On 27 September we attended the largest physiotherapy fair in Europe: FISIOEXPO 2023. There we met many physiotherapists with their own clinics, others who work in hospitals or for insurance companies and we realised that there are many questions about telerehabilitation or digital physiotherapy.
In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions that came up.
1. Is telerehabilitation effective?
Yes, numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of telerehabilitation in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, low back pain, hip and knee replacement, but also in pathologies such as multiple sclerosis and cardio-respiratory rehabilitation. The results can be as effective as in-person therapy and better than no rehabilitation at all.
2. Is telerehabilitation safe?
There are two aspects of security to be taken into account. On the one hand, when using information and communication technologies, it is a prerequisite that professionals can ensure the protection of patient data. It is therefore advisable for telerehabilitation to be carried out on secure platforms that comply with medical data privacy regulations and are certified as medical devices.
On the other hand, there is the physical safety of the patient exercising at home. For that, we will have the same precautions that the professional has in clinical practice: to make sure that we indicate an appropriate therapy for the clinical conditions of the patient.
3. What equipment and certifications do I need to offer telerehabilitation?
All rehabilitation professionals are legally qualified to carry out telerehabilitation. There is no specific qualification for telerehabilitation, only the availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, achieving effective treatments not only involves having a good command of the software or application, but also having the ability to assign therapeutic exercises, having solid communication skills to maintain a fluid interaction with patients at a distance, and gradually achieving the practice of this treatment modality.
At ReHub we offer a training and support service to all professionals in hospitals or insurance companies, to share with them everything we have learned over the years.
with the professionals who use the platform. All our customers also receive information Webinars, and have the possibility to contact our product specialist in order to arrive safely at the first telerehabilitation session with a patient.
4. How much time do I need to implement telerehabilitation in my centre?
The implementation of telerehabilitation in a centre does not require an excessive amount of time, but rather the incorporation of the technology into the routine of the professionals.
Respecting your learning curve will naturally lead you to be more effective in the use of your time and in what you offer your patients. At ReHub we help you in this learning process through the material sent to you and with our personalised attention.
When dealing with larger centres such as hospitals, it is advisable to hold induction sessions with all members of the unit, as well as setting objectives and appointing a spokesperson or delegate who can help guide the process.
5. What conditions or injuries can be treated with telerehabilitation in physiotherapy?
There are pathologies with greater scientific evidence for online treatment, such as those mentioned in question 1, but beyond pathologies we must think about which patients are suitable for telerehabilitation. All patients whose clinical condition is suitable for therapeutic exercise, who have no contraindications for it, and who agree to carry out part or all of the rehabilitation remotely, are SUITABLE for telerehabilitation.
6. How do I customise telerehabilitation treatments?
To successfully adapt exercises and treatments to telerehabilitation, the first crucial step is to conduct a detailed assessment of each patient’s specific needs. Establishing clear communication about the goals and process of telerehabilitation is essential, as is encouraging constant feedback for effective collaboration.
On flexible platforms such as ReHub, customising exercises is easy. From adjusting repetitions, sets and pauses to modifying the range of motion (ROM) of various exercises, our platform offers the flexibility to adapt to individual needs. The ability to upload your own videos adds an additional level of customisation, allowing you to tailor your treatment specifically.
Finally, regular patient monitoring is essential to proactively adapt the treatment plan and ensure effective rehabilitation.
Add to this our Computer Vision technology and you have a wealth of information about the quality of your patients’ movement!
7. What are the keys to success in incorporating telerehabilitation in my physiotherapy clinic?
The key factor for success is to be enthusiastic about every task you undertake. However, when introducing new services, it is essential to pay attention to several aspects. For example, it is crucial to ensure that patients are informed about the services by distributing flyers or posters in the waiting room. In addition, having a dedicated section on your website or posting on your social media channels can be very helpful.
Once your clients are aware of the option of receiving online therapy, don’t neglect to maintain ongoing communication through chat or video calls. This practice will strengthen the connection, giving them a sense of companionship even at a distance and encouraging greater adherence to the service.
Finally, to facilitate the process of paying for sessions, consider creating service packages. This strategy will not only simplify the financial transaction, but also provide your clients with flexible and convenient options.
8. What advantages does telerehabilitation offer in physiotherapy practice?
Telerehabilitation in physiotherapy has significant advantages, such as remote access from home, uninterrupted treatment continuity, time flexibility, elimination of geographical barriers, increased adherence to treatment, use of technology for interactive sessions, time and cost savings, and a more personalised approach by tailoring treatment programmes to individual patient needs. These advantages contribute to more accessible, convenient and effective care.
9. How do I choose a telerehabilitation platform?
Before incorporating a telerehabilitation platform into your practice, carefully assess its safety, compliance, accessibility and usability. Make sure it offers effective communication tools and physiotherapy-specific features, such as progress tracking and adaptability of treatment programmes. Verify integration with additional technologies, quality of technical support, and pilot testing for direct feedback. Consider integration with electronic medical records, costs, scalability, and seek opinions and recommendations from other healthcare professionals. This detailed analysis will ensure that you choose an effective and appropriate platform for your needs. Discover the definitive checklist of documentation that a telerehabilitation platform with real-time tracking and feedback must comply with.
10. How do I get my patients to comply with therapy?
Assertive communication plays a key role. Setting clear goals provides clear direction, while appropriate dosage of therapeutic exercise ensures gradual and sustainable progress. The key lies in constant monitoring and agile adaptation of the treatment plan according to individual needs. This combination of strategies not only keeps patients engaged, but also ensures effective results throughout the entire telerehabilitation process.
Telerehabilitation is here to stay, and we hope this article has helped clear up some of your doubts. If you are considering incorporating ReHub into your clinical practice, we encourage you to book a demo to determine if it is right for you. Digital health is here to stay!
(1) Seron P, Oliveros MJ, Gutierrez-Arias R, Fuentes-Aspe R, Torres-Castro RC, Merino-Osorio C, Nahuelhual P, Inostroza J, Jalil Y, Solano R, Marzuca-Nassr GN, Aguilera-Eguía R, Lavados-Romo P, Soto-Rodríguez FJ, Sabelle C, Villarroel-Silva G, Gomolán P, Huaiquilaf S, Sanchez P. Effectiveness of Telerehabilitation in Physical Therapy: A Rapid Overview. Phys Ther. 2021 Jun 1;101(6):pzab053. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzab053. PMID: 33561280; PMCID: PMC7928601