Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 03, 2021

5 Ways Tech Innovations Have Improved Physiotherapy

As most people say, ‘health is wealth’. No amount of money could replace the liberty of living without minding if your cough today will become a pressing respiratory health issue tomorrow. Ideal but, in most cases, it rarely happens. As humans experience life more, so do their chance of being injured–fatally or not.

Fortunately, technology has made a staggering progress in the past decades, and has still continued (and envisioned) to do so, in the years to come. As more and more lab trials come into fruition and contribute with streamlining current medical practices, a hope for a better tomorrow isn’t that far-fetched.

In the field of physical and occupational therapy, in particular, technology has already taken huge number of leaps. So, here are four ways tech innovations have improved physiotherapy:

1. Amy Now Wants To Go To Rehab

Technology has incidentally made physiotherapy more accessible and more affordable. One of the pressing problems of patients in the past, most especially outpatients, is that they had to frequently visit their physical therapists every now and then. While it does have its own merit, having to drive to the hospital is physically taxing and, of course, not cost-friendly.

Now because of this, telerehabilitation is gaining popularity. The ease of being able to talk to your physical therapists online in the comfort of your home, with a significantly lower cost is priceless. A variety of telerehabilitation services are out there, but to maximize cost-efficiency and trust, make sure that you only go to an NDIS-registered provider.

2. The ‘F’ In Physiotherapy Stands For Fun

If you’re not living under a rock, then you have most likely heard of Nintendo Wii. It’s a gaming console that uses its dedicated remote to capture the real-time motion of the user, and generate it into input for Wii-compatible games. Using Wii in physiotherapy lets the patient get past a number of stages through movement. Being a game, it also encourages competitiveness among them.

Another fun option is the use of virtual reality (VR). What it does is imitate a portion of reality that would let the patient move around a controlled and computer-generated environment. Any movement will then be detected and transferred to the terminal of the clinician.

The data generated from motion games may be more robust and more accurate than the classic physical therapies. Having to use computers to generate and crunch numbers while having fun on top of that, is one of the chief reasons why ‘Wii-Hab’ and VR are an absolute A-lister.

3. Physiotherapy And Robots

Robotics has made note-worthy contributions to medicine, particularly in physical and occupational therapy. Humanoids serve as assistive aids that emulate real human movements, helping patients get back the lives they had before the on-set of their current physical impediments.

Some robots help the patients by being strapped to them, as some sort of scaffolding, and guide them to gaining the actual feeling of walking, while others assist them in doing activities of daily lives (ADLs) such as sitting, going to the restroom, and changing clothes, among many others. After a series of sessions, a significant number of patients have made visible positive changes.

4. Improved Quality Of Life

Physical disabilities don’t only impede physical activities but they also have mental repercussions. People with physical disabilities are faced with a reality that a portion of their lives needs to be used to recovering. Yesterday they may be golfing and trekking outside, but now they had to recuperate for months, years, or even decades in bed.

With the help of technology and improved tech aids, patients would have better chances of improving and gaining their lives back. Some innovations even aim to replicate a ‘normal’ life and made it seem like there’s no difference at all, pre- and post-condition.

5. More Opportunities

Gone are the days when physical therapists are conceived as masseurs. While there’s a degree of truth to it, physiotherapy is multimodal and multipurpose, and with the tech innovations in hand, it would just get bigger and bigger. Job postings for physical and occupational therapists, engineers, and computer scientists may become more abundant than ever.

Moreover, a higher demand would call for a much better and robust research. This means that physiotherapy, as a medical field, would significantly grow as lateral demands from both patients and practitioners become large.

Your Takeaways

To some, physical disabilities are simple: someone’s injured, so they need to take a rest. However, to the patients, they may be an injury away to having their lives turned upside-down completely. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy, alongside the technological innovations will make sure that everyone gets a fighting chance at taking their lives back.

Hayley Gunson

Hayley Gunson is currently taking her masters in the health sciences in Queensland. She’s juggling her studies and her role as an aged carer in one of Australia’s private healthcare facilities. A cat lover, she shares her home with two sibling felines, Milla and Skye.

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