Tele-Physical Therapy: A New Way to Treat Patients in Today’s Health Crisis
What is tele- PT?
A physical therapy tele-visit is a HIPAA compliant, virtual appointment with a Physical Therapist that patients can attend from the comfort of their own homes. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many health professionals are transitioning to online medical services. Fortunately, most insurance companies are covering tele-visits and some are even waiving copayments in order to encourage online visits and continued care*.
What are the benefits of a virtual PT appointment?
- You can attend the appointment from your home using your personal computer or mobile device.
- You can receive personalized care from a Physical Therapist and continue one-on-one therapy.
- With the help of two-way video, your PT can guide you through any home exercises and correct your form.
- You can continue and modify your exercise regimens to prevent stagnation or regression in your condition.
- Your Physical Therapist can assess your home workplace and correct any set-up that is not ergonomically friendly.
What conditions can be treated using tele-PT?
- Musculoskeletal conditions– shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, back pain, etc.
- Balance and strengthening– especially important for geriatric populations
- Acute or chronic sports injuries– ankle sprain, shoulder impingement, etc.
- Post-surgical rehabilitation– hip or knee replacement, knee reconstruction (ex. ACL/MCL repair), biceps tendon or rotator cuff repair
- Ergonomic assessment– evaluation of home workstation
According to a 2019 study, most patients are highly satisfied with tele-health experiences, and telehealth enhances health care for patients who are unable to attend physical appointments.2,3 Additional studies found that tele-health appointments were especially beneficial for patients with chronic conditions like lower back pain.2
Tele-health is an effective way to continue physical therapy treatment and promote your health even when unforeseen circumstances prevent you from attending in-person therapy appointments. Virtual appointments are a great way to improve health outcomes for individuals with busy lifestyles, people who live in rural areas, those who struggle to arrange consistent transportation to physical appointments, and many others; It is our hope that upon the conclusion of the current health crisis, that individuals may continue to take advantage of tele-health options for physical therapy treatment
Kuether J, Moore A, Kapan J, et al. Telerehabilitation for total hip and knee arthroplasty patients: a pilot series with high patient satisfaction. HSS J. 2019;15(3):221–225.
Lovo S, Harrison L, O’Connell ME., Trask C, Bath B. Experience of patients and practitioners with a team and technology approach to chronic back disorder management. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2019;12:855–869.
Orlando JF, Beard M, Kumar S. Systematic review of patient and caregivers’ satisfaction with telehealth videoconferencing as a mode of service delivery in managing patients’ health. Plos One. 2019;14(8):e0221