Background: Standard care for the rehabilitation of knee conditions involves exercise programs and information provision. Current methods of rehabilitation delivery struggle to keep up with large volumes of patients and the length of treatment required to maximize the recovery. Therefore, the development of novel interventions to support self-management is strongly recommended. Such interventions need to include information provision, goal setting, monitoring, feedback, and support groups, but the most effective methods of their delivery are poorly understood. The Internet provides a medium for intervention delivery with considerable potential for meeting these needs.
Objective: The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of a Web-based app and to conduct a preliminary review of its practicability as part of a complex medical intervention in the rehabilitation of knee disorders. This paper describes the development, implementation, and usability of such an app.
Methods: An interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and researchers, computer scientists, and app developers developed the TRAK app suite. The key functionality of the app includes information provision, a three-step exercise program based on a standard care for the rehabilitation of knee conditions, self-monitoring with visual feedback, and a virtual support group. There were two types of stakeholders (patients and physiotherapists) that were recruited for the usability study. The usability questionnaire was used to collect both qualitative and quantitative information on computer and Internet usage, task completion, and subjective user preferences.
Results: A total of 16 patients and 15 physiotherapists participated in the usability study. Based on the System Usability Scale, the TRAK app has higher perceived usability than 70% of systems. Both patients and physiotherapists agreed that the given Web-based approach would facilitate communication, provide information, help recall information, improve understanding, enable exercise progression, and support self-management in general. The Web app was found to be easy to use and user satisfaction was very high. The TRAK app suite can be accessed at http://apps.facebook.com/kneetrak/.
Conclusions: The usability study suggests that a Web-based intervention is feasible and acceptable in supporting self-management of knee conditions.
Keywords: exercise; internet; knee; mobile applications; rehabilitation; self-management; social media; usability testing; web applications.