Burke Rehabilitation Hospital announced a $48,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to support a pilot program aimed at helping spinal cord injury patients transition from inpatient care to outpatient rehabilitation.

The grant will fund Burke’s implementation of the Pt Pal app, a cloud-based clinical patient engagement platform that enables physicians, therapists, and other clinicians to manage patient care between visits by sending customized treatment plans, education, therapies, home exercise activities, and surveys directly to a patient’s or caregiver’s mobile or tablet device.

“Rehabilitation is a long and extensive process for individuals living with spinal cord injuries,” said Burke Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Mooyeon Oh-Park, MD, MS. “Keeping them motivated, supported, and medically monitored is the key in the journey of rehabilitation.”

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She added, “This project will facilitate a seamless care transition from inpatient to a community setting and cultivate a healthy lifestyle in this population by incorporating innovative, interactive, and easily accessible technology. We are incredibly grateful that the Neilsen Foundation supports us in this effort.”

Pt Pal helps patients and caregivers overcome the potential barriers they face when returning home and improves the transition of care from inpatient to outpatient settings and community reintegration. Therapists will prescribe exercises and education during therapy sessions which will be uploaded into the Pt Pal app, and patients and caregivers can log activity.

In addition to utilizing their smartphones or tablets to use the Pt Pal app, participants in this project will be provided with a Fitbit Alta HR watch so they can further monitor their daily activity and heart rate levels. Recording their completed exercises, monitoring their activity levels and seeing their progress will motivate patients to stay in compliance with their therapy plan and feel connected to a virtual community.

Dr. Oh-Park concluded, “The Pt Pal initiative is just the latest example of how Burke continues to innovate in the field of rehabilitative medicine.”

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital in White Plains, NY. Founded in 1915 through an endowment from philanthropist John Masterson Burke, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to adult rehabilitation medicine. As of 2016, the hospital is now a part of the Montefiore Health System, Inc. Burke offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or surgery. For additional information, please visit burke.org.