After Covid-19: Looking Forward to the Future of Physical Therapy
By Dr. Frank J. Scerbo, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS //
Dealing with the Covid-19 emergency has required significant changes to what we think of as “normal” daily life.
At Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, we have been glad to provide continued patient care through BetterPT telehealth virtual appointments. While we look forward to the eventual return to in-person therapy, the future field of physical therapy will also explore new, creative applications for the telehealth model.
Telehealth services, monitored by a physical therapist, have yielded evidence of positive clinical outcomes. Measures of patient satisfaction and accessibility to quality care demonstrate the benefits of telehealth remote patient monitoring. As the aging population increases, so will the demand for joint replacement surgeries. Rehabilitation, medication management, video education, and wound imaging are some of the areas in which telehealth will play an increased role in the future of physical therapy.
There have been many research studies suggesting that telehealth works well for patients after Total Joint Replacement (TJR). Many patients would prefer to recover in their own homes rather than traveling to a physical therapy facility, and the in-home option has proved to be viable. With close supervision, telerehabilitation can be effective for pain relief and functional recovery. Select telehealth services can potentially increase access to and decrease the cost of rehabilitative and wellness physical therapy services.
According to the American Association of Physical Therapists (APTA) as health care continues to evolve rapidly, so will the ways in which physical therapy students are educated. In the future of healthcare, a physical therapist is likely to be working as the leader of a shared leadership interdisciplinary health care team. Future physical therapists will be taught how to be leaders in this environment.
Predictions for the future of physical therapy also suggest that there may be a stronger emphasis on prevention and wellness care. Some people already schedule regular wellness visits with their physical therapists today; more will do so in the future. Patients may have annual movement screenings just as they have annual dental appointments.
As an adjunct to our current BetterPT telehealth virtual appointments, Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation is offering patients a new service called Medbridge. As directed and monitored by your Scerbo therapist, Medbridge offers thousands of clear, easy to follow exercises online and provides patient feedback tools as well as a mobile app.
The future of physical therapy is happening before our eyes, and ScerboPT is participating in every way to help ensure optimum outcomes for all our patients – both during Covid-19 and moving forward after the virus is defeated.
Visit us at BetterPT to schedule your telehealth virtual appointment today.