Big island- bigger ideas: physical therapy app developed in Hawaii

An app was developed to help individuals inquire more information about physical therapy treatments- for free. The app is striving to promote change in the United States’ health care system and its gaining attention, thanks to its accessibility.

IREHAB.com was officially established in 2007 by founder/CEO Hawaiian resident Keith Krugh. The app was rated the number one medical related app by appclimb.com. So far, Krugh said progress with IREHAB.com has been steady.

“We are currently talking to multiple funding sources and expect to build out our entire product line in the next 12 to18 months,” Krugh said.

Krugh said the app was developed so that patients could have access to quality, customized, safe guidance whenever needed. “Whether it is a Physical Therapist selecting and sending exercises to a patient or the patient interfacing with one of our interactive applications, patients will have the confidence to know the exercises they are looking at are specific for them and them only,” Krugh said.

Dr. Brett Carey, vice president of IREHAB.com, works in an outpatient clinic in Kealakekua, which is where he met Krugh. According to Carey, access to health care in Hawaii is poor.

“For all major health concerns or specialist care, residents of all islands must fly over to Honolulu,” Carey said, who is a Virginia Beach local and earned a degree in physical therapy at Old Dominion University in 2010. “Since many patients can’t afford treatment/insurance… doctors and therapists [are forced] to close their practices.”

Hawaiian local Lindsey Anahulu said, “My husband doesn’t have health insurance and his lower back pain was beginning to make his work as a landscaper impossible. The back pain app was a true gift, it literally saved my husband and I thousands of dollars that we would have otherwise spent on physical therapy office visits.”

Carey said he believes the app is a huge help for better allocating resources, both in Hawaii and throughout the world. Carey said he believes health care can and is being changed by technology. “Since the developing health care crisis effects every single citizen of the U.S, we all really need to come together and find solutions,” Carey said.

Denise Lindsey, an office manager at Big Island Television, Inc. who suffers from sciatica, said, “Do you know how hard it is for people to access ‘free’ quality and reliable help?  Very difficult.”

Lindsey learned about IREHAB.com through Carey when she was his patient. “I really want to spread the word for this site because it worked for me,” she said.

Krugh, who has Master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University in Pennsylvania, said IREHAB’s focus is primarily mobile device based. “With smartphone and tablet computer sales growing exponentially, we will all see huge growth in health care related applications in the next 24 months,” Krugh said.

“Venture firms have the ability to help a startup like IREHAB scale via business connections and capital,” Krugh said. According to Krugh, IREHAB’s net-worth is currently estimated at $1 million.

Carey, also known as “bruddah Brett” among Hawaiian locals, said he loved the motivation behind the app and didn’t hesitate to get involved.

“Luckily for me he was in need of an on island Doctor of Physical Therapy and currently there are only three DPTs on the island,” Carey said.

Carey immersed himself in the avant garde app by spending late nights developing various physical therapy tips and exercises and uploading them on IREHAB.com, its Twitter page (@IREHAB) and its Facebook page, http://on.fb.me/hMxfSN.

Britni Maher, a graduate student at the University of St. Augustine in Florida for physical therapy, said IREHAB.com can make an impact on health care because it encourages individuals to try self treatment.

“People have come to rely on doctors to treat their basic problems instead of opening their eyes to the wealth of knowledge available that explains how simple exercises can sometimes be the cure,” Maher said.

Physical Therapist Rob Tucker (MSPT), president of Tucker Rehab Therapy Clinic in New Jersey left this comment on IREHAB’s home page; “As a PT, I lean on IREHAB’s applications to help my patients get sound trusted advice in between treatments or when traveling. Helps them remain more consistent which promotes quicker healing on our side.”

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