What is Telerehabilitation?
Updated: May 12
Since there is a lot of different terminology used in this ever expanding "field of healthcare provided at a distance", let's start by getting on the same page with some definitions:
Telehealth a broad term that telerehabilitation falls under. Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. Telerehabilitation involves the provision of physiotherapy services at a distance using communication technology such as video conferencing. While telerehabilitation and telehealth have been around for over 20 years, it is still considered a new concept. Many of the conditions typically seen in a physiotherapy clinic are now possible to treat using modern technology. In addition the physiotherapists, many other health care professionals are incorporating telehealth and into their practice including doctors, occupational therapists, and dieticians.
Research has shown that telerehabilitation assessment and treatment are at least equal to, and in some cases superior to, in-person physiotherapy. To many of us, it may come as a surprise that a physiotherapy session can be delivered through telerehabilitation. We don't view telerehabilitation as replacing the physical visit to a clinic but are more than happy to provide this service option for clients With creativity and problem solving, a great variety of patients can be assessed, educated, instructed in exercise, advised in home therapy measures, monitored, and more—all from a distance!
The evolution and affordability of the personal computer, the centrality of the internet, the advent of the smartphone and mobile devices, the development of wearables and sensors, and the convergence and compounding innovation have all been supporting the growth in all areas of telehealth.
The benefits of telerehabiliation to the client include:
Convenience and privacy of the appointment in their own home
Access to physiotherapy for people in rural and remote locations
Eliminate travel time to and from a clinic
Being able to see a certain expert who is not in their geographical location
The ability to be assessed very quickly post injury
Excellent patient satisfaction demonstrated in clinical studies
Reduced Out- of-Pocket Patient Costs
Chris Kennedy, Registered Physiotherapist