"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Friday, February 24, 2012

Physical Therapy Apps

The physical therapy application marketplace is growing.

The iPhone is just the first mobile platform where consumer apps really exploded.

But, the iPhone provides some lessons about where app developers and medical device innovators are heading within the physical therapy space.

According to Office of National Coordinator of Health Indormation Technology (ONC HIT) staff member Jacob Reider, MD all new medical apps need these features:
  • Functional (it does what it is claimed to do)
  • Reliable (it works consistently)
  • Usable (it works in a way that is consistent with the user’s expectations)
  • Meaningful (it does something important or valuable)
  • Pleasurable (it is enjoyable to use)
The ONC HIT website takes Dr. Reider's message a step further:

"...the iPhone, for instance, uses a software platform with a published interface. This interface needs the ability to have both core components and applications (apps).

On the iPhone, core components include cameras, geolocation, networking capabilities, etc. The platform functionally separates the core components from the apps, and the apps are substitutable.

For instance, a consumer can download a calendar reminder system, reject it, and easily replace it with a new one.

Substitutability is the capability of a system to replace one application with another of similar functionality. As we define it, substitutability requires that the purchaser of an application can replace one application with another without being technically expert, without requiring re-engineering of other applications they are using, and without having to seek assistance from any of the vendors of previously or currently installed applications.

This allows developers to rapidly create a large marketplace of apps for consumers to choose from.
A HIT environment characterized by substitutable apps constructed around shared core components would drive down healthcare technology costs, support standards evolution, accommodate difference in care workflow, foster competition in the market, and accelerate innovation. 

Competition on quality, cost, and usability would become fierce. 

With the cost of switching kept low, a physician using an electronic health record (EHR), a CIO running a hospital system, or a patient using a personally controlled health record (PHR) would all be empowered to readily discard an under-performing app and install a better one."

Free Tutorial

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Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

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American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.