What are some ways that physical and occupational therapists can use technology for outpatient therapy?
That was my big kicker, my initial question that started this entire journey of search engines, blog posts, social media, and honestly some light junk reading. I started this journey thinking of technology as a kind of narrow window. When some people hear the word technology they automatically think computer screens and robots. I was one of those people before this project, unfortunately. However this is very much not the case. Technology, especially concerning things like Occupational therapy, can be an advancement of any tools in general. For instance, a wheelchair advancement to better transportation of those alone in their households that cannot walk on their own, can prove to be a large, innovative, and efficient technological advancement in Occupational Therapy. However, after I realized that the definition was so broad, I tried to narrow down my search to make it more about how maybe OTs can administer certain types of rehab on tablets, small computers, and even cell phones.
Occupational therapists have been undergoing a slight transformation concerning the use of technology in rehabilitation and therapy. For starters, OTs using social media to get information concerning new healthcare reforms, job openings, training programs, and just simply broadening their clientele is almost necessary these days. It creates so many opportunities for OT firms to reach out to their patients on a daily basis, whether it is the therapist to one other patient, or the therapist/firm to their entire audience of patients. It allows them to keep tabs on outpatient cases and creates a more innovative convenient way of communication in general.
Other than the social media side, I got to see and read a lot about new apps and activities that people can access from the comfort of their own home. Tablets and smartphones are extremely common these days. That being said, if they are part of an everyday lifestyle, they should be able to operate as a benefit to patients of occupational therapy at home. There are more and more apps being developed that help enhance motor skills, language, and so many more tasks that patients can do while sitting at their house, without an OT present. It can be used as sort of a “homework” assigned by OTs to help keep improvement increasing in one’s patients/clients.
Along with my research about Occupational therapy and its use and integration of technology, I came across some interesting information. In the same type of field is a job called “Life-care planner”. This job basically encompasses a body of people that take care of insurance planning, healthcare planning, and trying to come up with convenient, innovative, efficient, and helpful ways for this person (after injury, etc.) to be able to do whatever it was that is now impaired. For example, someone actually came up with a plan to help a quadriplegic patient transport in a wheelchair by blowing through a straw to activate the movement of the wheelchair. It is all about basically creating your own technological advancement to better the life and treatment of someone else. That’s amazing!
Technology is going to be ever present in our world. No matter what field one goes into, it will some how make its way into that area, if it hasn’t already. Its truly an amazing thing, and this project allowed me to see the blessing of it that people sometimes suppress. Sure, our grandparents had to walk up hill, both ways, in the snow to school – while we have our iPhones map out the fastest way and tell us the weather before hand. But, although it is ever present, it is ever helpful. That is what this project helped me realize.