The field of information technology continues to make exciting inroads into a wide variety of professions, and health care is no exception. Specifically, one of the newest trends in health care centers around the field of physical therapy, and how video conferencing is helping patients find a timely and efficient resolution for their injury.
The Past vs. the Future
The traditional manner in which a patient sought physical therapy treatment required them to visit their primary care physician, who would then write a prescription for a series of physical therapy sessions. The patient would then have to make an appointment with a physical therapist, sometimes waiting a week or perhaps even several weeks, only to receive an evaluation at their first meeting. After the evaluation, the patient would finally be able to schedule physical therapy sessions that would begin the process of resolving their ailment.
Of course, many types of issues and injuries do not necessarily require hands-on treatment from a physical therapist. For patients experiencing these types of garden-variety issues, some physical therapists are now offering video consultations where patients can receive both an evaluation and treatment for injuries such as runner's knee, musculoskeletal strains and sprains, and some cases of low back pain.
How it Works
Physical therapists who offer video consultations and treatment sessions typically do not require a prescription from a patient's primary care physician. Instead, the patient directly contacts the participating physical therapist. A video appointment time is set, at which time the physical therapist will evaluate the patient's particular injury and recommend a course of treatment. A patient will often receive their first course of treatment right after their evaluation, then continue the entire treatment plan with additional video conferencing sessions made either from their home or office.
During the video sessions, the physical therapist will demonstrate specific exercises they want the patient to perform. They can also provide immediate feedback to the patient to make sure the patient understands how to correctly perform each movement. During subsequent sessions, the physical therapist can note the patient's progress to ensure they are meeting therapeutic goals.
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