Constant Therapy, a mobile speech therapy app for patients after stroke or other neurologic injuries, recently released data from more than 20 million therapy exercises completed by patients.
One of the benefits of mobile health apps is that patients using those apps generate a ton of data. Such information can provide invaluable insights, not only into the apps performance, but also into patient outcomes and other useful research possibilities.
Constant Therapy has recently shared some of that data from its speech therapy app, providing interesting information on stroke-related language and cognitive impairment recovery from this large data set:
- Stroke survivors received 5 hours of therapy a week using the app, greater than what would be expected from clinic-only therapy per week (depending on practice, 1-3 hours a week in clinic)
- Accuracy in language and cognitive exercises improved by 15% in patients completing 100 exercises, and 40% for those completing 500 or more
- Processing speed in language and cognitive exercises improved as well
- Over 100 million data points were reportedly analyzed (5 data points including time, accuracy, cues needed, etc were analyzed per exercise completed)
This speech therapy app is geared towards patients with speech-language disorders following a stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological events. Designed using a subscription-based model, Constant Therapy includes 65 different tasks, with multiple difficulty levels and stimulus options. Functional math, picture naming, category matching, rhyming and many other tasks are available through the app. Users are tested through not just tapping answer choices, but also vocalizing back to the app at the appropriate level, amongst other inputs.
Therapists can view the patient’s results, and adjust the exercises as needed, allowing for specifically tailored rehabilitation. This direct feedback between the therapist and the patient is a great example of monitored therapy after completing inpatient rehabilitation. It’s frustrating to see a patient participate in therapy in clinic, only to go home and not follow-up with their own exercises, be it for physical therapy or speech therapy. Having mobile monitoring and ongoing feedback on patient progress through a simple app, such as Constant Therapy, is a very valuable tool.
Some of the improvements noted in this release are tricky to interpret. For example, separating actual improvement in cognition or language from simply learning the test is hard. As this was a release of internal data and not published in a peer-reviewed journal, I reached out to Constant Therapy for more evidence behind their software. They provided me with a publication in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience in 2015, comparing the results in a controlled trial for post-stroke and TBI users of the app.
While limited by a very small control group number (9 versus 42 experimental), the study did utilize recognized language assessments, such as the Revised Western Aphasia Battery, to establish both baseline and outcomes measurements. Findings included improved results amongst both groups but increased in the experimental group (both received iPad therapy at home and in clinic versus just in clinic).
A follow-up study comparing traditional speech therapy versus Constant Therapy’s speech therapy app in addition to traditional would be much more helpful to rehabilitation clinicians. In addition, I learned that they are currently conducting further research to provide even more evidence for their application. This includes a study on Alzheimer’s and epilepsy that are already in progress, and a planned study on use in dyslexsia as well. Given the reported success of Constant Therapy, it is a great to see them continuing to amass more results with their app, and hopefully will also include long-term outcomes and more comparisons of their app as a supplement to traditional therapy in the future.