Telehealth Physical THerapy

ROMBOT: The Future of Telehealth Physical Therapy

At ROMBOT, we provide a telehealth mobile platform connecting patients (“movers”) who need joint-pain relief and rehabilitation with accredited physical therapists. Our experts use data-driven insights to provide superior movement healing.

What is telehealth for physical therapy?

This refers to physical therapy services offered over a technology platform such as video or phone, instead of an in-person visit. At ROMBOT, we primarily use mobile health, which is defined as a medical practice supported by mobile devices. Using a smartphone, movers can choose, schedule, and video conference with a licensed physical therapist through the app. The ROMBOT App collects data about a mover’s personalized program through our ROMBIT, a wearable device that fits within our smart braces to measure your range of motion (ROM). The app also tracks program completion progress and sends push notifications reminding movers to complete their daily exercises. 

Why telehealth?

In 2018, the US physical therapy market was a $34.5 billion industry and is expected to grow to over $45 billion by 2023. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the mobile health market is valued at $46 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $230 billion by 2027. This is supported by a shift in the way millennials go about finding healthcare. 

Telehealth is convenient.

According to a report by Becker, millennials are driving changes in healthcare by requiring more speed and efficiency throughout the process, and by requesting the use of telehealth applications. By scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist remotely, movers can control their schedule and eliminate commuting to and from appointments, ultimately saving them time. Moreover, by giving movers access to a physical therapist at their fingertips, there are no hurdles to jump through. No gateway appointments with a PCP and faster pain relief!

Telehealth creates access.

Not only can telehealth physical therapy address increased demands for convenience and social distancing requirements, but it can reach previously underserved and geographically displaced movers. Telehealth appointments make it easy for movers to get access from rural or less densely populated areas. According to Physera, rural counties have less physical therapists per 1,000 people than more densely populated counties. For instance, while Los Angeles County is in the top 20th percentile for the raw number of physical therapists (approximately 3,759 PTs), it falls in the 40th-60th percentile with regards to access. In other words, there are a lot of physical therapists in Los Angeles County, but they aren’t easily accessible.

Number of physical therapists per 1000 people (PTP1K). Physical therapy practice data obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s National Provider Identifier Registry and the Physician Compare database. Practice locations from these data were mapped to latitude and longitude using a geocoding service. Population densities, current population estimates, and county shape files obtained from the US Census Bureau. Source: Merl, D. (2019, April 10). It wouldn’t take much to close the physical therapy access gap. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://blog.physera.com/it-wouldnt-take-much-to-close-the-physical-therapy-access-gap-7a81bb885072

Telehealth is an educational tool.

Manual (or touch) therapy can be an important aspect of treatment. But for some movers, too much manual therapy can make them overly reliant on their physical therapist. In many instances it’s more beneficial for movers to be up and moving; the personalized exercise programs help them do just that. By using a telehealth format, it gives movers the opportunity to get quality education and information from their physical therapist. It can serve as a platform for them to ask questions, run through movements, and check their form, all at their convenience.

Telehealth is cost transparent. 

One of the pitfalls of traditional healthcare is the lack of transparency regarding billing. According to a consumer survey commissioned by PNC healthcare and conducted by Shapiro + Raj in 2015, 41 percent of millennials ask for cost estimates upfront compared to 21 percent of their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Additionally, approximately 34 percent of millennials reported increased costs after treatment, even when they asked for upfront estimates. At ROMBOT, movers will know exactly how much they’re paying for treatment. There are no hidden fees and no unexplained costs. We believe transparency is necessary in healthcare.

How does it work?

At ROMBOT, movers choose a licensed physical therapist in their state. Once they’ve selected a physical therapist, they schedule a video call with them at their convenience. Working with their physical therapist, they’ll create a personalized program for a set number of weeks. As they progress through the program, they’ll continue to schedule video calls to monitor and shift goals. The program is set up within the ROMBOT App, which tracks their daily progress. Our smart braces contain a ROMBIT, which can track a mover’s range of motion (ROM), giving them more information about how they’re moving. 

Forward thinking. Forward Moving.

COVID-19 has changed the way we think about medicine and how we access our healthcare. Previously, most physical therapy providers couldn’t imagine treating patients over a video call. While telehealth has increased in use over the last few years, the COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for pushing the industry forward in previously unimaginable ways. At ROMBOT, we’re pushing the boundaries of physical therapy for our movers. Check out our beta program in the app

References: 

Castin, M., (2020, June 2). Telehealth Physical Therapy (PT) – Your Guide. Retrieved from https://thenonclinicalpt.com/telehealth-physical-therapy/

Greiwe, M. (2018, October 19). Millennials Drop Family Docs, Prefer Telemedicine. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.ortholive.com/blog/millennials-drop-family-docs-prefer-telemedicine 

LaRosa, J. S. (2019, June 19). U.S. Physical Therapy Clinics Take In $34 Billion. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=242455#:~:text=

Merl, D. (2019, April 10). It wouldn’t take much to close the physical therapy access gap. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://blog.physera.com/it-wouldnt-take-much-to-close-the-physical-therapy-access-gap-7a81bb885072

Ripton, J. T. (2017, March 1). Five ways Millennials are changing the healthcare industry. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/care-coordination/five-ways-millennials-are-changing-the-healthcare-industry.html

Sumant, O., Telugunta, R., & Gill , S. (2020, April). mHealth Market Expected to Reach $230 Billion by 2027. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/mobile-health-market

Vargo, A. (2015, March 23). Five Ways Tech-Savvy Millennials Alter Health Care Landscape. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from https://pnc.mediaroom.com/2015-03-23-Five-Ways-Tech-Savvy-Millennials-Alter-Health-Care-Landscape 

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