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Physio exercises via mobile phone app another tech first

A new mobile phone app created by two physiotherapists from country Victoria is set to fundamentally improve patients’ at-home rehabilitation.

Words and images by Ronelle Richards
 

The app is being used in conjunction with traditional physiotherapy consultations, providing informative “how-to” videos for clients doing rehabilitation exercises between appointments.

Exercise Connect is available on both Android and iOS, offering more than 800 videos demonstrating between 400 to 500 exercises for rehabilitation, and strength and stability training.

Launched six weeks ago, the app comes in two versions – a free one for the clinic’s clients and a ‘pro’ version for health professionals.

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A subscribed health professional, such as a physiotherapist, can open the ‘pro’ version of the app and select exercises best suited to their client.

Each exercise can be customised by choosing the repetitions, times and the frequency per day. Users can then choose when the client will receive push notifications reminding them to complete the chosen exercises.

The app even has a built-in feature to add special instructions using a Siri-like microphone, allowing it to be tailored to each client’s specific recovery.

App founders Marg Perrott and Tajinder Singh, who run the Kilmore Physiotherapists Centre, about 60 kilometres north of Melbourne, have spent the last year bringing their idea to reality.

“Exercise Connect used the thought processes we as health professionals use every day,” Ms Perrott said.

The app includes a mix of traditional and contemporary exercises, with plans for these to be updated around four times a year as physiotherapy research continues to evolve.

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Both founders believe the app is more effective than the existing paper hand-outs with sketched exercises, which can be misinterpreted by clients, risking further injury.

“All my clients say ‘I know what to do now’ ”,  Mr Singh  said.

The client version of the app is offered free to the Kilmore clinic’s clients, with plans eventually to offer the pro version on a subscription basis to other health professionals.

The decision to offer the app free for clients was a simple one, with Ms Perrott believing that “even 20 cents would be a barrier to clients”.

The physios have been business partners since 2013, just 12 months after Mr Singh, who is originally from India, moved to Kilmore and joined the centre.

Both brought considerable professional experience to the creation of the app, with Ms Perrott  having worked more than 30 years as a physiotherapist, and Mr Singh having seven years’ experience in Australia, coupled with prior experience in India.

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Mr Singh first came up with the idea of  a physiotherapy app last year, believing that it would help clients understand and safely complete their exercises at home.

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The partners hired an Indian-based app developer, while Ms Perrott’s son, Llewellyn, a contract technology all-rounder, filmed and ‘white-screened’ the background of all 800 videos to date.

The physios are now in the process of trademarking the app, while awaiting approval from the Apple Store for the pro version, which is currently only released on Android.

Already, they are fielding phone calls from interested health professionals across Australia.

A small advert placed in the industry physiotherapy magazine ‘In-Motion’ two months ago had generated keen interest in Exercise Connect, they said.

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