Telerehabilitation: a model for the future?

With the general aging of the population, at least in industrialized countries, and the limited resources dedicated to public health, the development of new rehabilitation models and practices seems mandatory to cope with the changing needs of the population.

Telerehabilitation, one of the emerging fields of telemedicine, is one of the most promising solutions to improve the quality of life of over 50s and patients.

Telerehabilitation can be used as an alternative to traditional inpatient rehabilitation, within the outpatient or the home care setting, as well as to create a continuum of care across all these settings (1).
Telerehabilitation interventions have been used successfully in the areas of preventive care and chronic disease management.

Patients positively rated benefits such as:

  • reduction of travel need
  • flexible operating hours
  • possibility to better integrate acquired skills into daily life.

The feasibility and acceptability of telerehabilitation technologies have shown significant patient and doctor satisfaction, together with improvements in the quality of life (2).

Ultimately, tele-rehabilitation has the potential to expand and decentralize service delivery and reduce global health disparities in access to rehabilitation.
It will therefore be increasingly important to develop scalable and sustainable telerehabilitation programs (3) with short to medium-long term perspectives.