The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Patient Care

Physical therapy revolves around the patient-therapist relationship, but emerging technologies play a major role in contemporary PT treatment methods. In fact, technology is helping patients stay on top of their health and is giving them the chance to live better and healthier lives. With direct access to physical therapy in New Jersey and other places around the country, patients will be better-taken care of both quickly and efficiently.

The following are some of the most important applications of emerging tech in physical therapy.

Immersive Treatment Through VR

Virtual reality is typically associated with gaming, but it also helps physical therapists create more effective treatments. It gives patients the opportunity to experience immersive environments that add an interactive dimension to their treatment.

VR has been used in treatment programs for everything from neurological conditions and strokes to walking disorders and back pain. CAREN, a system from the University of South Florida, is an exciting new VR tool that aids the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.

Physical Therapy Gaming

The Wii’s motion controls were a great opportunity for new approaches in physical therapy, enabling patients to perform exercises through video games. These exercises are often similar to the ones prescribed in more traditional treatments, but the more interactive format makes patients more likely to engage.

In addition to treatments at the clinic, this option also gives patients with Wiis the chance to keep up with their exercises while playing at home. Home exercise compliance is one of the most important factors in successful recoveries.

Therapy Mobile Apps

Mobile applications connect therapists and patients outside of the clinic, and they often come at little to no cost. Simple apps include features like definitions of terms, videos demonstrating correct form, and basic diagnostic tools.

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There are also a number of more robust applications designed to help patients complete their home exercises and allow therapists to measure progress. Again, these options maximize home exercise compliance and facilitate effective communication.

Rehab Robots

Robots are used in a wide range of settings, and they can help patients complete substantially more exercise reps in each physical therapy session. They’re especially useful for patients with common neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, strokes, and brain injuries.

A new treadmill called Lokomat, for example, includes robotic legs that enable patients to regain their full range of flexibility with the aid and direction of robotic movement. This is just one of the countless exciting projects involving robots in physical therapy.

Bionic Exoskeletons

Exoskeletons are used to help patients who have difficulties with movement, allowing them to go through different motions under physical guidance. The majority of patients are able to walk as early as their first session with the Ekso suit, a leader in bionic physical therapy solutions.

The Ekso suit is a great way for therapists to treat patients more efficiently while still providing the same level of care. Patients can set their own pace and perform exercises using the suit, significantly reducing the need for one-on-one supervision.

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Emerging technologies are already changing physical therapy in a number of ways, and there’s no way to predict where the field will move in the near future. These are just a few of the most innovative developments that are impacting the way physical therapists approach treatment.

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Alexandra Warner

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