5 Questions to Help You Choose Exercise Prescription Software

Are you in the market for a new exercise prescription software tool? Do you need a way to send HEP reminders to your clients?

The good news is that there is an enormous array of choices for you right now. Gone are the days of having to download a software package that sits on your desktop server. Hopefully no one you know still has to photocopy cards or drag battered exercise sheets out of a dusty drawer either.

Since the early 2010’s, there has been an explosion of web-based resources for health and fitness professionals. Software improvements have made it incredibly easy to access online exercise libraries as long as you have an internet connection.

If you have been looking for an online tool for creating physical therapy exercise handouts and other client reminders, you have dozens of options right now.

Some choices are spin-offs of electronic medical record (EMR) companies, like WebPT, or are from continuing ed programs, like MedBridge. Other choices are re-imaginations of older products, such as VHI or Exercise Pro. You also have the numerous competitors who are 100% focused with bringing you a web-only, HEP software solution.

So, where and how do you begin to narrow down your choices?

A good place to start is to think through who your clients are. Do you generally work with an older population? Do you treat middle-aged athletes? Are you a peds-only practice?

Other basic questions might center upon your budget, how many people need to use the software, and if there are any technical requirements. How do you generally give your home exercise programs to your customers? Do you only print them off and hand them out in-person? Do you frequently email or text them?

After you have answered this initial round of questions, you might find that some HEP software programs are immediately out of the running.

Chances are good though, that you are still left with decent number of choices to weed through.

Don’t despair! If you are still feeling stuck, here is a set of 5 questions to further help you in your selection process.

Think of these questions as a series of guides to help you determine what you really want in your exercise prescription software. It can take some time to learn a new platform, so it pays off to do a bit of research to clarify what your needs really are. You can always vote with your dollars, but that doesn’t make leaving the onboarding process any easier. You want to do this once, and then be done with it.

5 Questions to Help Choose an Exercise Prescription Software Platform

  1. Is it easy to use? 

    You are likely going to be using your exercise software daily, 5 days a week. You had better hope that it is easy to use. Nothing ruins an otherwise good software product, like a bad user experience.laptop

    As you explore your options, dig under the hood to find out what using the software is actually like. If there is a free trial period, definitely take advantage of it!

    Is it easy to search for your desired exercise? Are the exercise categories laid out in an intuitive manner? Does the process of selecting movements, adding text, and completing the handout make sense?

    Are there places where you get stuck during the workflow? Maybe you have to scan the screen too long to find the right button to click. Maybe you are overwhelmed by too many exercises, or a haphazard layout.

    Physical therapy work can already be stressful enough. You don’t need your software system to give you anymore grief!

    One basic test of functionality is to record the time it takes to create an exercise handout. If you are using a software program that takes longer than 2 minutes to create a HEP handout, then keep searching. A well-designed exercise prescription platform should let you build a handout in less than 90-seconds. 

  2. Will it improve your daily workflow?

    Assuming that you found a software program that is easy to use, you now want to find out whether or not it will actually help your workflow. A HEP handout program may be easy to use, but it could still lack the functionality that makes your job a breeze.runer silhouette running fast

    Having all of the buttons in the right place, doesn’t help you if some core functionality is still missing!

    What features make an exercise professional’s life easier?

    An easy target is whether or not you can “favorite” frequently used exercises. We all have our “old-standbys” of favorite movements. Perhaps 1 out 4 people you see end up using a goblet squat at some point in their training. Maybe stiff-leg deadlifts creep into your programming on the regular.

    Being able to “favorite” these frequently used exercises gives you handy way to shave precious seconds from your movement search.

    Similarly, being able to save frequently created exercise handouts definitely needs to be on your criteria. If you know that at post-op week 1, 90% of your knee clients are performing the same 5 exercises, you definitely need a saved routine for that. It would be silly to keep reinventing the wheel multiple times per week.

    As you spend time with an exercise program, you should be able to build up a library of favorite exercise and saved routines that make you job easier. The more thorough your collection of saved routines becomes, the faster you will be able to get the needed information to your clients.

    The big takeaway here is: What features will allow you to speed through your normal workflow? Look for saved routines and favorited exercises as the key elements.

  3. Will your clients like it?

    If your clients don’t gain anything from the exercise handout that you made for them, then what was the purpose?software

    The whole point of providing an exercise handout is to help them stick with the set of mobility or strength work that you recommend. When the reminder doesn’t do its duty to compel someone to move, then you’ve wasted your time.

