New Hand Therapy app from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust improves patient experience

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and CW+ are pleased to launch a brand new version of their smartphone app, Hand Therapy: The Exercise Prescription App. The award-winning app provides patients with treatment information and a therapist-tailored exercise programme to aid recovery from hand and wrist injuries. The improved version of the existing app has new functionality, content, and updated features to improve the patient and therapist experience.

Led by the Trust’s Senior Occupational Therapist, Hayley Fay, and funded by CW+, the updated version of the Hand Therapy app now offers 50 new videos, resulting in a library of over 130 instructional videos and audio tutorials which patients can follow and replicate at home. The updated app was developed based on patient and clinician feedback and will continue to be used in busy clinical settings and remains accessible and free to download on a Smartphone.

The Hand Therapy app, which was originally developed in 2017 for Trust patients, has been hugely successful and is now used world-wide. The original version has had 8,000 downloads per year internationally, and data from the UK Reconstructive Surgical Trials Network (RSTN) and British Association of Hand Therapist (BAHT) pandemic response survey of clinical staff found that 81% of respondents in the UK were using the app within their department.

The new version of the app is aimed at improving user and prescriber experience and the updates will optimise existing features, enabling the hand therapy exercises to re-order in accordance with the prescription with additional ‘exercise repetitions’ and ‘completed’ buttons for each exercise. The catalogue has also been sub-categorised with an enhanced search function to make finding exercises quicker. In addition, the app includes an option to record and upload videos with the patient, enabling bespoke tailored programmes. Finally, a patient rated outcome measure ‘My Functional Goals’ will allow patients to set their own goals and review progress. This function, along with other features, collects anonymous outcome data, which allows the app to be evaluated.

The Hand Therapy app, developed by Imagineear, is part of the CW Innovation programme, led jointly by CW+ and the Trust, which identifies, tests and evaluates new solutions that improve patient care, patient experience and the way hospitals are run. CW+ has funded the app since 2015, including through the CW+ Nurses Call 2020. Hayley Fay won the Nurses Call, which awards grants to staff-led innovation projects, in 2020.

In addition, Hayley has a place on the Horizon Fellowship programme, which is run by CW+ in partnership with DigitalHealth.London to support innovative staff at the Trust to develop project ideas to transform patient care. As a Horizon Fellow, Hayley is being supported to evaluate the Hand Therapy app to measure clinical and socioeconomic impact. Hayley was also the winner of this year’s Christine Allegri Innovation in Hand Therapy 2022 Award for the app, which was presented at the International (IFSSH) Hand conference.

Commenting on the launch of the new app, Hayley Fay, said: ‘We are truly delighted to be able to update the Hand Therapy app and build on its success to date, and we would like to thank CW+ for their continued support, which has led to the current version of the app. It has been a pleasure working with colleagues and patients and their feedback has helped to shape the new version. In particular, the new functionality to enable the team to collect outcome data related to patient goals, will really help motivate patients on their journey to recovery. As a team we are all really proud of how the updated app looks and believe it will enhance patient care.’

Chris Chaney, the Chief Executive of CW+, said: ‘We are proud to have funded the Hand Therapy app over the years, including through our Nurses Call 2020. It has been a pleasure working with Hayley and her team, supporting our staff to bring their ideas to fruition to provide patients with a simple, effective, and easy way to access their hand exercises. The new videos and upgraded features will ensure that the app continues to provide the best user experience for patients.’

Bruno Botelho, the Deputy COO and Director of Digital Operations at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to launch the new and improved Hand Therapy app. The Trust has always supported innovation and digital solutions to improve the delivery of care in the population we serve, and the Hand Therapy app is a great example of how the patient is becoming more informed and empowered – in near real-time – to manage their own care.’

The Hand Therapy app is available to download for free on both IOS and Android devices. An option to donate to CW+ via the app is also available.

For more information on CW Innovation and the Hand Therapy app, click here.