Remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) is a rapidly evolving area within the physical therapy field, allowing therapists to monitor patients’ progress remotely and provide valuable feedback. To ensure that the process is efficient, safe, and reliable, specific devices have been approved for RTM in physical therapy practices. In this blog post, we will explore the devices approved for RTM, focusing on FDA-approved software as a medical device.
Understanding FDA-Approved Devices for Remote Therapeutic Monitoring:
Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)
The FDA considers software intended for one or more medical purposes as a “software as a medical device” if it performs these purposes without being part of a hardware medical device. In the context of remote therapeutic monitoring in physical therapy, SaMD can include mobile apps or web-based applications designed to monitor patients’ progress.
Mobile Medical Applications
Mobile medical applications are software applications that can be executed on a mobile platform, such as a smartphone or tablet, or a handheld commercial off-the-shelf computing platform. These applications can monitor medical information in real-time, making them suitable for RTM in physical therapy practices.
Web-based applications are another type of software approved by the FDA for RTM. These browser-based applications can be accessed on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, or computers, allowing patients and therapists to stay connected and monitor progress remotely.
Examples of Remote Therapeutic Monitoring Data:
In the world of physical therapy, various data can be monitored remotely to evaluate a patient’s progress. Some examples include:
Home Exercise Programs (HEPs)
Customized home exercise programs are a crucial part of many physical therapy plans. Remote therapeutic monitoring enables therapists to monitor patients’ participation and compliance with their prescribed HEPs, ultimately improving their outcomes.
Pain Level Monitoring
Monitoring pain levels allows therapists to assess their patients’ progress and adjust treatment plans as needed. Patients can report their pain levels daily, providing valuable data for their therapists to analyze.
Remote therapeutic monitoring can track patients’ steps and general activity levels using built-in accelerometers in smartphones or wearable devices like Fitbits. This data is particularly useful for patients with mobility issues or those who need encouragement to move more.
Remote therapeutic monitoring in physical therapy offers numerous benefits for both patients and therapists. By utilizing FDA-approved devices, such as software as a medical device, mobile medical applications, and web-based applications, therapists can monitor patients’ progress effectively and make necessary adjustments to treatment plans. As technology continues to evolve, remote therapeutic monitoring will likely become an increasingly essential component of physical therapy practice.