    Thus, what features of an exercise software program might resonate best with your customers? What components will help them adhere to your recommendations?

    Ease of use definitely has to be at the top of the list. For one, the information that they need to know (instructions, frequency, cues), needs to be front and center, easy to read. Likewise, the actual pictures need to be easy to understand.

    Amateur-level images aren’t going to cut it. People can tell quality when they see it.

    Look for pictures that are clean and with plenty of contrast. Don’t forget that your older clients will have difficulty viewing a picture if it is awash in neutral, gray tones.

    Next, assuming that you didn’t print the handout for them, will your clients be able to access the digital version easily?

    Asking someone to download a new app may be a turn off. Similarly, having to remember a new set of login credentials and a new sequence of steps just to view a home exercise program in a portal, could also be a barrier.

    The best solution is to provide the handout via a delivery mechanism that your clients already use. In most cases, this will be through a simple text message or email link.

    When all your client needs to do is open a text or email and click on a link, then any barrier is practically nonexistent. 

    People are bombarded with new technologies every day. Help your customers succeed in their exercise, by keeping things as simple as you can.

  4. Does it help you clients reach their rehab or fitness goals?

    Besides being engaging and simple to use, your clients need to actually be inspired by the movements you are prescribing. A drab design and uninspiring models aren’t as motivating as a clean aesthetic and encouraging athletes. kettlebell

    Remember, you are often asking people to do something that they don’t necessarily want to do. Some people HATE any form of exercise. 

    It is your duty to make their rehab and fitness as palatable as possible.

    If an exercise software’s illustrations don’t convince them to exercise, then what has been the point?

    From another perspective, does the HEP software program include a variety of crucial movement patterns? Do the skills in the exercise library reflect the functional nature of real-life fitness demands?

    It is unfortunate that the rehab world has the reputation of chronic underloading of its clientele. Many of the prescribed movements professionals use also often lack significant carry-over to how people move in the real world.

    Ankle weights and resistance bands have their place in the strengthening continuum. Squats, deadlifts, pushing, pulling and whole-body movements ought to have a major presence too.

    If the HEP software you are looking at isn’t chock-full of variations of fundamental human movement patterns, then keep looking.

    Ask yourself:  Is the exercise that I am recommending someone perform, actually going to push the needle on their recovery? Does it load their tissue enough? Does it translate to a meaningful real-life experience?

    There is only so much time in the day. Respect your clients’ busy schedules. Give them exercise homework with the highest payoff.

  5. Will it help you achieve your business goals? 

    The final question to consider in your search for a new home exercise software program, is whether or not it helps you in your business goals? Just as you need the software to help your clients, you also need it to help you in your success. coin

    The health and fitness industry is incredibly competitive. If you’ve been in the business for anything over a few years then you know how true this is.

    Superior customer service is a must. Meaningful outcomes are essential too.

    But at the end of the day, if your business is shrinking or losing money, then what has been the point? If you aren’t running a thriving practice, then you won’t be around long enough to help more people.

    Your passion for movement will only carry you so far. Without sharp business acumen, even the best professional will struggle.

    Thus, when you are searching for a new tool to use in your practice, make sure that it is working overtime for you.

    A basic feature of an exercise software platform that can help immensely, is whether or not it allows you to add your own logo front and center. Being able to brand your handouts is a crucial step to help get the word out about your business.

    Your clients will most likely post these handouts on their refrigerators at home. They might also bring them to the gym. They may even share them on their phone with someone at the office.

    Each of these situations is an opportunity to tell the world about your business and expertise. Put your logo up and let the whole world know that you are available and ready to help them too.

Conclusion 

These 5 questions should help you with 90% of the selection criteria you should consider when looking for a physical therapy exercise software solution. As always, your unique needs might dictate a series of other items consider.

As a veteran of the industry, perhaps you’ve been burned by software that is riddled with bugs. Maybe you are sick of software that is always undergoing updates, requiring extensive down-time. It could be that you are fearful of long-term contracts and hidden fees.

Before you make the commitment, try reaching out to the software developer. Pose your questions and mention any fears that you might have. This is a business transaction, and the ethical business owner will do their best to answer you fully. 

As the founder of BPM Rx, I am always willing to answer any questions you might have about our exercise prescription software. I made this platform to help health and fitness professionals provide the best home exercise handouts available.

Feel free to shoot me an email at ben@bpmrx.com.

Better yet, sign-up for a no-risk 14-day trial of the software.

BPM Rx is fast, easy to use, and filled with movements that your clients love and need. Give it a shot. It might just be the solution you need.

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