Technology, and the way we use it, are constantly evolving. The health care industry is certainly no exception when it comes to the use of the latest technology. Physical therapists are taking advantage of technological advancements to improve patient treatment. Physical therapy is always looking to improve patient care, and technology platforms make therapy more convenient and engaging for patients. Not to mention the encouragement to complete treatment and experience fuller recoveries.
From games to virtual care, physical therapy is making treatment appealing, impactful, and fun. Here are three technological developments that physical therapy is using to enrich the patient experience.
Three Technological Developments Changing Physical Therapy Today
Wii-Hab is physical rehabilitation using the Nintendo Wii. Using the Wii makes physical therapy exercises fun while adding competition to treatment. The Wii features motion-sensitive controllers that allow patients to play games like bowling and boxing that require movements much like the exercises they usually complete in physical therapy. Other gaming programs similar to this are available. By introducing fun into your practice, your patient’s motivation will increase!
A Johns Hopkins study suggests that although the activities are similar, participation and engagement increase when patients use the Wii. Patients comment that they enjoy the challenge of the games and the change of pace the games give their exercises. The Wii-Hab creates competitiveness that encourages patients to perform better. If patients have a Wii at home, they are more likely to be engaged in their recovery at their house.
Virtual reality (VR) offers an interactive, immersive, computer-generated world that permits users to experience a world not there. This technology has uses in entertainment, training, tours, and now physical therapy.
Instead of the boredom associated with walking around a clinic, virtual reality provides a more engaging environment for patients to carry out their physical therapy exercises. There are also interactive gaming elements in the VR experience. The VR environment with gaming challenges patients to develop new strategies for balance, coordination, and mobility. The virtual environment helps speed the learning process by teaching patients to replace the previous movement with new techniques.
Telemedicine is proving to be an important development for the health care industry. Accessing care on demand makes patients more likely to see their doctor and complete their therapy treatment plans. It is not uncommon for patients to become discouraged about driving to their medical appointments and fail to complete their treatment leading to more severe complications like chronic pain or hospital readmissions.
Physical therapy through telemedicine reduces fears and encourages patients to complete their exercises. Virtual treatment from the comfort of the home reduces patient worries. Through the telemedicine platform, a physical therapist can walk patients through the process and show them how to complete exercises while ensuring the activities are correct.
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