Telemedicine is an excellent way for physical therapists to deliver high quality and convenient care while also simultaneously improving practice profitability. The modern telehealth software technology makes it easy to support their patients as they go through their treatment plans without the frequent visit to the clinics. It is the go to option for every patient in these pandemic times and also for those who have trouble travelling who need to consult a physical therapist. Let us understand telemedicine for physical therapy in a much more detailed manner.
Common Telehealth Services Provided By Physical Therapists
Some of the common telehealth physical therapy provided by physical therapists are:
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
The main focus of orthopedic physical therapy is on providing treatment for conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system including joints, bones, ligaments and tendons. Through virtual physical therapy, patients can be guided on exercises meant for strengthening, flexibility, balance and functional mobility. It will help patients that have gone through a surgery and also in addressing chronic conditions.
Geriatric Physical Therapy
Remote physical therapy is an appealing option to patients in their old age and are affected by conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, hip and joint replacements and balance disorders. Telehealth decreases the burden on both patients and caregivers and enhances the adherence to the treatment plans.
Neurological Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is extremely essential for patients suffering from neurological disease and injuries. With the help of remote physical therapy following a neurological injury, patients can regain their mobility and preserve various functions. They will also be able to perform daily tasks and enjoy their independence in a more affordable and convenient way.
Application Of Telemedicine In Physical Therapy
Follow Up Visit
By utilising telemedicine for routine follow up and monitoring visits, the treatment becomes more efficient for the physical therapist and patients. It decreases the chances of missing appointments and hence increasing the completion of the entire physical therapy treatment plan by the patients. It enhances the patient’s outcomes.
Chronic Condition Management
It is possible that patients with chronic conditions require a short period of intensive therapy by their physical therapists. They might also require long term care to sustain wellness. By the use of telemedicine software, patients find it easier and more affordable to maintain control over their health.
Post Hospitalization Care
Physical therapy is extremely needed after orthopedic surgeries and other hospitalizations. Through telehealth for physical therapy, there is zero need for patients to travel when their mobility is lost or requires the use of medications that should not be taken while driving.
For sports medicine, physical therapists use telemedicine software to facilitate diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sports related injuries both on and off the field.
Improved Profitability And Increased Flexibility
Telemedicine visits take way less time than traditional in person visits for physical therapy. It decreases the time which is wasted on administrative tasks that do not add value to the patient. Through telehealth, physical therapists are able to invest more time interacting with the patients. They would even be able to see more patients than they usually used to. It thereby boosts the revenue growth without any administrative overhead.
Physical therapy visits and assessments are more time taking and lengthier than usual medical visits. Cancellations and not showing up can produce massive inconvenience. Telemedicine is a holy grail since the convenience makes the patients extremely unlikely to skip any appointment due to transportation, work and childcare issues.
The advantage of checking up patients without the need of staying in their clinics/office gives incredible flexibility to the physical therapists. They can work at home or even while travelling and extend hours in the evening or weekends maintaining better work life balance.
Research Show The Effectiveness Of Physical Teletherapy
According to a report published in January 2020 in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 287 people with a mean age of 65 years went through a total knee replacement surgery. Half of them used in-office or at-home physical therapy treatment while the other half used virtual exercise rehabilitation (VERA) treatment. The virtual physical therapy group on top of that received telehealth visits by physical therapists every week and designed individualized physical therapy treatment programs for them.
According to the studies, patients who used the VERA system were hospitalized way less and were much more physically active than those who received traditional physical therapy treatment.
Benefits Of Telemedicine For Physical Therapists
Telemedicine for physical therapists and patients helps in avoiding the chances of missed appointments, failure to comply with physical therapy treatment plan and long intervals between visits. Online visits make it easier for the patients to stay engaged in their treatment and thereby rapidly increase the recovery rate.
What You Need For Virtual Physical Therapy Visit
A few basic requirements for a successful virtual physical therapy with your physical therapist are given below.
- A good internet connection
- Proper lighting
- Adequate space to lie, move around, walk and stretch so that your physical therapist can see how your body moves.