Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

A complex stroke rehab pathway made easy for therapists to access

We reorganized the algorithm into a series of questions, making it more straightforward and easier to understand for therapists.

Toronto Rehab Institute (TRI) assembled a research panel to study rehabilitation methods for stroke patients with upper extremity impairments. The team created an evidence-based algorithm—or clinical pathway—to help physical therapists choose the best treatments for their patients. The lead physician on the team brought us on board to turn the complex algorithm into VIAtherapy, a go-to tool for therapists and their patients.

To orient the design to real users, we interviewed physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and therapy assistants and created User Profiles for the project. Originally, we were going to create a desktop website available to all users on their laptop/desktop devices. Since physiotherapists and occupational therapists are most likely to have access to their smartphones while working, we readjusted our plan and developed a responsive website suitable for mobile screens.

In the interaction design phase, we reorganized the algorithm into a series of questions, making it more straightforward and easier to understand for therapists.



Initially, the team envisioned including a feature that would enable users to scroll through a robust “library” of therapies. However, we recommended against this as it would undermine the strength and validity of the algorithm—which make recommendations based on specific patient goals and attributes. To provide therapists with the flexibility of choice, we implemented a star rating system for each treatment so that the recommendations could be further categorized by ranking.

VIAtherapy wordmark

VIAtherapy wordmark

Beyond the content and interaction design, we researched and surveyed the expert group to hammer out a name for the tool and a visual look-and-feel using moodboards and detailed UI styleboards. The fabricated name, VIAtherapy, comes from the Latin term for pathway.

Mood and Style Boards

Mood and Style Boards

To develop a strong look for the app, we incorporated a colour palette that evokes the themes of rejuvenation and rehabilitation and ties back to the parent organization, TRI, for a sense of validation.


Therapy recommendations are based on specific patient goals and attributes, which are determined using a set of questions.

With the successful launch of the VIAtherapy app, we are set to design and develop three more apps in this series for TRI.