We live in a world where the answers to just about anything are only a few clicks away, self-driving cars are becoming a reality, and soon enough, drones will be delivering our packages.
Technology is all around us, and one area that its advancements have been influential is physical therapy. Physical therapists through the years have relied on their knowledge, hands, and traditional instruments to help patients. Now they have so many resources and tools meaning the level of care they can provide is constantly on the rise. So, what are some of the top advances in technology and how are they helping physical therapists today?
80% of Americans have smartphones that allow anyone to look up medical information, including searching their symptoms, looking for a new provider, or downloading one of the 17,000 mobile medical apps that track health, give exercise plans, provide healthy meal options, and so much more.
Physical therapists are taking advantage of this technology to create an accessible and easy to follow plan of care for their patients. Many practices will use apps that patients can download to track their progress, set personal goals, receive individualized home workout plans, and keep in touch with their physical therapist between appointments. Performance Physical Therapy uses a patient portal to help patients get better, faster.
Telemedicine is a great way for patients to connect with their healthcare providers without needing to leave their house, take off work, or wait weeks to schedule an appointment.
People have very busy lives and between work and family, it can be difficult to get to a healthcare provider right away. Alternatively, patients who do see doctors or surgeons, don’t always follow up as they should be. Not following up after surgery can lead patients back to the hospital or to a life of chronic pain.
With the introduction of telemedicine, patients can now access care on demand and can even see a doctor from the comfort of their own home. Research has shown that that tele-rehab services can help reduce patient's painkiller prescriptions, reduce hospital stays, and improve quality of life.
Robotic technology can come in many shapes and forms. New advances in technology mean that physical therapists can offer new mechanisms for their patients to try. One great new advancement is the Anti-Gravity Treadmill. This machine allows patients to practice walking or running with reduced body weight, helping strengthen muscles, reduce the risk of re-injury, leading to an optimize recovery time.
Robotic technology can also provide more accurate assessments for physical therapists. By tracking patients' progress, physical therapists can easily asses patients' needs to help ensure they are on track to meeting all their goals.
With better resources to collect and track data electronically, research has become more efficient than ever. Meaning physical therapists have the best data and most up to date research to create the most effective plan of care for patients.
As technology continues to develop and introduce new options for physical therapists, patients will continue to get the best care possible allowing them to get back to work and life faster.