#WCW: Asha Gummadi, PT, MS, NCS: Creator of Therex Portal

We at Talus Media have bounced off of the Social Media trend with a #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) Series of our own. Our goal is to highlight SHEros in the field who strive for success and community outreach. Our first winner is Asha Gummadi PT, MS, NCS who is the winner of National Geographic’s “Chasing Genius Unlimited Innovation” Award (out of 1,050 submissions), featured in Forbes Magazine, for developing Therex Portal.

Therex Portal is a remote Physical Therapy application for exercises, transfer trainings and educational tutorials for both the patient and their caregivers using skilled animations and video call appointments if needed! It is organized by diagnosis and is the only site out there that offers “customization in native dialects both in content and calligraphy” allowing it to be accessible all over the world, especially in underserved areas.

Please continue to read for our in depth interview with Asha our fit #WCW.

1.  What is your background information in the field:

  • Schooling: I have Pursued my Bachelor of Science from India (SVIMS University, Tirupati) and my Advanced Master of Science from Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.
  • Certifications:
    • Kensio taping Practitioner
    • Certified in NEURO-IFRAH approach
    • Neurological Clinical Specialist
    • Pursued Vestibular Competency Course through Emory University.

2. We understand you have a special interest in the neurological population, but what spiked this interest? Or, what got you to this point in your career?

My interest with Neuro Population spiked due to my professor in Clinical Neurology. His name is Dr. SGK. Krishnamoorthy. He used to be the head of Department of Neurology at the University I pursued Bachelors, now retired. Dr. Krishnamoorthy Sir’s way of teaching clinical neurology and complex clinical anatomy with intuitive logical reasoning has created immense interest in the field of neurology. It has laid a strong foundation and has also greatly helped me in passing NCS examination.

3. I think we all can connect with the frustration of loved ones not getting the best care, but can you tell us the story about what fueled your idea for Therex Portal?

*Side note: Asha created the idea of Therex Portal when she was frustrated that her Mother, who spoke Telugu, and grandfather in rural India were not able to access the care they needed and deserved.

As mentioned by you in your statement, frustration of my loved ones has fueled my interest. I also gained inspiration from other home exercise programs available in the market. However, as a Neurological Clinical Specialist I realized how most of the programs are primarily orthopedic and even if they include a few neurological diagnoses, they are not all inclusive of the neurological disorders.
Hence, I addressed the areas which would improve efficiency of the therapist and address the vast need of lack of skilled rehabilitation services across remote regions of the globe.

4. What was the process of getting Therex Portal running?

There is a dedicated team of professionals working on the application.

Technical:

We have coders who code the application, Ui and UX designers who have made the application intuitive and user friendly; testers who test the security and integrity of the application.

Content: 

The exercises that are compiled in Therex Portal are recommended by subject matter clinical experts, a team of graphic artists and animation designers have further created crystal clear exercises with multiple view angles for user understanding. A team of medical translators have translated the written descriptive instructions to multiple native languages for ease of understanding.

The obstacles that I faced initially- I tried to find individual developers who could work with me. However, I noticed a lack of engagement and consistency with these freelancers. After that, I switched my approach and hired businesses/ companies offering those services. I had more success this way and was able to progress my development at a faster pace with better quality control. It is a learning curve, and I am still learning.

5. We love the detailed animations, narratives provided in many languages, and caregiver education piece to Therex Portal, but what other features do you think sets this platform apart?

Intuitive Design and User-Friendly UI sets Therex Portal apart. A lot of time is spent on designing and developing the application to make intuitive sense to both right and left brain dominant therapists; making the learning curve is minimal to use the application.

Other features that set Therex Portal apart:

1) Patient Compliance can be tracked.
2) Majority of the Patients require education about clinical conditions. Therex Portal helps therapists educate the patients with easily accessible education handouts that are compiled from multiple authentic sources.
3) Patients can communicate with the treating therapist, leave feedback to the therapist and request an online video call appointment in the even that they require some clarifications. Therapists can also guide the patients personally with their exercises with our built-in video call feature.
4) Our built-in language software helps the patients leave descriptive feedback to their patients in patient’s native language as well.

5. How do you feel you/your program has made a difference?

I would like to give you an example of a therapist that is currently using Therex Portal to treat patient from a remote village in India:
Mr. Chandra Shekar Aravala, an experienced therapist practicing in the state of Indiana, has been using Therex Portal for the past month, to treat a patient with paraplegia from a D4 Complete spinal cord injury.
He has used our built-in exercises with native language instructions to treat the patient and also guide the physical therapist that is treating the patient.
Mr.Aravala states that Therex Portal has improved efficiency in treating this patient by drastically decreasing the time he spent guiding the treating therapist from 2 hours a session to 45 minutes a session. Chandra Shekar can select the needed exercises from a list of accessible exercises based on functional impairments seen in SCI. He also states that the patient’s outcomes have increased greatly with improved sitting balance, decreased assistance provided with transfers and improved standing tolerance secondary to improved compliance. Further, Chandra Shekar reports that prescribing Therex Portal’s HEP with animations and native language instructions has improved understanding of both caregiver and patient. In his own words Mr. Aravala states that “Therex Portal helped me achieve functional outcomes and improved my efficiency and productivity. “

6. What does a typical day look like? How do you like to relax?

My day is usually very busy. I work four 10-hour schedule so that I can get some flexibility of a day in a week and have the weekends to unwind with family. I like to relax either by going on a walk, biking, and or watching tv. When I feel like truly unplugging, I go on a beach vacation with family and ride bikes on the board walk. The sound of ocean waves is very relaxing.

7. Who inspires you? Say, a #WomanCrushWednesday?

My favorite inspiration among women is Mother Teresa. Her dedication to help the needy without expecting anything in return. Truly, her entire life inspires me.

  • “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
  • “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

8. Any words of wisdom for those aspiring PT students, new grads or those who want to create a program that will make a difference in our career?

Try to research and understand from the consumer point of view. Speak with your Patients and learn what their difficulties or pain points are. That is the only advise I can give to PT students.

 

Thank you again Asha for being our #WCW, your work is inspiring!

Make sure to listen to the full interview in the soundbite above. Check out our social media platforms @talusmedia for future #WCWs. If you would like to submit your own SHEros, DM us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!