Rehabilitation and physiotherapy in times of pandemic

15 April, 2020

Everything that can be done from a distance, without leaving home, takes on special importance in these weeks of confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Stopping the rehabilitation process is harmful to the patient’s health, but how can we protect physiotherapists and patients who are especially exposed to the coronavirus because they cannot keep a safe distance? 

To answer this point we talk about telerehabilitation: it allows not only to perform exercises at a distance, but also to personalize the treatment and make a constant diagnosis and follow-up. What are the main advantages for doctors and rehabilitators? And for patients? Let’s go over it! 

Minimising risks and personalising treatments: the advantages for professionals 

According to a recent article in The Verge (referenced by the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth – ISfTeH), in the last major viral outbreak before Covid-19 (SARS, in 2002), one-fifth of the cases involved health workers. This puts further strain on an already stressed health system during a pandemic phase. 

That is why one of the main advantages of telerehabilitation or remote rehabilitation is the possibility of continuing to provide the services while avoiding risks for health professionals, in this case rehabilitators, physiotherapists and/or osteopaths. 

But beyond prevention and protection, there are many other advantages. The telerehabilitation platforms offer a great deal of precise data, constantly updated in real time, which allows professionals greater control over the evolution of the treatments, as well as more precise adaptation and personalization for each patient.  

Last but not least, digital rehabilitation adds (after amortization of the necessary technological investment) a plus of economic sustainability to the health and medical system, by reducing the presence in consultations and speeding up waiting lists.

Improved treatment adherence and constant monitoring: the benefits for patients 

As in the case of professionals, patients also benefit from less risk of contagion and infection by avoiding trips to the medical centre for their rehabilitation sessions.  

Motivation and co-responsibility with the treatment are other advantages for patients, who can feel more involved in their improvement and evolution. This motivation, together with the possibility of incorporating a certain level of gamification and the attraction that in many cases the use of innovative technology has, achieve more adherence and a lower rate of abandonment, and therefore the therapies are more effective. 

In addition, through digital rehabilitation platforms, patients have more direct contact with their professional, a constant feedback that contributes to greater peace of mind and mutual trust. 

Access to a remote rehabilitation for the patient means receiving a high quality service at a lower cost of time and no transport costs. 

ReHub®: the efficient and personalised rehabilitation platform

DyCare’s commitment to telerehabilitation is embodied in ReHub®a digital platform that covers all phases of the rehabilitation process, from the first visit to the patient’s full recovery.  

The physiotherapist has a series of functionalities that allow him/her to create a personalized rehabilitation program, and to accurately follow the patient’s evolution as he/she performs the proposed exercises.  This follow-up is possible thanks to real and objective data of the patient’s movement and muscular strength, collected by our sensor and elaborated by intelligent algorithms.  

The professional will also be able to program follow-up questionnaires that the patients will be able to answer through their app. 

ReHub offers the patient a novel way of doing rehabilitation that guides them through each exercise and trains them with real-time performance biofeedback. The patient will never feel alone because the virtual coach Diana will continuously support and help the patient in the execution of the exercise, correcting it if necessary. The tranquility of being always connected and supervised by the professional increases the motivation to follow the treatment. 

“As a result of the COVID-19 health emergency and the need to be able to establish closer contact with the patient, there has been a 200% increase in the use of video calls on the platform between physiotherapists and patients,” says Ricardo Jauregui, CTO of DyCare.

TESTIMONY

Physiotherapist Roberta Vaj, owner of the Rusconi centre in Italy, confirms the importance of adopting digital solutions: 

“Working as a physiotherapist during a period as difficult as a pandemic forced me to find new solutions and, in part, to change the way I work. That is why I chose telerehabilitation and, in particular, the DyCare ReHub platform for its therapeutic effectiveness and because it is safe and professional. Patients have enthusiastically accepted this method because not only can they continue their rehabilitation process, but they have eliminated their sense of abandonment, which is one of the most important aspects of the situation we are experiencing. 

Jose, a total knee replacement patient, shares his vision after using ReHub: “ReHub for me is a joy, in these days of restrictions by Covid 19. Knowing that I can exercise at home and that my physical therapist is supervising me makes me feel safe and confident. 

Amelia adds, “ReHub has motivated me to do the exercises! I wasn’t in the mood to do anything these days, but thanks to ReHub, doing the exercises is like a game! .

Testimonials such as those of Roberta, Jose or Amelia, where professionals and patients explain their pleasant experience with ReHub, motivates us to continue working for the excellence of our products. At this time, collaborating with the health community makes us feel closer, despite the obligatory distance, to all physiotherapists, rehabilitators and, of course, patients.