Recently our founder, Nirtal Shah, sat down with the editor of App of the Day, a section of the online blog DownloadAstro, for an interview. DownloadAstro has 10 million monthly visits from users interested in technology, and their mobile apps section is the place where they introduce new and interesting apps every day. Keep reading below to learn about our founder and his journey creating Curovate! You can also find the full article here!

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

No! I am a physical therapist and I wanted a way to make physical therapy accessible by people globally. I found that in my 20-year career as a physical therapist many people could not afford to pay for physical therapy. I created my company and app, Curovate, to allow everyone to have access to physical therapy.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

The most challenging aspect is to make sure we are able to help people through an app while providing them with many of the things that they expect from health care. We are working in the area of mobile health, or mHealth, and we are constantly prioritizing health care access and people’s health care needs while delivering it through a technology solution. We are a health care company first and a technology company second.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

My favorite apps are Spotify, the NBA App, and a health app called Touch Surgery. The reasons for the first two are quite simple, I love music and I love basketball. I use Spotify for workouts or to just listen to good music with my kids. I have been a basketball fan my whole life so the NBA app allows me to watch highlights of my favorite team, the Toronto Raptors.

Lastly, and to be a bit nerdy, the Touch surgery app allows people to learn how to actually do surgical procedures. It simulates many of the most common surgical procedures and I use this with my patients to teach them about a surgery they are going to have. I think it is a really good resource and such a cool way to reduce anxiety and teach people about surgery.

How long have you been working on this app?

I have been working in the area of mobile health since 2011. What you see in the App Store and Play Store has been 10 years in the making!

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

he main need I had in mind was access to physical therapy for people prior to and after surgery. I wanted people to be able to access daily exercise videos, be able to measure their knee or hip movements with just their phone, and track their progress all through our app. I wanted to bring as many aspects of physical therapy as I could to the person who needs it directly on their mobile device.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

I think we are entirely focused on helping people and this makes us unique. There are apps that help people before and after surgery, but the difference is that you can only access these apps if you have had your surgery at a particular hospital. They are creating another barrier to access for people who have had surgery. These apps are reinforcing health inequalities where healthcare is only available to some and not to everyone who needs it. We are entirely focused on the people who need physical therapy after surgery or injury. Similar apps are not designed by physical therapists or with health care providers so they lack the health care expertise in their apps.

The thing I am most proud of is when we receive a review or an email from a person in India, or Sweden, or Zimbabwe or Australia that describes how our app has helped their recovery after surgery or injury. To know that we are able to make a global impact on access to physical therapy is what I am most proud of!

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

One feature I am really excited about is adding “chat with a physical therapist” to our app. We are working on a way to have chat built into our app which would allow people using our app to ask a health care question and have their question answered by a real live physical therapist. How cool would that be if you could chat with a physical therapist after surgery and have your concerns addressed and questions answered in real-time!

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

We would love for people who have had or are going to have surgery for their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) a knee replacement or a hip replacement to try our app for their recovery. We always appreciate feedback and would love it if you could share our app with others who could benefit from using it prior to or after surgery. Also, as the CEO and a physical therapist, I love hearing from people who are using our app. I can be reached at nirtal@curovate.com

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