Is Telerehabilitation Effective?

 

To determine the usefulness of telerehabilitation David Hailey etal of the School of Information Systems and Technology, University of
Wollongong, Australia reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness of various telerehabilitation (TR) applications. The survey included reports on rehabilitation for any disability, except  drug or alcohol addiction or mental health conditions. Considered were all kinds of telecommunications technology for TR.   Both study performance and study design were considered . The results were judged on whether each TR application had been successful, whether the results  were clinically significant, and whether it was necessary to gather further data  to establish whether the application was suitable for routine use. There were 61 scientifically credible studies that reported patient outcomes.  Administrative changes were identified through computerized literature searches on 5 databases. Twelve clinical categories were included in the studies. The ones dealing with  neurological or cardiac  rehabilitation were in the majority. Thirty-one of the studies (51%) were of good or high   quality. The study results showed that 71% of the TR applications were successful, 18% were unsuccessful and  11% were unclear as to their status. The  outcomes for 51% of the applications seemed to be clinically significant. The poorer-quality studies tended to have  outcomes that were worse than those from high- or good-quality studies. The surveyors judged that further study was required for 62% of the TR applications and preferable for 23%. Their conclusion was that TR shows promise in many fields, but  evidence of benefit and  impact on routine rehabilitation programs is still somewhat limited. There is still a need for more detailed, better-quality studies and for studies on the use of TR in general routine care.
One of the areas of success in telerehabilitation is in the use of the TUTOR system. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are designed to give intensive rehabilitation exercises to those that have had a spinal cord/brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, MS, CP, Radial and Ulnar nerve injuries as well as other upper and lower limb surgeries or injuries. The TUTOR system uses sophisticated software that provides a customized exercise program for the individual patient. Many times the patient lives too far from a rehabilitation clinic or has improved to the point where he no longer needs to be seen in a regular clinic. In those cases the TUTORs have an excellent rehabilitation system in place for the therapist to instruct the patient remotely.
Currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals the TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.
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