Clinician using Virtual Reality Telehealth

The Australian Government announced on 13th, December 2021 that it will invest $308.6 million to boost Australia’s care health system. This is an amazing win for all people requiring healthcare in this country, specially those requiring telehealth services. 

Physical and psychological rehabilitation can take years of constant effort. This can be prohibitively expensive, highly repetitive, and monotonous, with access to specialists often unavailable to people in remote or rural areas or people with mobility issues.

Accessing in-person healthcare is difficult for Australians with a wide range of conditions such as: 
  • stroke
  • spinal cord injury
  • chronic pain
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • head trauma
  • global development delay
  • complex regional pain, etc

An increasing number of healthcare practitioners turned to telehealth technology to successfully deliver care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since March 2020, 88,251 practitioners have delivered 79.6 million telehealth services to 15.7 million patients.”

– October 2021, www.health.gov.au

The government has extended the funding for more than four years to maintain permanent health services, assuring improved health care, and allowing GPs, specialists, and allied health professionals to continue online consultations with their regular patients. All Australians are able to access a telehealth consultation, whether they live in a city or a small town in the country. 

The current budget was introduced to support Australia’s healthcare system, which includes:

Permanent telehealth for Australian patients – $106 million
Australia’s mental health with Better Access to vital services – $58.8 million
Better health services in regional and rural Australia – $41.2 million
Access to Medicare – $77 million a
COVID-19 efforts through Primary Care – $25.6 million

While this is great news, the current physical rehabilitation services accessed through telehealth remain problematic, reported to be unmotivating and inefficient when compared with the hands-on, face-to-face care.

How do we make rehabilitation telehealth more effective? Clinicians are often only able to see their client once every few weeks due to the cost to the patient. As a result, assessments aren’t digitally measured and they have no way of truly tracking adherence to daily exercise. Many people give up on rehab, even with telehealth available, and live with their treatable condition, often resorting to medication as a daily fix and remaining unable to work.  

The quickly changing Australian healthcare landscape has provided us with new capabilities to improve our virtual interactions and get closer to the therapeutic experience and is critical to delivering effective and high-quality distant treatment.

Virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and augmented reality (AR) are all examples of extended reality, and they all exist on a continuum of immersion. With the use of headphones and body-tracking sensors, virtual reality is the most advanced of the three models. 

Immersive technologies like RecoveryVR’s virtual reality telehealth platform have the potential to enhance telehealth with greater acceptability, engagement, and effectiveness. The RecoveryVR system is a lightweight, wireless virtual reality head-set with a companion telehealth portal that delivers multidisciplinary clinical rehab techniques using gamification, creativity, and activities of daily life to keep a patient engaged in their own recovery during a telehealth session. The companion telehealth portal allows therapists to see what the patient is seeing and control the patients headset during therapy sessions. With this portal, physicians can prescribe activities for between sessions, tracking their adherence and improvement at any time.

To find out more about how VR can help aid recovery via telehealth, visit the “Request a Demo” page and book a private chat with our CEO, Christian Doran. 

Studies  

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33841313/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11110636/ 

About the author : Christian

Christian Doran is a technologist and creator.

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