How does Telehealth benefit patients? Is it better than face-to-face rehab?
One of the common questions we get at Total Joint Care Online is, “how does online rehabilitation benefit me above and beyond regular physiotherapy, or exercise physiology?” The short answer is that it doesn’t. However, it does provide comparable results to physiotherapy and face-to-face rehabilitation. For those skeptical, you can read the research for yourself here, here and here, or read one of our previous blogs where we go into some of the research.
Where online rehabilitation does become highly beneficial to patients over face-face rehabilitation sessions, are in situations where:
- There are geographical barriers, such as living rurally or remotely
- There are significant transport barriers, be it personal circumstances, physical limitations, distance, time or cost (i.e. fuel)
- Patients want their rehabilitation, without having to leave home
- Patients want instant and responsive consults, arranged and delivered quickly
To assist in understanding the benefits to patients using our Online telehealth service, meet Fred:
Following his knee replacement surgery from hospital, Fred returns to his home in the Wheatbelt with a simple set of instructions and exercises from the hospital. Fred, like so many patients, has been told to do these exercises for a period of time, with no follow-up to see if these are being done correctly or any instruction on how to progress or what to do next. Fred “feels pretty good” so decides to ditch his crutches, and get back outside walking and doing things around the yard. His knee becomes painful and swollen and isn’t sure why, or what to do. Does he take more painkillers? Does he continue with his exercises he’s been given and wait for things to get better? Who does he call? Does he call his surgeon? Does he need to drive 4 hours to Perth to meet with his surgeon, organising accommodation and making arrangements for someone to watch his home?
Unfortunately, cases like Fred’s are common. Patients often don’t have access to expertise in their vicinity and often fail to progress their rehabilitation, continuing with the same set of exercises or instructions. The lack of progression leads to slower recovery from surgery, increased pain. Once help is finally sort, complex issues have arisen that often need greater amounts of treatment than usual, increasing costs for all.
A successful outcome is influenced by the quality of advice and rehabilitation received by the patient, which is effectively delivered online. This is easier, cheaper and faster.