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Telehealth Physiotherapy, otherwise known as Online Physio, is a great way to access physiotherapy treatment online, rather than a traditional face-face consultation. You may be working from home due to covid-19 or live in an area where accessing traditional physiotherapy might be difficult.
Perhaps you are just stuck for time and need someone to help you out in the comfort of your own home? Either way, telehealth physio could be the solution you are looking for.
Physiotherapy providers use either third party software like Zoom or Google Meet or a built-in system with their current practice management software. You will be sent a request to join your physiotherapy session via email or text, allowing you to safely and securely see your physio. Online physio works best with video and audio, allowing you to have a conversation and allowing your physio to assess your movements and watch them in real-time.
Once you are set up, it’s just a matter of logging on and beginning the process with your physio!
Generally, the only things you need are:
You may be required to have some equipment like a theraband or exercise equipment, but your physiotherapist will advise you ahead of time if any other equipment is required.
There are features of online physio that benefit the physiotherapist and the patient alike.
No need to travel to appointments.
Treatment from the comfort of your own home.
Same great care and service you would expect from a traditional in-clinic appointment.
Not location dependent
No need for babysitters or carers
Greater availability outside of regular business hours.
Access for people living in remote locations
Avoidance of public outings for high-risk patients
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Online Physio can treat most injuries that present. Here is a list of some of the most common injuries treated by an online physiotherapist.
- Acute Injuries
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle strains
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Gluteal tendinopathy
- Rotator cuff tears
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ergonomic assessment and setup
- Postural imbalances
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
And many more...
Almost all injuries can be managed via telehealth physio when required. You may think, how could the physio possible treat me without a hands-on assessment? To begin all physiotherapy consultations, your physiotherapist will begin with a conversation about your injury, the history, what aggravates it and what improves it. This, along with a bunch more questions, can give your physiotherapist a lot of information about your injury and what the most likely course of action is. From there, an assessment can be performed looking at your movement, which will then guide the physiotherapist regarding the most appropriate treatment. There are cases where hands-on physiotherapy will be the best course of action for treatment, in which case your online physio can discuss with you the options regarding how to access that service.
For the most part, physiotherapy is less about the hands-on assessment and more about your story and injury history. Your physio will ask you a set of detailed questions to determine a pattern regarding your injury. From there, they will ask you to perform a series of tests and movements to assess your physical capabilities. The majority of these tests can be performed without the need for hands-on assessment.
Telehealth physio will usually incur similar fees to your traditional in-person physiotherapist. You are still accessing the same experienced practitioners you normally would, just in a different environment. With covid-19 changing the landscape for many clinics, you may find that some practitioners offer discounts or incentives for online physio appointments.
During covid-19, there was a rapid need for health insurers to change their policies to allow for telehealth physiotherapy services to be covered. Some providers were quick to move and have continued to allow for telehealth to be covered, whilst others have been a bit slow to catch on.
Here is a list of providers that are currently covering telehealth for physiotherapy.
|Health Insurer||GP referral required?||Telehealth Physio|
Each provider will have a slightly different setup. Ensure that your payment is made via a secure payment portal, or you use a third-party provider like PayPal or Stripe.
Absolutely, Zoom and Google Meet and independent practice management software like Cliniko have encrypted video capabilities, and password protected video. This ensures that it is just you and the physiotherapist who can access the video online. For more information, please speak to your physio about what software they use.