Yes, you read the title correctly, technology has and is being used in Physiotherapy as well. In this 21st century we witnessed an evolution in technology in all sectors including health sciences opening up a whole new avenue for both patients and healthcare professionals. Globally, an estimated 2.4 billion people are currently living with a health condition that benefits from rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is an essential part of universal health coverage along with promotion of good health, prevention of disease, treatment and palliative care and Physiotherapy is one of the important domains of rehabilitation.
Rise in usage of new technologies, scientific advances and innovations in physiotherapy has recently occurred with the hope of having objective evaluation measures, improved patient outcomes, better patient compliance and safety, and returning to work or athletic performance. It ranges from applying it directly to the patient such as exoskeleton and instrumented insoles to extrinsic applications such as biofeedback and prosthesis and orthosis. There is proven positive research in this field which supports its usage along with various physical rehabilitation programs.
Because of the rise in disability there is a high burden on healthcare especially in developing countries. One of the solutions can be integrating the application of Information and communication technology (ICT) such as cloud computing, digital transactions, using various softwares and hardware, internet access and communication via TV, radio, banners, infographics etc. Communication technology via social media and other approaches allows us to engage and empower individuals and communities to choose healthy behaviors, and make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities thus being a potential tool for promoting health and wellbeing.
As Neil Bohr says, nothing exists until it is measured. Different technologies such as the performance matrix, gait scanners, 3D gait and running analysis, force plates, electromyography biofeedback machines are being used to evaluate and measure the capacity and function of an individual. It can serve as an objective measure which can direct the planning and course of the treatment, keeping a track of the program’s effectiveness and efficacy.
Technology or innovations are not only used for evaluation but treatment. Various innovations or devices such as wearable resistance, virtual reality, exergaming, blood flow restrictions, robotics, prosthetics and orthotics and many others are used in rehabilitation of an individual so as to have better performance of the function and enhance the compliance as well of the patient.
In India there was a spurt in usage of digital health and tele-rehabilitation during the COVID-19 pandemic and is continuing on a positive note. Yes there were questions which had risen that how can physiotherapy treatment be virtual. But keeping the safety of an individual and the community in mind, telerehab sessions are conducted and are beneficial for most of the patients, especially the elderly. Being able to provide rehabilitation services to people who are in remote or different geographical areas in their home or other environments is one of the advantages of it along with safety.
Also there are different applications in the smartphone which can be used to evaluate right from joint ranges to aerobic capacity and monitor the home exercise programmes (HEPs) as well this allows to deepen the patient-physiotherapist relationship and improve overall rehabilitation of the patient.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. So in an ideal world, machines and humans and their skills should co-exist to create a better and healthy tomorrow.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are the author’s own and APAC News Network is not responsible for any of them.