Physical therapy is a key part of rehabilitation for a wide range of injuries and illnesses. Compliance with prescribed PT regimens is often quite poor. Non-compliance includes both missed appointments and failure to follow the regimen at home as prescribed. Reasons for non-compliance include lack of time, pain or discomfort, or not understanding how to do the exercise. Our PT tools aim to help improve compliance by using real-time sensor based assessment of each exercise or activity. This assessment can be used several ways:
- Exercise rep log –This tracks the performance of the patient with each rep and can verify the patient is attempting to comply and identify any exercises that are particularly troublesome for additional focus during a clinic visit.
- Coaching – an app paired with the sensors can give feedback for each rep to help guide the patient. The coaching can help correct errors as they happen to keep the patient use good form or technique. This also helps the patient have confidence that they are on the right track.
- Motivation – for many patients knowing that someone will be checking up on their progress will keep them from skipping sessions.
The tools are based on Bluetooth wireless inertial measurement units paired with a smartphone. Machine learning based algorithms are used to assess the patterns of motion of each repetition or period of activity. Currently the method has been tested for a number of exercises with promising results.