Healthcare advancements have improved the lives and outcomes for patients for decades. Researchers are continuously looking for ways to improve existing therapies, medicines and treatments to deliver more effective and patient-friendly care. The patient experience plays a foundational role in the success of physical therapy and its outcomes. Rehabilitation after an injury is a process that requires time and commitment, which is why many therapists and clinics look for ways to improve physical therapy. Thanks to new physical therapy technology and methods of recovering, patients have many more opportunities for successful recovery.
Here are the top 5 advancements in physical therapy technology.
1. Motion Capture
Physical therapy technology such as motion capture is becoming prevalent among clinics and rehabilitation centers. Motion capture in physical therapy makes the patient experience better by enabling remote care. While PT outcomes are almost identical in-clinic or with motion capture physical therapy technology, patients may be more inclined to do their PT regime from the comfort of their home, improving compliance and increasing range of motion.
Motion capture includes wearable sensors and videos that can track patients’ movements and send reports to caregivers and clinicians. The secure remote technology is a significant improvement in the PT and healthcare environments, giving more patients easier access to their treatments.
2. Virtual Reality
Video games may actually be benefitting clinics and physical therapists after all. Much like motion capture, VR is some of the latest physical therapy technology that is making rehabilitation efforts more accessible to patients. For patients with injuries that are less serious and easier to recover from, virtual reality can make therapy easier and recovery more efficient. For example, certain games or programs using VR promote necessary neuromuscular activity that pushes patients’ range of motion and physical ability, aiding in the recovery after an injury.
3. Exoskeleton Assistance
Exoskeletons used in PT are another advancement in physical therapy that improves range of motion and physical abilities. For patients with limited mobility, exoskeletons offer strength and support that reinforce proper physical movement. This wearable technology is a significant improvement to the patient experience, especially for those who are faced with a long road to recovery. Exoskeletons in PT help conform the patient’s body to increase mobility and adjust certain muscles and bones that may be misaligned or restricted. The improvement in PT capabilities offers physical and mental support that enable a better recovery process and encouragement along the way.
Mobile apps are another way clinicians and patients are improving the PT experience. Apps connect patients and physical therapists, regardless of physical location or distance. This is especially beneficial for patients who live far away from their clinic, but need regular check-ins or assistance. Remote physical therapy technology such as wearable sensors can be linked to apps as well, sending real-time data and updates between patients and therapists. By improving the communication between patients and therapists, full recovery is made easier and more accessible, wherever the therapy may take place.
5. Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy is another advancement in physical therapy technology that targets dermatological concerns using UV light. Dermatology is an underrecognized aspect of PT that many patients who experience discomfort can benefit from. Low-level laser therapy treats rashes, inflammation and promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body.
Pairing physical therapy technology such as low-level laser therapy along with traditional methods of PT can further enable healthy physical movement and full range of motion to patients who are in rehabilitation.
Physical Therapy Made Easier
As technology evolves, new and more effective ways to conduct physical therapy are being introduced to patients everywhere. Focusing on improving the patient experience and encouraging a full recovery is the most important part of PT. Improving physical therapy through new technology, including remote sensors or even video games, is a great step.
TheraTec is making strides in remote patient monitoring to improve physical therapy and introduce new technology to clinics throughout the United States. With wearable sensors, patient apps and clinician portals, we have helped clinics deliver more effective and accessible therapy to their patients.
Ready to introduce a new kind of physical therapy to your clinic? Request a demo today.