Telemedicine, the solution to waiting lists in rehabilitation

2 July, 2019

Currently, the shortage of specialists and the long waiting lists in rehabilitation make it necessary to incorporate telemedicine into health care in the West.

To learn first-hand about this scenario in the healthcare system and the opinion of an expert on possible solutions, we spoke with Dr. Marco Conti, former president of the European Shoulder and Elbow Society (EUSSER), PhD in sports medicine and shoulder consultant in different rehabilitation centres in Italy. In addition, he is a member of DyCare’s Medical Board and actively participates in the development of the company’s digital solutions to ensure that they meet the demands and needs of the medical sector.

Interview with Dr. Marco Conti

What is the current picture in public health?

Managing time from the moment a surgeon or doctor places a patient on the waiting list until healthcare provides a rehabilitation service is a serious problem throughout Western Europe. Currently, the demand for care services exceeds the budgets available in the different countries, which means an increase in waiting lists. To cope with this situation, telemedicine can play an important role from different points of view, both for the patient as well as for the health system.

It should be noted that the cost of home care is four times lower than hospital care but it is still used little despite the fact that there are areas where it could be implemented. This was stated by experts at the recent National Conference on Home Care opened in Pisa, Italy.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?

Thanks to telemedicine, waiting time can become the time of preparation for treatment, especially if it is a surgical intervention. It can also be used for patient education to correct lifestyles and improve patient empowerment, for monitoring specific parameters or for the execution of activity programs aimed at weight loss and improving cardiovascular efficiency, toning and mobility.

This technological resource improves the optimization of health care services, saving time and economic costs, as well as extending health care coverage to areas with less access to specialists.

Why is the doctor-patient relationship important? 

Telemedicine is a fundamental part of improving and maintaining a relationship between doctor and patient: a more effective, transparent and continuous communication.

The possibility that the patient can communicate directly through a digital platform with the professionals involved can help you quickly overcome your doubts about how to follow the therapeutic program. In addition, you can authorize the physician to share his or her medical history with other rehabilitation specialists or physical therapists, so that optimal clinical decisions can be made.

The doctor, for his part, can access the patient’s information whenever and wherever he wants, monitor his evolution, and adapt the treatment remotely if necessary.

What advantages does the ReHub solution offer professionals and patients?

ReHub, based on an online platform that connects the patient, the physiotherapist and the doctor, makes it easy to carry out rehabilitation treatment from home.

Professionals can assess patient progress and adherence to both online and offline rehabilitation therapy. ReHub allows you to customize the rehabilitation exercise program according to the patient’s condition, evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment and adjust it to the moment.

The patient does not have to wait for the doctor’s check-ups, but can remotely see his progress and interact with the specialist. Another advantage is that the biofeedback you receive in real time during the execution of your exercises, improves your empowerment and adherence to treatment.

What do you think health care will look like in the future?

Medicine is moving towards organizational models capable of treating more people in a short time and at a limited cost. In the future, all technological solutions that can reduce waiting times, hospital stays and health and social costs will expand, assuming a fundamental role in health systems.

For patients, this will be reflected in a reduction in the time to access health services and in a closer and more personalized follow-up of their health.

DyCare aspires to assume a key role not only in the rehabilitation of the patient, but also in the preparation and follow-up of patients prior to surgical treatment.