The Future for Rehabilitation?

While I’m definitely not the first to do this it does feel like we can still be at the forefront of the industry by offering this simple spin on treatment. And in a world of remote work environments, hot desking and the NBN it is becoming more and more of a viable option for treatment providers who are willing to do things a little differently.

Couple these developments in technology with the health shortage seen in most rural areas of Australia, where for someone living in outback NSW it can take up to 3 months to see a GP and 6 months to see a Physiotherapist and there is a match with this different way of treating that’s so clear and evident that it seems silly that it’s not done more often.

It’s an idea that I’ve been playing with and “white-boarding” for the last few years at Specialised Health and just recently had an opportunity put under my nose to give it a go and see how it went. A perfect situation with no risk, “anything is better than nothing” that gave us the opportunity to road test the idea and feel out the viability from a practical point of view.

After meeting with the super-forward-thinking Life Insurance providers at BT Financial to nut out some packages and Exercise Physiology product offerings it was asked whether we would consider providing our EP sessions ”via skype”… Music to my ears…

A Health Support Consultant at BT had been helping out a cattle farmer in rural Victoria who powers his house via solar energy, effectively living “off the grid” and whom had torn his supraspinatus (a key muscle in the shoulder rotator cuff) lifting fence posts and digging post holes. He had made the 1hr trip to the nearest physiotherapist to get treatment and after another 2 visits and 2 more 2 hour car rides, unfortunately there was still no benefit.

After being referred on by the physio, luckily enough it was in the summer months and he wasn’t snowed in at the time, he was able to make a 2 ½ hour trip to consult with an Orthopaedic Surgeon who essentially said it wasn’t serious enough for surgery and to continue with his farm work but “make sure you only do light duties (try telling this to a farmer…) and if you make it worse you’ll definitely need surgery”.

Another 2 ½ car ride home and what now… Physiotherapy wont help, surgery isn’t an option and he’s supposed to do “light” farming duties…… Now what?

Enter our new favourite desktop and mobile app – Citrix Goto Meeting.

With this fellow being deep within the chronic phase of his injury, being 18 months from the initial injury, some education around how to strengthen the “healthy” shoulder muscles and improve the shoulder movement patterns without impacting the already damaged tendon was sorely needed (excuse the pun).

With literally two clicks of the mouse we were looking at each other in Hi-Def video and I could talk and show him through some basic movements which he could immediately put into practice on the farm and which provided him with the confidence that he wasn’t going to make the shoulder worse if he stuck to the few basic key points. Plus we had now set some wheels in motion for some shoulder strengthening to occur which we’ll build on as soon as the exercise equipment arrives that has been couriered out to him.

We had barely started to scratch the surface of what we’ll be able to do with this remote service but already this farmer was over the moon that BT Financial would explore such an option and would spend the time to ask our Ex Phys company to provide him with some more treatment options when he thought he had none.

“I actually bloody feel like I can do something about this shoulder now”…

We can’t wait to see how this case unfolds.