The best setting to begin physical therapy after a total knee replacement surgery has been a controversial discussion among many healthcare practitioners recently. While some argue that out-patient physical therapy is better for patients others disagree, arguing that telerehabilitation, a new form of rehab in which a patient is able to complete rehab from the comfort of their own home through interactive devices and online exercise plans, has many benefits of its own.

Rafael J. Sierra, MD recently took a stance on the issue. When asked about his position he responded ‘“is outpatient physical therapy better than web-based and tele-rehab? The answer to that is no,” he said, noting a study by Klement and colleagues showed about 65% of patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty benefitted from a web-based physical therapy tool.”’1 This is especially true as new technology has continued to develop. Surface Sensor Technology like TracPatch makes it easy for healthcare providers to create a comprehensive physical therapy plan for each total knee patient following surgery. Through the two TracPatch devices that adhere to the outside of the patient’s leg which track important activity data, the information is sent to the TracPatch Patient app and then shared with the healthcare provider in the healthcare provider app. This system has made it easy and fun for patients to complete physical therapy in the comfort of their own homes while allowing the healthcare provider the same ability to track and individualize each plan for each individual patient.

Although some argue that one disadvantage of tele-rehab is getting the patient to adhere to the recovery plan, devices like TracPatch allow the healthcare provider the opportunity to make recovery plan changes or send an exercise reminder to the patient at the press of a button. It appears that the drawbacks of out-patient physical therapy are the strengths of web-based. Transportation issues and time commitments often plague out-patient physical therapy patients, however, utilizing a device like TracPatch often relieves those pains. It also makes the lives of healthcare providers easier by giving them more flexibility to care for patients even when traveling or away from the office.

While tele-rehab is still in its early stages, there is certainly a bright future ahead for the new form of physical therapy. Founder and CEO of FocusMotion, Cavan Canavan notes that in the future, with the help of tele-rehab and new technology, ‘“PTs might have the data not just to rehabilitate a patient, but to help restore the patient’s earlier movement.” He notes, “Over enough time, and with enough usage, we’ll be able to build personal movement profiles around how everyone moves. Using monitors as we age, we’d be able to save our unique movement dialects and body language profiles so that if we were to be injured, a PT or prosthetic provider would be able to reference this movement profile to ‘rebuild’ a person. It’s one thing to replace a limb or joint. It’s another thing entirely to return a person to feeling like him or herself.”’2 It’s certainly comforting to know that patients are already using the TracPatch Surface Sensor Technology to get back into motion. For more information contact us today and follow TracPatch on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

References

  1. Setting of physical therapy after total hip, knee arthroplasty can be controversial. (2019, February 12). Retrieved July 11, 2019, from https://www.healio.com/orthopedics/rehabilitation/news/online/{0296b13b-17cf-4bde-9599-b01b39518fbc}/setting-of-physical-therapy-after-total-hip-knee-arthroplasty-can-be-controversial
  2. Hayhurst, C. (2016, September). Physical Therapy and the Internet of Things. Retrieved July 12, 2019, from https://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/2016/9/Feature/InternetOfThings/