Apps have become ubiquitous in many parts of life, including for health. For people with an RMD, personalized video exercises (PEV) may be useful to support rehabilitation and physical exercise.
In an abstract shared at the 2023 EULAR annual congress, Davergne and colleagues explore the effectiveness of PEV provided through Apps in supporting rehabilitation for people with disability. The impact was measured in terms of a range of outcomes, including the effect on functional capacity, confidence in exercise performance, use of care, health-related quality of life, adherence, and adverse events.
Data were collected in a systematic review of randomized controlled trials which evaluated the effect of Apps providing PEV to support physical rehabilitation for any RMD. The primary outcome was functional capacity at the end of the intervention.
In total, 7 articles were included, representing data from 906 participants, 93% of whom were adults. The Apps used in these studies were mostly commercial, and 80% of the videos included content from a physiotherapist. The duration of App use ranged from 3 to 48 weeks.
Low-quality evidence suggested the use of Apps providing PEV led to a significant, but small-to-moderate improvement in physical function, confidence in exercise performance, quality of life, and adherence. However, use of Apps providing PEV did not influence rate of adverse events experienced by people taking part in the trials.
Whilst these results are interesting, the authors note that the level of evidence was low. More robust studies are needed to confirm these findings in people with RMD, and to work out which features of Apps and PEV have the greatest impact.