Patient engagement is a hot topic in healthcare particularly in the rehabilitation sphere: we’ve previously discussed the high cancellation and no-show rates for patients receiving therapy services, as well as the factors that lead patients to drop-out of rehab altogether.
Rehab professionals are constantly battling to keep their patients involved and engaged in their prescribed therapy, a common source of frustration and burn-out among clinicians. Today, we’ll consider several novel strategies to better engage patients by leveraging the technologyalready at their fingertips – their smartphones.
We’ll discuss three primary categories of apps that can help boost patient engagement with their plan of care and your practice: patient education apps, home exercise program apps, and specialty apps for specific rehab populations.

Top 10 Patient Engagement Apps for 2022

Educating patients about their condition, prognosis, and tools they have for recovery is arguably one of the most important tasks that a rehab professional performs. (1) The following apps will facilitate the patient education process to save you time and enhance patient understanding.

This interactive app allows you to view the human body from a variety of angles and peel away layers of tissue to reveal the structures underneath. You can educate your patient about the location of their injuries or compensations, and how these can affect structures near and far from the site of interest.

With content designed by orthopedic physicians, the Decide suite offers a variety of apps to address orthopedics issues throughout the body. Each version of the app focuses on a different body region, such as the shoulder or hip, and features interactive anatomical models of the region.

The apps include depictions of various common conditions that afflict each body part, and they even include some basic exercises to address these conditions.

For orthopedic PTs, these apps can be invaluable when answering patient questions about injuries and pending orthopedic surgeries. (2)

For therapists who work with patients in chronic pain, it can be a challenge to address the cognitive and emotional elements contributing to their symptoms. The Curable app offers a powerful tool to help patients address these issues. Rooted in the research on pain neuroscience, Curable teaches patients a variety of techniques to manage their symptoms, from graded motor imagery and visualizations to cognitive behavioral techniques

Home Exercise Program (HEP) Apps

Every busy outpatient physical therapist knows the frustration of the tedious HEP design process, particularly when patients seem to immediately lose their exercise print-outs the moment they leave the clinic. Stop wasting time with antiquated paper instructions and improve patient adherence to their HEPs with the following PT-specific apps.

  • AC Health App
    The AC Health App allows providers in all specialties to tailor their prescribed program to each patient’s unique needs. You can record videos of yourself or your patient performing each exercise as you are teaching it, eliminating the annoyance of searching an exercise library.
  • PT Pal Pro
    The PT Pal system offers a clinician portal and a patient app that integrate to deliver patients digitized version of their home exercise program. The app uses basic human body icons to demonstrate exercises, and it counts sets, reps, and seconds for patients. From the provider portal, you can send your patients educational materials and surveys, and the app integrates with your existing electronic health record system, saving you charting time.
  • Physitrack
    This well-established, multi-lingual program has taken the paper PT exercise library into the 21stcentury, with high-quality videos and professional narration of a wide variety of rehabilitation activities, from common strengthening and range of motion exercises, to vestibular training and respiratory rehab techniques.
  • PT Timer: Stretch & Exercise
    For your patients who hate counting reps and are forever forgetting how long they are supposed to hold their stretches, the PT Timer app can be a lifesaver. The timer is adjustable to match each patient’s pace, and the app provides verbal cues so patients don’t have to physically view their phone mid-exercise. The provider can customize the written instructions and pictures for each assigned exercise.

Apps for Special Populations

For specialty populations within rehabilitation, a standard orthopedics-focused exercise app may not be necessary or sufficient. The following apps are designed with specific populations in mind to better serve their unique needs.

VMI stands for visual-motor integration, and that’s exactly what Dexteria VMI targets: it uses simple geometric shapes and colors to encourage children to perform matching and creating tasks.

The app can help those with difficulty combining visual-spatial relationships and motor skills – this makes it a great tool for pediatric therapists, particularly those working with children with development delays and autism. (3)

Another great app for pediatric therapists and neurologic specialists, Sensory Light Box uses colorful abstract scenes to encourage users to tap, touch, and explore the interface. It’s helpful for patients with sensory processing impairments, particularly those on the autism spectrum. (3)

For pelvic health therapists and patients, Squeezy offers a multi-tiered approach to pelvic floor rehabilitation. It includes timed visual cues to walk patients through their pelvic floor contraction and relaxation exercises – the app features a pre-set exercise program, but this can be tailored to each patient’s needs. Squeezy also includes a symptom diary section, eliminating the need for paper bladder or bowel diaries and pain logs.

The App that Does it All: AC Health

No list of top rehabilitation apps would be complete without our very own AC Health! While each of the aforementioned applications addresses important components of a digital home program for patient engagement, AC Health is the only one that fully customizes each exercise and activity with video, audio, and text in a fast, efficient manner.

This allows providers in all specialties to tailor their prescribed program to each patient’s unique needs. You can record videos of yourself or your patient performing each exercise as you are teaching it, eliminating the annoyance of searching an exercise library.

The app is HIPAA-compliant, and the online provider platform allows you integrate documentation of your recordings directly into your EHR, allowing you to spend more time with your patient than your computer.

Want to learn more about how to improve your care delivery and provide the optimal patient experience?

Click here to download your free copy of our New Physical Therapist’s Guide to Measuring and Improving the Delivery of Patient Care, and don’t forget to request your free account to test drive the AC Health app today!


1. Chase, L., Elkins, J., Readinger, J., & Shepard, K. F. (1993). Perceptions of Physical Therapists Toward Patient Education. Physical Therapy, 73(11), 787–795.
2. Milligan, L. (2021, August 26). Top 10 iPad Apps for Physical Therapists. WebPT.
3. Jannenga, H. (2021, May 21). Physical Therapists’ Guide To PT, OT, & SLP Apps. WebPT.