Precision Rehabilitation: Optimizing Function, Adding Value to Health Care

Published:February 15, 2022DOI:


      • Precision rehabilitation delivers targeted interventions that optimize function.
      • Heterogeneous study designs and databases are critical to precision rehabilitation.
      • Standardized and accurate measures of function advance precision rehabilitation.
      • System and team science are critical to the success of precision rehabilitation.
      • Deliberate action by researchers, professional organizations, and funders is needed.


      Precision medicine efforts are underway in many medical disciplines; however, the power of precision rehabilitation has not yet been explored. Precision medicine aims to deliver the right intervention, at the right time, in the right setting, for the right person, ultimately bolstering the value of the care that we provide. To date, precision medicine efforts have rarely focused on function at the level of a person, but precision rehabilitation is poised to change this and bring the focus on function to the broader precision medicine enterprise. To do this, subgroups of individuals must be identified based on their level of function via precise measurement of their abilities in the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial domains. Adoption of electronic health records, advances in data storage and analytics, and improved measurement technology make this shift possible. Here we detail critical components of the precision rehabilitation framework, including (1) the synergistic use of various study designs, (2) the need for standardized functional measurements, (3) the importance of precise and longitudinal measures of function, (4) the utility of comprehensive databases, (5) the importance of predictive analyses, and (6) the need for system and team science. Precision rehabilitation has the potential to revolutionize clinical care, optimize function for all individuals, and magnify the value of rehabilitation in health care; however, to reap the benefits of precision rehabilitation, the rehabilitation community must actively pursue this shift.


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