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Permobil Blog / January 29, 2019

Promoting Improved Outcomes with the Smart Evaluation App


Part 1 in our Smart Evaluation App blog series


Evidence-based practice is now a buzz word in the medical community. As therapists we increasingly must show that our interventions have positive outcomes and we are being asked for evidence of these outcomes in our value-based care model. It’s no longer about the amount of services that are provided, but increasingly about the value or quality of the services that we provide.

When we are involved in the provision of wheeled mobility, resources to quantitatively or objectively qualify our services and facilitate funding of equipment are difficult to find. Especially when justifying technology such as power assist for a client who wants to continue using manual mobility but needs that extra assistance to be efficient and independent. In addition, training a client on a newer technology like power assist can be intimidating when you’ve only had an inservice and introduction to the product.

Permobil has designed a new app, Smart Evaluation App, that standardizes SmartDrive power assist training and allows the therapist to collect objective data to demonstrate outcomes. It also provides a “one stop shop” for all training and education resources related to manual mobility and power assist. The training and resources are designed to help therapists develop a standardized and consistent approach to evaluating a client for power assist, specifically SmartDrive. This standardized approach will promote improved outcomes and will provide therapists with objective data they can use to confidently justify the need for our clients. Before we go into how the app works, let’s look at how SmartDrive works as a power assist device for manual mobility



SmartDrive: How does it work?

Power assist in general is the use of technology to assist with the “push” phase of independent manual wheelchair propulsion. SmartDrive is a power assist method that uses a single motor add-on component that weighs approximately 12.5lbs and is detachable. It is controlled by the Pushtracker, which is an accelerometer based wearable band similar to a FitBit.


When tap gestures to the drive wheel are recognized, they signal the motor via Bluetooth. A double-tap activates the motor. It then begins to accelerate at a rate programmed by the end user or therapist. A single tap locks in the speed, at which point all the user needs to do is steer the chair. When the user wants to stop, another double-tap disengages the motor, at which point the user will coast and brake with their hands.

Although SmartDrive is not complicated to use, it does require evaluation, training and practice. This is where the Smart Evaluation App comes in to standardize the process and guide a therapist step by step.


What is the SmartDrive Evaluation App?

The app is a one stop resource for the therapist or ATP when considering power assist for a client. It literally walks you through:

  • SmartDrive training, ensuring user safety and confidence using the device
  • SmartDrive evaluations, providing objective data for documentation and justification
  • Trouble shooting common issues with a Frequently Asked Questions section
  • Tracking the nearest demo equipment
  • Finding previous evaluations for treatment or billing purposes

Once you sign in, you will have 5 Sections to choose from: 

Section 1:

Device Overview

Section 2:


Section 3:

Clinical Tools

Section 4:


Section 5:



In the next few weeks we will look at each section in depth and show how this App can be a go-to clinical tool when considering power assist. Join me next week to learn more about the Device Overview and Videos section of the Smart Evaluation App!


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Stacey Mullis.jpgStacey Mullis, OTR/ATP
Director of Clinical Marketing

Stacey serves as Director of Clinical Marketing for Permobil. A practicing OTR for over 20 years, she has experience in school-based pediatrics, inpatient rehabilitation, long term care, and home health. With her interest in wheelchair seating and positioning, Stacey engaged the challenges of providing appropriate seating in various clinical settings. She now uses this experience to develop programs and resources to educate clinicians on the principles of seating and wheeled mobility. She is passionate about equipping clinicians and through her previous role as Director of Clinical Education with Comfort Company and now with Permobil she has taught nationally and internationally to increase therapist capacity in this specialty area. Mullis graduated from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada with a BA Linguistics and BSc Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the NCOTA, CTF Executive Board, NRRTs, RESNA, and AOTA.


Curtis-Merring_WebClinicalCurtis A. Merring, ORT, MOT
Director of Market Development, Manual Products

Curtis A. Merring, OTR, MOT received both his undergraduate psychology degree and masters in occupational therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. While at university he was involved in research on multiple studies dealing with psychosocial disorders, wheelchair seating, and neurological recovery of the upper extremity for stroke patients. As an occupational therapist and researcher for the past 9 years he was responsible for treating and investigating spinal cord injury and stroke. This included being awarded multiple small grants and coordinating research projects between the clinic and local universities. Curtis has also worked as a Director of Therapy Services in the geriatric setting including opening and managing rehabilitation departments at multiple locations. During his time as a director he developed a program called “Seating System Management in Skilled Nursing Facilities and Long Term Care”, that was a continuing education course he taught to facilities in both Texas and California. The goal of the course was to improve the seating systems of a very underserved population. Curtis is currently the Director of Market Development, Manual Products.

Categories: Complex Rehab, Power Assist

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