Home Exercise Programs – What You Need To Know…

When you are looking to provide a home exercise program to patients, you need one that provides you with as much done-for-you content as possible, preferably in different formats (text, pictures, illustrations and video) to maximize adoption by the patient. If you are a physical therapy private owner who is just starting out, it becomes even more important to find a solution that is affordable and easy to use, especially if you are not technologically savvy and are limited with time.

This article should help you make some decisions about a HEP program for your practice, and I welcome your comments and feedback about what you’ve used so that other PTs can learn from your insight. Please scroll to the bottom of the article and post your comments in the comments section if you’d like to add anything.

Web-based vs. Downloadable Software

Web-based home exercise program solutions allow the physical therapist to create and edit programs online using any computer. These solutions also allow the patients to quickly and easily access the exercises from a computer or smart phone. Many web-based solutions allow you to save patient profiles and include video demonstrations as well. For best results, home exercise programs should be integrated with an EMR solution so the program flows through directly to the notes for that particular patient. This makes things more streamlined for the practice owner. Having said that, there are several free HEP solutions so you may be able to use – a convenient HEP solution independent of your EMR.

While there are several software providers (all of them do a great job) that provide advanced 3D graphics to display patient exercises, I have been unable to find evidence that these are indeed more effective for enhancing patient compliance as compared to well-illustrated exercise handouts and traditional 2D videos.

As technology keeps improving, it is important to find the right balance between ease of use and graphical sophistication. The mode of delivery of the HEP solution (print, video, MMS (mobile marketing using video messages of HEP to patients cellphones) is important since it makes it easier for the patient to ‘consume’ the home exercise program. As the patient becomes more compliant with the HEP program, the recovery time is reduced which enhances the reputation of the clinic. Therefore, a home exercise program is not simply an ‘adjunct’ to patient care but an important component of the reputation of your practice and its perception by the patient community.

Adoption of an HEP program be facilitated by simple patient handouts, reinforced by a personalized website link that the patient can conveniently access. Patients who have smart phones (and an increasing number of patients do) can conveniently access video demonstrations from their mobile devices.

Cross-browser and cross-device compatibility (IPad, IPhone, Android, PC) is critical to maximize the adoption of the home exercise program especially for patients in today‚Äôs ‘mobile’ economy. It’s important to cater to the preferred consumption mode of different audiences (mobile, professional patients versus seniors with limited access to technology) when delivering your home exercise program. In fact, this may play a bigger role in HEP adoption as compared to fancy graphics and thousands of videos in a content library.

YouTube – Your Free HEP Content Library

You can purchase a flip camcorder for under $100 on Amazon and create your own exercise videos and upload them to YouTube. You can then embed the YouTube video on your own website and make that link available to your patients by email or on your website.

I wouldn’t worry about ‘high professional quality’ in the videos. As long as the videos demonstrate the right technique, range of motion and breathing pattern, that’s all that matters. The most successful Youtube videos tend to be simple and ‘real’.

If you are a PT looking to provide custom home exercise program and traditional HEP software is not an option, consider uploading videos to a YouTube playlist which can then be shared with patients. This does have a limitation, wherein you are unable to print a pdf of the videos but it is a FREE option and is totally customizable. The number of HEP videos on YouTube is only going to increase in the near future. This gives you and your patients the ability to simply search for a particular exercise on YouTube and watch it anytime.

Branding Your HEP Program

A HEP program provides your clinic with the opportunity to brand itself. Not only are you helping patients recover faster by providing them with an exercise program, you are also getting an opportunity to enter their ‘mind space’ outside of the clinic.

It’s best to use this opportunity effectively and brand the HEP program with your logo and images. Many clinics manage to do this, but here’s what I don’t see physical therapy business owners doing..

You can go a step further and ‘integrate’ other products and services you offer with ‘embedded messaging’ inside your HEP program. Outside of a physical therapy patient newsletter (which is a great way to stay in touch with patients), a HEP program is the next best ‘engagement mechanism’ you can use effectively to communicate with and serve patients more effectively.

While you are at it, why not increase patient referrals by asking them to refer friends and family and educate patients about (integrated) services that you have to offer? All this can be done through messaging within the HEP.

Resources for HEP Programs

These are some of the providers with HEP solutions for physical therapy practices. The list is not all inclusive, but it’s a good starting point for you to look into different providers and pick the one that works best for your needs:

  • Vhikits.com
  • Physioview.com
  • Physiotec.ca
  • Perfectfitpro.com
  • Hep2go.com
  • Theraflix.com
  • Realtimerehab.com

The ideal home exercise program should allow you to create custom program for patients, print it out and hand it out to patients, email it to patients, and also add your own exercise video if needed. It should be easy to access, across all browsers, all operating systems and all mobile devices.

At the end of the day, home exercise programs should be simple and easy to use, instead of being technologically overwhelming. It’s best to look into the different providers and pick one that has worked for you. If you have any additional suggestions or recommendations about HEP programs, please share them in the comments section.

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Leave A Reply (10 comments So Far)


  1. Sharon A.
    2 years ago

    Since I'm from California, there are lots of amateur film makers around. I usually hire a film crew and models to perform the exercises for me. Then I make digital copies to be distributed. I have a hard time sending it online because of the filesize. It's too large for an email attachment. Your suggestion might be the solution to my problem. This means if I can make my HEP easier to access, I can reach more people,

    I will try to follow your suggestions here and I'll let you know how it went.


  2. Scott B.
    2 years ago

    That's a new one – making HEP available on my patient's mobile phone and iPads- but it's awesome if I can do that. Wherever they go, my patients can have my HEP and with the name of my clinic plastered on it, they will have a hard time forgetting me and my clinic.

    By the way, I am very interested on mobile marketing and your Clinical Contact looks very promising. I went through the videos and I believe it would be good for my private practice. I plan to try it out next week.


  3. Jeremy
    2 years ago

    I have been meaning to create my own HEP but was undecided between handouts or videos. Now I can get started on this. I think web-based HEPs are better than downloadable software. Mobile accessibility is a great idea as well since almost everyone is mobile these days! You have quite a list there of HEP solutions providers. I will go through them one by one.

    Thank you for your insight.
    Jeremy


  4. Krissy
    2 years ago

    The HEP should be available on a variety of options. I know that some older patients would still prefer to read their exercise programs at home while the younger ones are more into technology and web based HEP access. For my clinic, our HEP is just a simple printout with images. We are going to explore videos and post them on Youtube and make them available on our website as well.

    Great ideas on this blog!


  5. Dimple
    2 years ago

    I think HEP2GO is an excellent tool for quick printing at the clinic and handing out to the patients.
    I have tried e-mailing the same but had mixed response . Sometimes it is delivered , sometimes not. Sometimes the patients can’t open it on their computers. Besides , it does not give a confirmation of delivering the e mail. So I will try out some other options so patients can get it on their phones. Great idea!


  6. Michael Gallagher
    2 years ago

    We mostly use HEP2go, as it is free, allows you to upload your own content or use theirs (including video), and add your own logo. We compared several of the expensive ones to it and found it to be more flexible.

    One other option…we document on iPads in our clinic, so sometimes the easiest and more personal method is to take the patient's picture or a quick video of them doing the exercises with the iPad itself and then simply email it to them right then and there. I cc myself so I can upload it to their chart. This is great for those exercises that you want done very specifically, but the HEP program shows a slightly different technique than you want.


  7. Guest
    2 years ago

    Youtube works best, but you can't customize content for users. There's one company that makes this easy at http://fasthep.com. Probably your best bet for fast video content.


  8. Robert
    1 year ago

    I love PhysioTools. They're author content is amazing.

 
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