Study finds PhysioU apps enhancing student learnings in Occupational Therapy Program

Making an impact beyond the Physical Therapy education space! The PhysioU team is very excited to present the latest research conducted by Dr. David Plutschack, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, CLT, CEASII and Dr. Nicole Kuhl, OTD, OTR/L, CBIS from Drake University on Student Perceptions of Replacing Textbooks with a Mobile Application in the Classroom. Below is the poster presentation that they have presented during the IOTA conference. For easy reading, we have formatted the poster into this blog post.

Dr. Plutschack is part of the PhysioU Medical Expert team and he is the author of the PhysioU: SplintingPro app.

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  • Preliminary program evaluation data supports the use of mobile and web-based apps in occupational therapy education

  • Survey results of two cohorts suggest Drake University OTD students prefer mobile applications over textbooks for splinting (orthotic fabrication), goniometry, and manual muscle testing education

  • Drake OTD students perceive mobile app develops clinical skills for goniometry, splinting, and MMT at a higher level compared to traditional textbooks

  • Technology including mobile apps and web- based content are favorable educational methods to increase deep learning, student compliance, and develop clinical skills

  • Further surveys need to be conducted with new cohorts to support implementation

Learning Objectives

  • Examine the use of mobile apps for development of occupational therapy clinical skills

  • Examine student perception of mobile and web- based apps compared to textbooks in occupational therapy education

Background Information

  • Mobile app and web-based content targeted for occupational therapy and physical therapy students

  • Access from phone, tablet, and/or computer

  • Targets development of clinical skills including

    evaluation and treatment

  • Topics include neuro exam, goniometry, manual muscle testing, splinting, transfers, assistive devices, and many more topics

  • Program evaluation surveys were sent to two cohorts of students

Mobile App Use in Healthcare Education

  1. Briz-Ponce, Juanes-Mendez, Garcia-Penalvo, & Pereira (2016) found better statistical outcomes for learning anatomy using a mobile app compared to traditional classroom education

  2. Increased ”learning motivation”, but inconclusive for clinical skills for nursing students (Lee, Min, Oh, & Shim, 2018)

Student Perception of App Use in Classroom


Preference with Cost Consideration


Photos of App Interface

app interface 1
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  • Briz-Ponce, L., Juanes-Méndez, J., García-Peñalvo, A., & Pereira, F. (2016). Effects of Mobile Learning in Medical Education: A Counterfactual Evaluation. Journal of Medical Systems, 40(6), 1-6.

  • Lee, H., Min, H., Oh, S., & Shim, K. (2018). Mobile Technology in Undergraduate Nursing Education: A Systematic Review. Healthcare Informatics Research, 24(2), 97-108.

  • Wong, M., LeMoine, M., LeMoine, A., Yung, E. (2019). Physio U. [Mobile application software].


  • Dr. Plutschack and Dr. Kuhl developed this poster presentation while affiliated with PhysioU. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect PhysioU policy.

PhysioU transitioning to the future! We are moving to 100% web optimized platform, switch over today!

What’s happening?

PhysioU is investing heavily a web optimized platform that will function in all mobile devices including laptops and tablets. The next wave of PhysioU apps will include clinical reasoning development experiences, clinician centered patient care tool, and seamless evidence update capability.

We're closing the PhysioU: Complete Rehab Guide iOS & Android mobile apps by OCT 16, 2019.

<< Switch over to our web app

What does it mean to me?

If you are an iOS/Android user, please switch over to our web app as soon as possible. If you have never accessed the web app before, you can easily access our web app via or click this link and log-in with your PhysioU account info as usual. The functionalities and user experience of the web app are as good as mobile apps, if not better.

Here's a quick link to create a web app shortcut icon in your smartphone or tablet: HOW-TO add web app on your mobile devices?


Email us at if you need further support.

