Experts predict that the digital health market is going to be the hottest trend this year and that by 2020 the industry is expected to generate $206 billion.
The latest hot sector of digital health is physical therapy. By going virtual, Telerehab will save insurers and employers up to 50 percent in costs while delivering as good or better patient outcomes as in-person rehab. It will also make PT more convenient and accessible, say experts.
Physical therapist Darwin Fogt, MPT, is one of the leading pioneers in this field. He’s an exercise physiologist with an undergrad degree from the University of Southern California and holds a master’s degree in physical therapy. Fogt is creator of PHZIO, a digital physical therapy operation which can provide HIPAA-compliant technology that will enable providers and patients to connect in real time in a virtual treatment room.
“It will make treatment options so much more available to the consumer who can now receive treatment in the privacy of their home or office,” he tells Newsmax.
While some patients will still require manual therapy, Fogt says that most patients seeking PT do not.
“Most ‘garden-variety’ type of musculoskeletal sprains and strains, runner’s knee, low back pain and ‘pulled’ muscles respond well to virtual treatment,” Fogt explains, adding that 85 percent of patients call for back or hand pain. “We can also assess posture and provide corrective strengthening and stretching exercises that can prevent future health issues and pain.”
It all starts with a phone call to PHZIO with no prescription required. After that, a local physical therapist will initiate a one-on-one video call to diagnose the patient’s condition and create a treatment plan. Therapy can actually begin within 30 minutes of the initial phone call — a huge advantage over traditional therapy where a patient may have to wait weeks for an evaluation or appointment.
After the call and treatment plan have been established, the patient receives a schedule of follow-up virtual visits.
“The visits will be conducted in a virtual treatment room with patients placing a laptop, phone or tablet on the floor and beginning the prescribed exercises,” says Fogt. “The physical therapist monitors the patients as they exercise, giving feedback and modifying the movements as necessary though video chat, audio chat or texting,” he says. The patient can practice the exercises on their video as needed to provide long-term relief.
Fogt says his goal is to make PT more accessible and convenient for patients everywhere and is currently recruiting therapists nationwide for this purpose.
“My mission is to extend the reach of PT into areas it hasn’t touched historically. Using PT from your home or office is not only more convenient, its costs up to 50 percent less than brick-and-mortar therapy.”
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