Advances in telecommunication technology provide unique opportunities for the provision of medical services to underserved and geographically displaced patients. Health care professionals currently use voice and video systems to communicate with patients and colleagues in a variety of clinical venues. Unfortunately, such systems have limited presence in physical therapy settings. A variety of factors, including lack of familiarity with existing devices and perceived system purchase and operation costs, appear to be limiting its use. Even the terminology is confusing with such terms as telehealth, telemedicine, and telerehabilitation often used interchangeably. The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of this technology and to provide a clinical perspective regarding the use of telehealth in cardiopulmonary physical therapy practice.
Keywords: physical therapy; technology and health care.