Are online Physio consults effective?
It’s all good news this time. Necessity is the mother of invention they say and at Barossa Physiotherapy that is just what is happening. The COVID-19 Crisis has meant we have had to temporarily close our doors to In-Room Physiotherapy.
Not to be kept down for long, we have been working long and hard to get TeleHealth up and running. In the Physio world we call it Digital Physiotherapy but it is the same thing. Clients need only a laptop or Smart Phone and a free App on their device that we help them download and they are good to go. From our end, we use a secure platform with encryption from end to end to de-identify clients. Clients can feel safe and secure as they do in our Bricks and Mortar rooms.
But does it work?
Physiotherapists are hands on professionals, right? Well yes, and yes. The evidence tells us that Digital Physiotherapy is in fact, effective. The Research shows that it is not only effective but in some instances, even more so than physical treatments. 1
While you might only just be hearing about telehealth for the first time, it is not actually all that new. It's been an evolving platform for Allied Health and Medicine for a little while now, so there is a wealth of study looking at the efficacy of assessment and treatment and the patient’s perception of the advantages of Digital Physiotherapy. So we can confidently say:
"Yes, it works....and it works really well".
Importantly, it's been found that there is no more diagnosis error than with a hands-on approach, and in fact, it is felt that the Physiotherapist can be more focused on the conversation, less rushed to fit it all in and can spend more energy and time on their most valuable clinical reasoning skills. Clients also value the lack of travel, the benefits of staying at home and the convenience of Digital Physiotherapy.2
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that clients become more independent, feel more empowered and develop skills in self-treatment.
The clients are more invested in their management and more proactive in their own care, they see they have the tools to get better themselves.3
At Barossa Physiotherapy, we are very excited about this opportunity that has thrust itself upon us in a crisis and can see the advantages of this platform to take us into a completely new area of the business.
Please contact us if you'd like some more information, and stay tuned for updates as we implement this innovation.
(For those interested in the actual evidence, here are just three of a multitude of studies in this area, as referenced above)
Russell T, Truter P, Blumke R, Richardson B; The diagnostic accuracy of telerehabilitation for non articular lower-limb musculoskeletal disorders, Telemedicine and eHealth2010
Moffet H, Michel Tousignant, Nadeau S: In-home telerehabilitation compared with face-to-face rehabilitation after total knee arthroplasty: a noninferiority randomized controlled trial J Bone Joint Surg 2015
Peretti A, Amenta F, S K Tayebati, Nittari G, Mahdi S,: Telerehabilitation: Review of the State-of-the-Art and Areas of Application JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies 2017