Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a type of homecare telehealth in which patients use mobile medical devices and connected technology to collect and transmit patient-generated health data (PGHD) to healthcare professionals. RPM programs commonly collect physiological data such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. Patient data is collected and sent to a physician’s office via a telehealth computer system or software application that can be installed on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational therapy and physical therapy practitioners everywhere are thinking about how to enhance and integrate telehealth services, and many are actively working to launch new remote solutions.
Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy
Although the name can refer to anybody who specializes in a field using expert knowledge and is supported by other expert peers, the common understanding of a doctor is of the medical variety. In this sense, a doctor is a person who specializes in understanding the various bodily conditions, what sort of influences can affect the body’s best health status, and what treatments can be applied to bring the body up to full health. It’s typically the doctor who can test the quality of the patient’s body, both outside and in, and can recommend medicine or changes in their habits. The doctor provides expert knowledge and helps the patient understand what they can do to be the best.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) treats patients who are recovering from a variety of ailments (physical, mental, developmental, and emotional) that interfere with their ability to perform daily activities.
- Occupational therapists frequently work with patients who exhibit:
- Birth injuries or birth defects
- Sensory processing disorders
- Traumatic injuries to the brain or spinal cord
- Autism and other developmental disorders
- Mental or behavioral health problems
The goal of occupational therapy is to empower a patient with the ability to have agency over their own life. By helping a patient learn or relearn how to perform the tasks necessary to living independently, occupational therapists restore patient self-sufficiency and enhance their quality of life.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy (PT) is a medical specialty that treats patients who have suffered from illness or injury that has resulted in pain, muscle weakness, or decreased range of motion.
Physical therapists typically work with patients who have had an injury or illness that has had an impact on their bodily function, such as:
- A fractured bone or sprained joint
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Cardiopulmonary conditions
- Sports injuries
- Women’s health concerns
The goal of physical therapy is to regulate and manage pain, improve muscle weakness, increase endurance, and generally improve range of motion. The exact goals of treatment will, of course, depend upon the needs of individual patients.
What To Consider When Integrating and Enhancing OT & PT Into Your RPM
It is critical to understand what resources are available to you. First, check with your province’s licensing board to see if there are any regulations that require occupational and physical therapy practitioners to provide services via telehealth. Adherence to standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance are critical and require telehealth care providers to thoroughly check with employers, licensure boards, and national guidelines.
Healthcare organizations may want to consider whether a patient is a good fit for an RPM program. This can be accomplished through a trial run to determine how RPM works with specific patients while also allowing your organization and staff to become acquainted with the platform and devices required for the treatment. If the RPM program is a success, you can begin implementing RPM solutions for a large number of patients at your healthcare facility. When determining the best fit for a patient population, several factors must be considered, including:
- What are the most common types of patients treated at your facility?
- What are the costs that your organization must consider when dealing with your patient population?
- What is the patient’s level of digital literacy?
- How much training is required to deploy RPM on behalf of the patient?
Helping Patients Prepare
Making a list of everyday supplies that can be used for therapy may be beneficial. Give that list to the patient’s family and ask them to identify what they have. This can be useful in treatment planning. In addition, creating a visual schedule of the activities that will be completed during the sessions in PowerPoint or on a Word Document assists in staying on track and provides the patient with vital information.
Make the Most of Digital Tools
When providing telehealth to patients, digital resources are excellent tools to use. Aetonix provides remote patient management platforms such as aTouchAway, which improves patient outcomes significantly. Physical and occupational therapists can also use these platforms to optimize their sessions for Virtual Communication; audio and/or video conferencing, secure messaging, file storage and transfer, Remote Patient Monitoring; vital sign collection, thresholds and alerts, real-time monitoring, and Care Plan Management; customized shareable care plans, and Clinical Workflows.
Eliminating dosage errors, electronically requesting prescription refills, and assisting patients in receiving medications more quickly are just a few of the advantages of e-Prescribing. By integrating and enhancing the e-Prescribing of OT/PT, clinicians can enter prescription information into the system and securely send it to pharmacies.
RPM has evolved significantly in recent years, becoming more than just a video consultation tool. As a result, healthcare facilities should consider adding the above-mentioned integrations and enhancements to their existing platforms. It will help save money by lowering the number of hospitalizations and ER visits. Furthermore, it provides the competitive edge your clinic has been looking for.
Integrating and improving your occupational and physical therapy services is more difficult than downloading an app; you’ll need professional assistance. Thank you for reading. To stay up to date on current healthcare topics and news about Aetonix, subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of our blog page. Connect with us on social media using the links at the bottom of this page and share your thoughts!