A prototype evaluation of a computer-assisted physical therapy system for osteoarthritis


Purpose: Osteoarthritis is a common locomotor disorder affecting many older people and has become a growing public health problem. Adherence to exercise is a key to the successful recovery of patients but is often a major problem for older adults with osteoarthritis. The proposed pilot study is aimed to explore the feasibility and acceptance of an interactive computer assisted physical therapy prototype for aging adults with osteoarthritis. Methodology: The prototype comprised of a laptop, a wireless keypad, and software designed to deliver customized exercise plans for each participant as prescribed by their physical therapists. Each participant used a wireless keypad as a remote control to navigate through the software that provided exercise instructions in the form of text and videos. Fifteen participants were enrolled in the study during their regular visit to an outpatient physical therapy center. They were provided with a 15-minute instruction session first, then they were asked to use the system unassisted. Results: Ninety percent of the patients expressed no difficulty in using the prototype system in this study. All participants fully understood the instructions given by the exercise videos and expressed their intention to use the system unassisted at home. Conclusion: The presented computer-assisted physical therapy prototype may play an important role in the management of musculoskeletal conditions in patients that require home based exercise therapy. Further research is warranted to evaluate the impact of the proposed computerized therapy system on patients with various musculoskeletal conditions.

Publication Title

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy