During Covid, a lot of services normally offered in person began to be offered online - including healthcare. Physical distancing forced us to adapt our practices and caused us to rethink how our traditional healthcare services could be delivered at a distance. Now, you may be curious how these typically hands-on experiences could possibly be delivered online - especially when it comes to physiotherapy, a traditionally face-to-face practice - and whether they are effective.
Could it be possible to receive treatment from a registered professional without having to travel far distances or compromise pandemic restrictions? Enter in: Telehealth.
Telehealth is an umbrella term used to describe the use of communication technologies, such as Zoom Health and other platforms that have an added level of security for health practitioners. You may have even experienced a telehealth appointment sometime during the pandemic when you had to virtually meet with a doctor to get your prescription refilled.
The research behind the use of telehealth, specifically for physiotherapy, continues to grow and several of these reviews have been able to demonstrate that physiotherapy delivered through telehealth practices can provide improvements in pain and physical function! Not only that, but the accessible nature of telehealth has increased the likelihood that patients will stick with their physiotherapy exercises.
In spite of the high levels of satisfaction reported by patients and physiotherapists regarding telehealth, it still has low levels of adoption. Barriers may include: the cost of implementation (for the healthcare provider), computer literacy of both the physiotherapist and patient, age, self-efficacy, and dissatisfaction in general with the healthcare system. When considering telehealth and its effectiveness, one of the main things you need to ask yourself is: am I willing to engage in the process, or do I need that hands-on atmosphere to get me going. In short, if you are a self motivated individual, telehealth may be the perfect solution for you as it provides all the knowledge and expertise of having a physiotherapist, with the convenience of your own home and equipment - you just need to be willing to commit!
Looking for telehealth opportunities to stay active and manage your Osteoarthritis symptoms? Helping My Arthritis offers current education and treatment options around first and second-line physiotherapy for hip and knee osteoarthritis patients around Surrey, Delta, Vancouver and, via telehealth communication, all over BC! Reach out today to learn more about how to help your arthritis, call 604-306-0127 or email to consult with Nadine Plotnikoff, the physiotherapist behind Helping My Arthritis.