Grant Application

Hallie Zeleznik, PT, DPT, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services

Proposed Innovation

Being able to walk independently again is a main goal of patients who experience a stroke — a leading cause of disability worldwide. High-intensity gait training is a new approach to therapy that focuses on a more intense walking-based program. Key to this approach is being able to monitor a patient’s heart rate throughout an entire physical therapy session, typically lasting 45-60 minutes.

Through this project, patients will use wearable technology that provides continuous heart monitoring during their therapy sessions. Real-time feedback allows therapists to know if the patient is achieving the targeted exercise intensities during physical therapy.

Improvements in Action

Wearable armband monitoring devices paired with iPods will be used during therapy sessions. The device continuously tracks a patient’s heart rate displayed in real-time on the iPod, allowing therapists to determine how much time is spent in various heart rate ranges.

Intended Outcomes

Using this wearable heart monitoring technology is expected to result in better patient outcomes. It will enable therapists to focus on the patient during therapy sessions while ensuring patients safely achieve sufficient aerobic intensity. In addition, the technology will help to engage patients in shared decision making by displaying real-time, accurate biofeedback on their efforts.