Musculoskeletal injury and disease are the most common causes of morbidity across the globe, and unfortunately, the very nature of these problems makes treating them difficult. For a patient with a musculoskeletal disorder, the sheer will to get to appointments can be impossible to muster. Telehealth can help your musculoskeletal physiotherapy patients develop a routine that works for them.
Remotely accessing your patients (and vice versa) is a huge benefit when traveling to a doctor's appointment can be nearly impossible. Telehealth provides incredible access and positive benefits for patients, but there are some limitations and considerations when using it for therapy patients.
Telehealth and Physical Therapy
Remote doctor visits have become increasingly commonplace and widespread among physicians and patients. A boom in tech has made them significantly more diagnostically capable, and they're accessible for patients with mobility or travel limitations. Telehealth has a significant impact and future implications on student training through AI, VR, and augmented reality systems.
The ways telehealth interfaces with physiotherapy are pretty elegant, allowing you to remotely connect with your patient in the comfort of their home. If they need more secure surroundings, you can still connect with them remotely at a closer facility with easier access. Even considering interfacing with patients in nursing homes or rehab facilities, the limitation that the need for travel imposes is frustrating and easily defeated with telehealth.
1 - Consider your patient's abilities
If you have a patient with a considerable musculoskeletal disorder, coordination problems, or balance issues, remote work might not be viable. Consider your patient's ability to adhere to physical therapy without significant assistance. If they need help, see if they have a family member or friend that can assist them in their sessions.
The ideal situation is that you can reduce their in-office visits for therapy and give them more freedom. Less travel means less pain and difficulty, but only if the treatment will be as beneficial as in-office visits. You need to ensure that they have full capability to complete therapy remotely before proceeding.
2 - Mode of delivery
Some patients do best when they have a session in the office, learn the basics of therapy, and then have subsequent remote visits. Some will thrive remotely, and others will need a complete off/on hybrid model. Speak with your patients and their families to see what support they have at home and how best they will respond to the remote work. It may take a few sessions before you truly know what works best for them.
3 - Make sure they Prepare their physical environment
Ask your patient for a "tour" of the area you'll be working in to understand what problems might arise during their session. They may think they have plenty of room for therapy, but you might see problems they don't. Additionally, you can help them make changes that would be beneficial during your session or suggest to friends/family ways they can help. You'll also want to ensure they have everything they need for therapy work, from actual therapy equipment to technology like screens or speakers and a microphone.
4 - Ensure your telehealth interface is accessible
Your telehealth platform might be excellent, but your patients might have difficulty if it only works on Firefox and not Chrome or IE. Additionally, suppose they need specific plug-ins and equipment aside from what regular virtual visits require. In that case, it's not valuable for a wide range of demographics. You need to make sure your telehealth partner is accessible, easy to use, and beneficial to you and your patients.
5 - Get constant feedback
Telehealth is a great tool, but it's useless if you're not seeing how it truly benefits your patients. Get their feedback on how therapy is going, if they feel like it's helping, and how they feel about it being remote versus in-person. Additionally, ensure your platform can help take actual data feedback, whether that's range of motion, strength, endurance, or anything else you're working on. Constantly get feedback and adjust accordingly.
Telehealth Can Help Make Physiotherapy Easier
One of the most significant barriers to adherence to physiotherapy is pain or difficulty associated with travel. Patients who can interact directly with you using virtual visits will often stick with the program. Adherence to therapy means better outcomes and better quality of life.
ViTel has designed our telehealth platform to help you and your patients achieve maximum virtual results as simply as possible. Our system can help streamline your office and patient interface, saving you time and making life easier for everyone involved. If you'd like to see how ViTel can help you, contact us today for a demo.
Improve your physiotherapy with ViTel telehealth and see the difference in your patients' lives.