Example: One app designed for RA patients, called MyRA, allows the patient to track physical conditions, such as morning stiffness and fatigue; treatment considerations, such as medication use and laboratory results; and their daily progress with an exercise plan. Dr. Iversen says this all-in-one tool can be a great way to help a patient with RA track progress in following their designated fitness program developed by a physical therapist. The app can also organize data for the patient to share with their rheumatologist or physical therapist, enabling the patient to better understand important aspects of their overall health.
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A rheumatology-focused app for patients with OA, KneeBuddy, provides detailed descriptions and visuals of exercises. This tool can help reinforce information and specific exercises a physical therapist shares with a patient during an appointment, helping ensure the patient is correctly practicing the exercises at home.
“As medications advance and target patient conditions effectively, more and more rheumatology patients are able to think about living a healthy and active lifestyle, which is exciting,” Dr. Iversen notes. “With this shift, there needs to be greater awareness of the important role physical therapists can play in guiding the right plan for physical activity that complements pharmaceutical treatment and gives patients the freedom to move while supporting their physical health and wellness.”
Carina Stanton is a freelance science journalist based in Denver.