Thoracic Kyphosis/Spondylosis

Mid Back Pain with Mobility Deficits

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  • Patients with excessive thoracic spine kyphosis often report diffuse achy pain in the mid thoracic spine; especially with upper trunk extension or extension-rotation movements. It is important to note that mobility deficits in the thoracic region can result in pain in surrounding structures such as the neck, shoulder, or lower back! For more clinical findings click here!


Image via Complete Anatomy by 3D4 Medical

Image via Complete Anatomy by 3D4 Medical

Movement Fault

  • Although excessive thoracic spine kyphosis can typically be identified in standing and/or seated postural assessments, the quadruped position is an excellent functional alternative to analyzing the thoracic spine and how it’s movement interacts with the rest of the body! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Key Finding

As mentioned before, patients with mobility deficits of the thoracic spine often experience exacerbation of symptoms with extension and/or extension rotation movements. Be sure to assess the patient’s active range of motion to see which direction they are most limited in! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)


  • If the patient is deemed appropriate for manipulative therapy, a high velocity low amplitude thrust (HVLAT) can help provide immediate symptom improvement. (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Therapeutic Exercise

  • After manual therapy is provided, it is imperative to follow up with therapeutic exercise in order to promote the new movement pattern. Although multiple exercises can help improve thoracic spine extension, it is important to give patients something they can do regularly. Thoracic spine extension over a chair is an exercise that can be performed anywhere! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

  • As always, address the individual as a whole, determine which are the primary impairments and begin treatment there!

Sacroiliac Joint Sprain

Pelvic Girdle Mobility Deficits

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  • Various pathoanatomic and/or kinesiopathologic reasons exist for unilateral lower back/buttock pain; however, if a patient presents to clinic after sustaining a fall onto the buttock, abrupt misstep on a straight leg, or becoming pregnant, the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) may be the culprit! For more clinical findings click here!


Image via Complete Anatomy by 3D4 Medical

Image via Complete Anatomy by 3D4 Medical

Key Finding

  • Assessment of pelvic girdle alignment can help the clinician discover obliquities, which may be contributing to patient symptomology. (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Special Test

The posterior pelvic pain provocation test (P4) is part of a cluster of examinations that can help the clinician rule in or rule out SIJ pathology! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)


  • If hypomobility of the SIJ is a contributing factor to patient symptomology, regional manipulation can help improve mobility and potentially stimulate under-active musculature while gaiting pain! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Therapeutic Exercise

  • After optimal pelvic alignment has been attained, it is important to promote continued stability via force closure utilizing muscles such has the hip abductors and adductors! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Clinical Pattern Recognition - Wrist/Hand Pain

From anatomy to discovering the patient!

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common upper extremity compressive neuropathy

    o 1 to 5% of general population

  • There were 11,332 cases of DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis in the population at risk of 12,117,749 person-years

  • Women had a significantly higher rate of DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis at 2.8 cases per 1000 person-years, compared to men at 0.6 per 1000 person-years

  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) was torn in 46 of 118 patients with distal radial


    o 35% of intra-articular fractures

    o 53% of extra-articular fractures

  • In 59 hands with carpal tunnel syndrome, 34% also had ulnar tunnel (Guyon’s canal) neuropathy

See more prevalence information in the Clinical Pattern Recognition: Orthopaedics app here

Clinical Pattern Recognition

Click on the pain pattern to learn about the patients and develop your clinical patterns!

  1. Carpal Tunnel SyndromeHand Sensory Deficits (1-minute video)

2. DeQuervain’s Syndrome-Thumb Pain with Muscle Power Deficits (1-minute video)

3. Sprain of Carpal Ligaments–Wrist and Hand Pain with Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

4. Sprain of Ulnar Collateral Ligament of the ThumbThumb Pain with Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

5. Sprain or Tear of Triangular Fibrocartilage of the Distal Radius and UlnaWrist and Hand Pain with Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

6. Thumb Osteoarthritis- Thumb Pain with Mobility Deficits (1-minute video)

7. Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome or Entrapment Around Pisohamate Ligament- Hand Sensory Deficits (1-minute video)

8.  Wrist OsteoarthritisWrist Pain with Mobility Deficits (1-minute video)