The current lifestyle change due to the coronavirus pandemic, alongside the prolonged treatment of some chronic diseases, makes it hard for patients to attend frequent doctor appointments. Online physical therapy comes in handy in such cases where in-person clinic attendance isn’t possible.
What is Online Physical Therapy?
Online PT is also known as virtual, telehealth, or digital physical therapy. It's a program in which patients can seek or continue their treatment using digital devices like tablets, phones, or computers. From these devices, the doctors examine, communicate, and monitor the progress of their patient's treatments without in-person attendance at the clinic.
This program is critical now that most clinics are closed, and movement restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps patients receive their medication regardless, and doctors can also decrease their MSK expenses.
How to do Physical Therapy Virtually
Doing physical therapy virtually excludes patients' need to visit clinics and requires that the doctor or physical therapist deliver all the information and guidelines remotely. Here are the four main ways to practice the treatment.
Live Video Sessions
It is sometimes known as asynchronous format. In this case, the physical therapist and their patients interact over video through electronic devices in real-time. It helps in conducting patient evaluations or issuing treatments since the two parties can do verbal communications at the exact time.
Digital physical therapy sometimes involves transferring medical records and health history across safe electronic devices. This method is secure for sharing essential documents like progress notes or X-rays between specialists and patients. Also known as asynchronous format, the procedure is effective for subscription-based service delivery due to its scalability.
Mobile Health (mHealth)
mHealth involves the issuance of public health notifications and other healthcare services via digital devices. It enables the public to access health-related information, including cessation of roads close to a given clinic, possible disease epidemics, or alerts on HEP updates. HEP software, WebPT, and MedBridge’s HEP program are some of the mHealth examples.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
While the treatment occurs virtually, doctors and therapists still need to understand their patients' health statuses and progress. RPM allows telemedicine practitioners to remotely monitor their patients' medical data and health without necessary physical meetings. This method helps observe the patients’ vitals such as blood pressure, glucose levels, and step-by-step treatment progress.
How to Be a Virtual Physical Therapist
Prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic calls for more days of restricted movements and closure of most treatment centers. That means professional physical therapists may have little to no options rather than embracing the digital mode to stay in practice. However, many wonder how they can effectively start and run digital PT.
First, it's essential to decide whether to start independently or join an established digital PT company. Several organizations offer telemedicine practitioners a platform to operate. Joint Academy, for example, is a good choice for those interested in hip and knee therapy.
If operating independently, the professional must get a license to work in their patients’ state. This requirement may sound complicated given that virtual PT opens a practitioner's scope to a large area. However, PT Compact allows practitioners to practice across states.
Virtual PT is legit in most states but operates under specific guidelines. Therefore, it's essential to understand how the law works, billing systems, and every other valid information before taking the go-ahead.