Physical Therapy Home Exercise Software – What to Consider

There are many aspects to consider for choosing the best physical therapy home exercise software for your facility

This guide is designed to provide you a good understanding of all the aspects that make up a great home exercise software program.  There are many options on the market and many may look the same. They are not.

If you are reading this, chances are you want to make the best decision for an HEP system. After all, you and your staff will be using it to provide patient care. It will reflect directly on your professionalism. You want it to provide top notch results.

A good system should give you all the features you need at a fair price and be easy to use.

Plus, you will be spending time customizing it to your needs. You do not want to invest your time and money, only to find out it is not working for you and have to start all over again. The first advice is to get a trial and have a company rep give you an online product demo.

Consideration #1 - Exercise Formats

The program must have video of all its exercises. This seems like a no brainer. but there are some home exercise software programs that only have some content as video.

Next, you should be able to print programs for your patients. This lets you take care of patients that are not tech savvy.

Make sure you can print both photos and line art. Photos can be easier to change in case you want to edit an exercise. Line art is often easier for a patient to understand and can save you lots of money on toner and ink.

physical therapy home exercise software
physical therapy home exercise software

Consideration #2 - Patient Phone App

Today’s patients expect contemporary technology from their physical therapist. Be sure your physical therapy home exercise software program has a free phone app for patients – with no ads. And the program should be able to handle the patients name and still be HIPAA compliant. And obviously work with both Android or iPhones.

Patients do not want to open up an exercise app and see themselves listed as a number. It de-personalizes them as a human and can hinder their desire to participate in their recovery.

The patient phone app should allow messaging. This makes sure your patient can contact you if needed.

And finally the app should be able to provide exercise reminders. This makes sure they follow thru with the home programs you design, this promoting better outcomes.

physical therapy home exercise software

Consideration #3 - Clinician Phone App

The home exercise software must have a free app for the clinician. A clinician needs to be able to create home programs for patients using a phone. No one wants to be tied down to a desktop or have to lug around a laptop computer. A phone app expands your freedom and can improve your productivity.

The app should work on both a phone or tablet. It must be compatible with Android or Apple. It must perform all the basic functions like adding patients to the system, sending programs and creating protocols.

home exercise software

Consideration #4 - Content

Exercise content is important of course. You never know what type of patient will walk through the door. Your home exercise system needs to be able to assist you in all cases. At a minimum, it needs to have content for physical therapy in all type settings. And content that goes from low level to high level.

Ideally, make sure it has multi discipline and specialized area content as well. This includes areas like Speech, Amputee, Aquatics, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Neurology, Pelvic Health and so on.

Additionally you also want to be able to provide your patients additional education so they can take charge of their rehabilitation. So be sure it has a category for Patient Education Topics. this includes things like using crutches, how to do self ice massage, body mechanics, and more. 

Consideration #5 - Search Engine

Being able to quickly locate exercises means less time making home programs. This means more time for other high level duties like patient care and interactions.

Clinicians are unique. Each has their own way to categorize exercises. This means your exercise system needs multiple ways to search. The search engine should be able to filter exercises so you have precise results.

Not only that but you need to be able to search using photos or line art or to view the videos. The best systems use checkbox filtering, keywords or some type of rapid search.

physical therapy home exercise software

Consideration #6 - Feedback and Messaging

It is important to be able to get feedback from your patients. This includes information on their pain and the difficulty they are having doing a home program. Plus, it f they have any questions or concerns, it is helpful if they can contact you.

Be sure your home exercise software cues your patient to leave daily information on their pain and difficulty levels. It should be easy to see, preferably in a visual and numerical format.

Consideration #7 - Rewards and Compliance

Have you ever played a video game trying to get to a higher level or to gain more points? People will work hard and even silly games to make more points. Why not apply it to home program compliance?

In physical therapy, if your home exercise software awards points or levels to patients that perform their programs or provide feedback ratings, it is called “gamification”. Make sure the program you choose has a type of Rewards program; it can significantly increase compliance with home programs.

Plus, if you give tangible rewards for getting to certain levels, participation can increase even more. Example: a patient gets 5 points a day if they do their home program and give feedback. After ten days of doing their HEP, they get to 50 points. Why not give them a drink coozie or other small reward? It works!

Patient feedback rewards options
Exercise Pro Live

The Ultimate  Home Exercise Software for Physical Therapy, Athletic Training and related health care fields.

Consideration #8 - Customizing Features

There are other things a great home exercise software must. At first you may not think them important, but in the long run, you will need them and will miss them if you don’t have them.

A) These are things like setting exercise defaults for sets and reps. Seems like a small thing, but it can save hours of tedious typing over a week.

B) Being able to create as many exercise protocols as you want. Having specific templates set up for a certain diagnosis is a big time saver.

C) Being able to provide programs in Spanish or French can help those patients with trouble with English.

D) Setting expiration dates on program links might not seem that important. But do you really want all your rehab programs floating around on the internet forever?

E) Obviously branding your programs with your company logo is important. Don’t sign up with a program, even if it is free, if it can’t do that.

F) An online health portal for the patient. This is different from a phone app. the patient access their home program on their computer. And lets them print programs or watch video. Giving one more option to access a home program improves compliance.

G) Compliance report – The ability to pull up a report on when and how often a patient does their home program can provide a lot of insight as to the patients motivation and desire to take their health care as a responsibility. Detecting early non compliance can help give you a chance to intervene before they drop out of therapy.

G) Satisfaction survey. Does the program include Net Promoter Survey? This gets feedback from the patient about their satisfaction with your facility and care. Getting early feedback can help improve your services and also decrease early patient drop off.

Consideration #9 - EMR Link

The ability to integrate with your EMR is awlays something to find out. Being able to open up a home exercise program from within the EMR and send back exercise program summaries to the patient record saves time and makes your job easier.

Does the program already integrate with your EMR? Will and can the company do custom work to make it integrate with your EMR? The answer should be YES for at least one of these questions.

Consideration #10 - No CEU Requirement

Would you use a free generic EMR program from an ultrasound gel company that made you buy 20 bottles of ultrasound gel every month whether you needed gel or not? Or would you rather use an EMR system from a company that specialized in medical records software?

Be careful about being lured into buying CEUs annually when you only need them every two years, just to get a home exercise program. Keep your options open with different CEU companies. Consider signing up for HEP software made by a HEP software company. 

Do your homework - Check out free trials

It pays off in the long run to do your homework. Think about your long term needs  related to  your physical therapy home exercise software.

Consider content, think about ease of use, variety of search methods, phone apps, feedback reporting and more.

Your exercise software should make your life and your job easier. It should promote a professional texture for your facility.

You do not want to spend months having the staff create protocols, getting trained on a system, only to have to dump it and start all over in order to get a more tailored solution.

Exercise Pro Live blends exercise prescription and mobile technology to improve physical therapy intervention. Try your free two week trial.

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