Joining a growing number of healthcare organizations to embrace tele-rehab, UT Health East Texas at Ardent Medical Services recently licensed the TheraNow Platform to provide telemedicine and remote physical therapy treatment to its patients throughout East Texas.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth undergone a rapid expansion in terms of function, accessibility, offering and capabilities. Multiple platforms have emerged capable of addressing health concerns ranging from general healthcare and mental health to hands-on healthcare capabilities including physical therapy.
The UT Health East Texas partnership with TheraNow gives its recovering patients the option of physical therapy and rehabilitation services at home under the guidance of their physician or therapist. The TheraNow platform provides patients with personalized, prescribed one-on-one video therapy sessions with licensed therapists via their laptops or mobile device. The TheraNow app monitors progress with outcome tracking that helps the therapist to build an effective progressive rehabilitation program.
“When I was initially introduced to TheraNow, I was very impressed with the capabilities to help patients prepare for joint replacement surgery to optimize their outcome and the opportunity to have post-procedure therapy at home through the telehealth platform. I am pleased that our orthopedic surgeons have embraced this technology and that UTHET Rehabilitation Services is also beginning to provide this option to their patients,” said Vicki Briggs, CEO, UT Health Tyler at Ardent Health Services.
Briggs adds that she has first-hand experience with TheraNow, which she used for at-home physical therapy following hip replacement surgery. Her therapist instructed her on performing the exercises and also monitored her progress.
“It was an added benefit to see videos of the exercises to refresh me on exactly how to do them when I was not online with the therapist,” she said. “I was also much more motivated to stay on track with the schedule since I had to check in daily when I performed the exercises and note on the application how I was doing. I was 100% pleased with this experience and had a great outcome.”
UT Health Rehabilitation Hospital Administrator Laurie Lenhof notes that TheraNow is an innovative way for the rehabilitation hospital to provide therapy to patients at home—a treatment options they are “thrilled to extend to our community.”
She adds: “We can also reach beyond our usual service area as the distance becomes less of a barrier. Our rehabilitation leaders and therapists worked diligently to make this new project a reality and are eager to see it grow.”
Expanded Benefits and Uses
The appeal of tele-rehab is multifaceted. For patients in remote locations, telehealth-powered physical therapy eliminates geographical constraints. Additionally, many telehealth physical therapy providers offer apps with tracking capabilities, which lets patients see different plot points on their journey to recovery.
This has led to broader adoption of tele-rehab, which in turn as resulted in an expansion of the health concerns it can be used to treat. For example, many experts now believe it can play an important role in combating the opioid epidemic.
According to TheraNow COO and Co-Founder Ashok Guptak, DPT, physicians typically have two primary options when deciding treatment for their chronic pain patients: pharmaceutical pain management, typically with opioids, or physical therapy. As evidence mounts supporting physical therapy as a highly effective form of long-term pain management, the number of institutions offering it to chronic pain patients is growing.
Gupta is an early pioneer of tele-rehab who directed the several years-long development program for TheraNow with intense feedback from therapists, orthopedic surgeons, hospital administrators, and patients. He notes that tele-rehab offers several key benefits over in-person therapy, in particular the convenience of accessing treatment without having to leave home, which is significant when functionality is severely limited by debilitating pain.
Assessments can be undertaken, treatment plans developed and tailored, appointments scheduled, and therapy conducted all via video sessions online or on mobile apps and all without requiring the patient to leave the safety of their home—which also increases the likelihood that patients will stay with it for the long-term.
In addition to UT Health East Texas, TheraNow has partnerships with other healthcare and service providers, including Ardent Health Services, Onsite Physio/Worker’s Compensation, Indian Health Service, and K12 Education System. Its comprehensive app-based musculoskeletal treatment program provides concierge-level care and cutting-edge technology while allowing healthcare providers nationwide to promote safer and quicker patient recovery at home.