Tele-Physical Therapy: A New Way to Treat Patients in Today’s Health Crisis

Caitlin Hard
Caitlin Hard Executive Assistant at AHS

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?

  1. You can attend the appointment from your home using your personal computer or mobile device.
  2. You can receive personalized care from a Physical Therapist and continue one-on-one therapy.
  3. With the help of two-way video, your PT can guide you through any home exercises and correct your form.
  4. You can continue and modify your exercise regimens to prevent stagnation or regression in your condition.
  5. 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?

  1. Musculoskeletal conditions– shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, back pain, etc.
  2. Balance and strengthening– especially important for geriatric populations
  3. Acute or chronic sports injuries– ankle sprain, shoulder impingement, etc.
  4. Post-surgical rehabilitation– hip or knee replacement, knee reconstruction (ex. ACL/MCL repair), biceps tendon or rotator cuff repair
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
*varies between health insurance provider and policies
Written by AHS Physical Therapist, Aesha Shah

If you have any further questions regarding your insurance coverage and benefits for tele-PT visits, feel free to call us.


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