A UNC alumnus has created an easy, accessible app for patients recovering from injuries through physical therapy sessions: PT Wired.
This Durham-based company brings personalized accountability straight to the phones of patients, who often struggle to stick with their exercises at home.
Vikram Sethuraman, PT Wired’s Founder and CEO, got the idea during his third year as an undergraduate while he was recovering from hip surgery. Post-operation, he recalled being let down by his own physical therapy experience.
He usually lost the exercise sheets provided to him, as many patients do, and would become frustrated with the lack of direction when he was performing the exercises at home without instruction.
While in an entrepreneurial class at UNC’s Kenan-Flager School of Business, Sethuraman developed PT Wired, a mobile application for physical therapists.
The app provides clinics a personalized platform that helps to motivate their clients outside of the office.
In an average physical training clinic there’s a 15 to 30 percent adherence rate. That means that only a relatively small amount of patients in physical therapy are completing the exercises they’re given.
PT Wired averages a 70 percent adherence rate, proving that push-notification reminders and accessible resources can motivate patients.
“They can get reminders to do their exercises,” said Sethuraman, “and receive guides, videos and notes, too. They get achievements and awards, which makes the entire PT process more interactive, engaging and accountable for patients.”
After launching the commercial service three months ago, PT Wired has signed up 21 clinic organizations around the U.S.
“Each clinic has its own white-labeled app in the app store,” said Sethuraman. “So, the app has their logo, name and color scheme. The patient doesn’t even see our name at all so it’s very branded and personalized for the clinic.
“It allows clients to think, ‘Wow, this clinic went out of their way to make their own app and really provide top-notch service.’ And the clinics love it because it has provided a lot of retention.”
Only 30 percent of people who start physical therapy actually finish it, which not only affects the patient’s recovery process but the clinic’s business as well.
“People who start PT stop going when they aren’t noticing a difference,” said Sethuraman. “But often times that has to do with their own accountability. So that impacts the clinic’s bottom line, with a lower number of average appointments per patient. When people are engaged more effectively, they keep coming back, which brings money to the clinic. And that’s what PT Wired helps with.”