Origin of Tele-rehabilitation
All aspects of medical rehabilitation have been revolutionized by technology. Health outcomes have been enhanced by the use of nanotechnologies, robotics, neuro-imaging, virtual reality, embedded sensors, and a range of other technologies. They have enabled the researchers in the expansion of their knowledge regarding processes of musculoskeletal and neurological recovery and to make remarkable discoveries in this field. Implication of this technology and research in clinical practice has enabled the people with disabilities to have access to a wide range of innovative and leading-edge opportunities of treatment. Delivery of interventions has also benefitted from advancement in technology along with the interventions themselves. The obstacle of physical distance between a patient and clinic has been removed by the help of this advancement. This has been achieved by the use of Information and communication technologies (ICT) which has extended the reach of clinicians to the patients, beyond the physical barriers of clinical facilities. A variety of interventions of treatment and assessment can be provided to patients by the aid of inertial sensors, robotic sensors, robotics, synchronized collaboration and remote monitoring systems. The use of ICT for the transfer of healthcare and medical information s referred to as telemedicine. The provision of rehabilitation services through the techniques and methods of telemedicine is referred to as telerehabilitation.
Application Of The Current Techniques
The application of the current techniques and tools of telemedicine to the individual disciplines of rehabilitation has resulted in telerehabilitation. The reason behind promotion of telerehabilitation, since its first demonstration project, was the desire for improvement in the provision of rehabilitation services, promotion of the participation and involvement of client in treatment and enhancement in the continuum of care. Pilot projects that comprised of small sample size were the structures for initial efforts for telerehabilitation. These pilot projects demonstrated that the provision of some of the techniques of assessment and treatment of rehabilitation is possible to the clients that are located in areas that are physically separated and thereby enabling to overcome the barriers that are created by lack of accessibility to trained providers and distance. Telephone was utilized by some of the initial telerehabilitation projects to administer the self-assessment measure of client and provide follow-up of client and caregiver support. This was followed by the use of pre- recorded video material and closed-circuit television for providing visual interaction with clients.
Scope Of The Application Of Telerehabilitation
The scope of the application of telerehabilitation began to expand with the advancement in ICT. Live interactive videoconferencing began to be employed in the projects that focused on rehabilitation interventions that are based on audio-visual interaction such as counseling, speech- language pathology, neuropsychology and physical contact was not a prominent barrier in them. Consultations, assessments for diagnosis, supervision through telerehabilitation, provision of treatment interventions and distance learning were provided by the clinicians by using high- quality video transmission, based upon the availability of higher-speed connections. Applications of telerehabilitation have been enabled to be employed in home due to the development that has taken place recently in the remote monitoring and sensor technologies. Early projects of telecare were aimed at providing basic services of follow-up and caregiver support while home-based diet, robotic-based treatment, monitoring and tracking of medication compliance and other interventions that are more potent, has been created and employed by the work which was performed recently.