Physical therapy is central to helping people recover from injury, illness, disease, and even lifelong ailments. Millions of people across the world benefit from physical therapy (PT) on a daily basis. For some, PT is a literal lifeline that restores basic functions like walking and general movement. For others, occupational therapy works to increase self-sufficiency and independence.
In today’s technologically advanced world, many companies have come out with devices, methods, and systems designed to improve physical therapy results. Patients of all kinds are reaping the benefits of the following technologies:
- Mobile apps for smartphones and tablets get patients moving
There really is an app for just about everything these days, including apps for physical therapists and their patients. Some of the resources these apps provide include reference information, exercise videos that explain precisely how to perform the exercise, clinical tests, orthopedic diagnosis tools, and tools to track progress from a home-based exercise program.
Mobile apps are simple, but can be a powerful tool for helping patients to properly perform their exercises and ensure accountability. This can be a game-changer when failure to complete post-surgery physical therapy can lead to chronic pain, complications, or even readmission to the hospital.
- A bionic Ekso suit to help with paralysis
The Ekso suit is an FDA-approved device used to rehabilitate patients facing paralysis after a stroke or spinal cord injury. Once a patient is buckled into the suit, the therapist selects from three walk modes and initiates steps with the push of a button. The patient can also begin walking by shifting their body weight or pushing a button.
According to Ekso’s website, this device “works with clinicians to promote correct movement patterns in all phases of recovery and challenges patients as they progress toward independent ambulation.”
- Robots, robots, and more robots
Robots have been around for decades, but did you know they’re being used to help with physical therapy? One physical therapy robot is called Lokomat, which aims to rehabilitate patients with severely impaired neurological function.
Instead of struggling with manual treadmill training, Lokomat’s robot-assisted therapy supports the patient’s body weight over a treadmill and “ensures the optimal exploitation of neuroplasticity and recovery potential.”
The patient walks on the treadmill with robotic assistance, making the physical therapist’s job much easier and reduces the risk of injury.
Another treadmill therapy is the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill that allows clinicians to identify and remedy weight imbalances and gait anomalies in real-time.
- Telemedicine with web-based therapy programs
With telemedicine gaining in popularity, it’s gained a new use. Instead of just providing a connection for doctors and patients to talk to each other through messaging systems, telemedicine is being used to provide web-based therapy programs.
With these programs, patients are given instructional videos, coaching, and educational resources to use on a set schedule. The doctor tracks patient progress and performance, and with a special camera, the doctor can even watch the patient perform the prescribed exercises.
- Cutting-edge video recording technology improves patient care
During a therapy session, a physical therapist's main goal is to get a patient moving and to assess the patient’s progress, however, their view can be limited. For example, watching how a patient walks for a short distance won’t provide a full perspective from every angle and it’s possible for a PT to miss certain aspects of a patient’s gait.
If a PT wants to observe a patient from every angle in person, they’ll need to ask that patient to perform the same action multiple times, but asking a patient to walk or move beyond their current ability can interfere with their recovery process. Video recording can help solve this dilemma and provides a tool for both the physical therapist and patient to review a patient's performance and understand what to change and how to progress further.
Video recording technology from Intelligent Video Solutions
The VALT video recording system from IVS is perfect for occupational therapists and physical therapists. Recording therapy sessions with the VALT system allows instructors and students to more accurately review and assess their skills.
If you’re ready to take your physical therapy or occupational therapy program to the next level, contact us to schedule a demo of our system. We’ll set you up with a full demonstration so you can see exactly how the VALT system can simplify your video recording and observation needs and improve your effectiveness with patients and training new clinicians.