You’ve likely seen telehealth options on the internet, and perhaps even on the ads at your doctor’s office or dentist’s office. And as more and more healthcare providers adopt telehealth applications, patients are eager to utilize this convenient way of receiving care.
One application that has been growing in popularity is telehealth rehab. This type of therapy offers the flexibility and convenience of getting rehabilitation treatment on your own time, from wherever you are in the world. In addition to eliminating the need for a commute, it also allows you to receive rehabilitation services even if you live in a rural area where there are few healthcare facilities.
While telehealth has become more widely used and studied in different disciplines such as medicine, neurology, and radiology, little has been reported regarding the use of telehealth for physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) clinics and for musculoskeletal and pain disorders in multidisciplinary team care settings (1, 2, 3).
The use of telehealth to provide rehabilitation services may be an effective means to enhance patient satisfaction, overcome barriers, and improve access to healthcare. For example, a recent study by Russell and colleagues reported that telerehabilitation improved patient satisfaction after total knee arthroplasty when compared to in-person rehabilitation treatment (2). Additionally, a study by Palsbo and colleagues found that telerehabilitation helped Medicaid programs in rural communities deliver specialized physical therapy for individuals with spinal cord injuries (3).
However, despite the numerous benefits, a number of challenges are associated with the use of telehealth to provide rehabilitation services. These challenges include the need for broadband Internet connectivity, patient comfort and literacy in navigating digital systems, and insurance and reimbursement issues including cross-state telehealth licensure and coverage, and the ability to e-prescribe MAT for opiate addiction treatment. telehealth rehab