Telerehab Matches Traditional Rehab for Patient Outcomes

HealthLeaders Media Staff, January 31, 2011

Knee-replacement patients who undergo  telerehabilitation–an Internet-based postoperative rehabilitation program that can be conducted from home–experience the same – sometimes better -- results as those who undergo traditional rehabilitation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

The randomized controlled trial found that theoutcomes achieved via telerehabilitation at six weeks followingtotal knee arthroplasty were comparable with those after conventionalrehabilitation.

The researchers enrolled 65 patients who underwent TKA and randomized them to receive six weeks of either traditional outpatient rehab services or Internet-based outpatient rehab.

Patients in the telerehab group performed their therapy in a hospital room designed to replicate a typical home environment. Therapy sessions consisted of self-applied techniques under the guidance of the remote therapist; it also involved education in the postoperative management of the affected knee. After six weeks, the Internet-rehab group

  • achieved outcomes comparable to those of the conventional rehabilitation group, and fared better in some results, including a reduction in joint stiffness.
  • showed significant improvement in specific functional areas, designed to mimic their actual daily activities.
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