a more interactive experience, and encouraging greater patient engagement. Diversity of services includes subscription, patient packages, and expanding into physical therapy treatment online.

Improved productivity of the clinic

Moreover, the clinic productivity is also much improved. More patients in greater need can be seen each day by limiting unnecessary admin including the need to spend time providing detailed notes on each exercise. With the therapy app’s tools, time is spent where it matters most: on patient care.

Besides, the consultations became more informed as remote-monitoring of patient outcomes, activity, and motivation levels generate new insights to support more informed consultations with patients. We also find it very useful that the app enables seamless data flow through a multidisciplinary team.

Physical therapy telehealth app’s benefit for healthcare payer is to inform better pathways of care. Telehealth therapy creates unique insights on patient outcomes at each stage of the care pathway and across the life course, with the potential to inform better system design. It also reduces the risk of readmission and ongoing treatment expenses as the focus is on improving patient engagement and motivation. The patient and clinician experience enhance obviously by a more tailored and interactive care journey that raises overall satisfaction levels.

Conclusion

We welcome anyone who wants to make a difference in the healthcare industry world with digital technologies. Our team will be happy to empower your business and the way you work with clients. Please get in touch today!

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Our partners Testimonial

AndrejStudencan
Andrej Studenčan
Chief Executive Officer at STEMI Global

Focusing on such a sensitive area in HealthTech we depend on a reliable and professional partner and I can declare that after almost 2 years of cooperation ZenBit has been one of such partner for us...

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The solution we have developed allows our client to

  • – Personalisation: notifications, questionary, tracking progress, individual exercise plan
  • – Offline use possibility
  • – 2 types of users for doctors and patients
  • – Compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, PCI information security requirements
  • – Improvement in productivity of the clinic
  • – Patients can communicate with doctors in chat (Telehealth feature) HIPAA & GDPR compliant solution
  • – Doctor can check chart analysis and other data about patient progress

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