Today, there’s no shortage of virtual healthcare solutions promising to help providers offer their patients better, more engaging care. Remote therapeutic monitoring is one such solution, but its uses are limited to certain contexts. However, there’s one area where providers can consistently utilize remote therapeutic monitoring: physical therapy.

Remote Therapeutic Monitoring in Physical Therapy

What is Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM)?

Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is a form of telehealth that involves the collection and monitoring of non-physiological patient health data. Eligible RTM medical devices gather data based on relevant health metrics, which are then automatically sent to clinicians for review.

It’s easy to confuse RTM with remote patient monitoring (RPM), another digital healthcare solution, but the two are distinct. That’s because RPM specifically collects physiological data (like blood oxygen levels or pulse). In contrast, RTM measures data related to:

  • Therapy adherence
  • Therapy response
  • Musculoskeletal status
  • Respiratory status

So, the key difference between RPM and RTM is the amount and type of data collected. Another thing that sets RTM apart is the inclusion of self-reported data, which is typically not seen in RPM. Patients can self-report information such as pain tolerance and their response to therapy exercises, allowing providers to gain real-time insights.

Why Use RTM for Physical Therapy? Benefits to Consider

When it comes to specialties that can benefit from remote therapeutic monitoring, physical therapy is chief among them. This is largely due to the fact that a significant number of patients prescribed an exercise-based rehabilitation program are non-adherent.

One 2022 study notes that personal issues, insufficient insurance authorization, and a lack of geographic accessibility are among the most common obstacles non-adherent patients face. RTM can address these issues and offer even more benefits to PTs and their staff.

Better Patient Outcomes

The most obvious and significant benefit of RTM is improved patient outcomes. Real-time data empowers PTs to make more informed decisions about how to adjust patient care plans over time.

Using an RTM device or platform reminds patients of their treatment goals and provides them with more opportunities to share important updates with their providers, helping to identify areas of need.

The tailored treatment that physical therapists can offer with the help of RTM insights tends to be more effective, leading to better outcomes for patients across the board.

Fewer Barriers to Effective Care

Geographical distance no longer needs to hold patients back from complying with their treatment plans. RTM enables providers to reduce the number of in-person visits they require from patients, thus improving their chances of continuing care.

It also gives patients who may have busy schedules, childcare considerations, or other potential obstacles another way to continue pursuing treatment.

Moreover, RTM can become a new source of revenue for PTs. Providers can bill Medicare for the time they spend showing patients how to use RTM devices and for the treatment management services they provide through remote therapeutic monitoring.

Increased Patient Engagement & Compliance

For many patients, non-adherence stems from confusion about how to implement therapies or a lack of faith in therapy effectiveness.

By allowing patients to monitor progress and changes in real-time, RTM naturally engages them in the treatment process. It also gives patients a look at the tangible impact of their compliance; being able to see metrics improve over time or respond to changes made can be highly motivating and helps patients feel involved.

How to Use Virtual Healthcare Tools for Physical Therapy

Clearly, there’s a lot of potential to use virtual healthcare solutions like remote therapeutic monitoring for physical therapy. But how, specifically, can you leverage RTM in your practice? Below are a few ways you can integrate RTM into your practice.

  • Reach More Patients. Utilize RTM to reach inaccessible or immobile patients, those living in rural communities, and patients who might otherwise have a hard time getting into the office. Give patients who might otherwise discontinue care another way to access treatment to organically extend your practice’s reach.
  • Streamline Clinical Care. You can remove some of the burden that may sit on overworked front office staff by automating how patients receive home exercises and other materials. Instead of regularly contacting your staff for help, patients can use their RTM platform to access resources and get support.
  • Involve PTAs When Appropriate. The more people who are knowledgeable about RTM in your practice, the better. Outpatient physical therapist assistants in non-private practices can furnish RTM under general supervision guidelines. However, PTAs in private practices must be under direct supervision when furnishing RTM communication – but they can still be involved.

Above all else, make sure to select an RTM device provider and platform that are user-friendly and supports your needs. CoachCare is here to help you bring virtual health technologies to your patients, allowing you to deliver better care and reduce your team’s workload.

CoachCare is more than just a RTM device and platform provider; we’re also your teammates. We’re here to help you navigate everything from teaching your staff to use RTM to educating patients and providing ongoing support. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you transform your approach to care.