A Duke University study will analyze the benefits of telehealth services for physical therapy patients.

A new study launched by Duke University will help to assess the benefits of telehealth services for physical therapy patients. The Clinical Research Institute is looking at the benefits of Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation In-home Therapy, or VERITAS. The program will focus on patients going through total knee replacements as the use virtual exercise rehabilitation (VERA) to assist with the healing process.

Evaluating physical therapy in the home

A critical part of rehabilitation after surgery is physical therapy. A control group will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the telehealth program as it may help lower the costs of healthcare, reach more people in need of care in remote regions, and improve the quality of care. Patients may do better with a home-based program. While supervision will still be required as this is a new program that hasn’t been fully evaluated, it’s a good start.

According to CDC estimates, there are about 700,000 patients that have total knee replacements (TKR) every year. As more people are requiring knee replacements due to age, osteoporosis, and activity, there may be more than 3 million people that will require these procedures by the year 2030.

More Focused Care

These specific types of studies are important to healthcare providers as a procedure can cost about $33,000. A hands-on and focused treatment plan may also help patients recover faster as the telehealth and mHealth platforms will allow patients to have care in their own home. This may mean less travel time for patients, less waiting time, and reduced anxiety as the patient is in a home setting and not that of a hospital. It’s been noted that about 7 out of 10 patients don’t follow a physical therapy schedule in a clinical setting.

The VERITAS program will help physical therapists keep patients engaged as it uses Khan, an mHealth company. As patients work with therapists from the comfort of their homes, additional studies may be suggested in the future. These can help with stroke recovery patients and those going through prosthetic training. The study will use about 300 patients in the U.S. and the evaluations will include the associated costs, recovery time, clinical outcomes and types of health services used.