The aim of the study was to evaluate whether a web-based exercise programming system improves adherence to a home exercise program for people with musculoskeletal conditions.
Eligible patients with a musculoskeletal condition presenting to a physical therapist in private practice were randomized to the following: (a) control (home exercise prescribed by therapist’s usual methods) or (b) intervention (home exercise prescribed using a web-based exercise programming system). The primary outcome was self-rated exercise adherence measured at week 3 via 11-point Numeric Rating Scales. Secondary outcomes were satisfaction with exercise delivery and confidence in ability to undertake prescribed exercise. Process measures were also included.
We enrolled 305 participants, with loss to follow-up of 14.5% (22/152) and 13.7% (21/153) in intervention and control groups, respectively. Compared with controls, the intervention group reported higher exercise adherence (mean difference Numeric Rating Scale units (95% confidence intervals): adherence overall −1.0 [−1.6 to −0.3] and regarding number of exercises in session −0.7 [−1.3 to −0.1], number of repetitions −0.8 [−1.4 to −0.2], and number of sessions −1.0 [−1.6 to −0.3]). The intervention group showed greater confidence to exercise than control, with no difference in satisfaction.
A web-based exercise programming system improved home exercise adherence and confidence in ability to undertake exercise, although the clinical relevance of the results needs to be established.