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Virtual Physical Therapy: 6 Steps to a Successful Appointment

Virtual physical therapy has become an asset to healthcare providers and patients alike over recent months. While its use became particularly necessary for high-risk populations needing to stay away from medical facilities, the reason telehealth for physical therapy is here to stay may have more to do with convenience, and practicality.


"Telemedicine can make it easier, faster, and safer to get the healthcare you and your family need," Rachel Bishop, MD, medical director of Houston Methodist Virtual Urgent Care in Texas shared with Sari Harrar of Everyday Health. "Wait times are shorter than most in-person medical visits. You don't have to take time off from work or find childcare. And virtual visits can reduce your exposure to viruses and other infections."


While virtual physical therapy is a great tool able to help treat many conditions, being properly prepared for your appointment will go a long way in setting you up for success.


Check out the six steps we've outlined below and be fully prepared for your first telehealth visit...


Make sure you have internet before your virtual pt appointment. Photo shows a hand on the trackpad of a laptop. Superimposed words read "1. Check your internet connection."
Virtual PT Success Step #1

1. Check your internet connection.

Make sure you're somewhere with a reliable internet connection. It's a good idea to close any unnecessary programs and apps open on your computer or phone, allowing your video to run as smoothly as possible. This will also keep notifications from interrupting your appointment once your appointment begins.





Photo shows an African American woman sitting at her laptop getting ready for her telehealth for physical therapy appointment. Words superimposed in blue on top of the image read "2. Prep your computer (tablet, or phone).
Virtual PT Success Step #2

2. Prep your computer (tablet, or phone).

Whatever device you choose to use, make sure it's fully charged or able to stay plugged in, and that it's connected to the internet.


Think about the angle of your camera during the call. Ensure your camera is front facing so that you're able to look at the screen as well as show your face. If you're unfamiliar with this set up, give it a try before your virtual physical therapy appointment.



Choose the right location for your virtual physical therapy appointment. Photo shows text reading "3. Choose the right location." written in dark blue superimposed over a tan, patterned door with a sign on the handle reading "treatment in progress, PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB."
Virtual PT Success Step #3

3. Choose the right location.

For best results, choose a location where you won't be easily distracted by the television or radio, and where you aren't likely to be interrupted by your roommate, kids, or colleagues. Consider using headphones to further reduce outside noise and to help you and your practitioner hear each other.


Additionally, try to avoid dark or dimly lit areas as this will make it harder for you and your practitioner to see each other.



Get setup for your virtual physical therapy appointment. Photo shows a computer, headphones, notepad with pencil, and mouse. The words "4. Get setup before your appointment." are superimposed over the image.
Virtual PT Success Step #4

4. Get setup before your appointment.

Before your appointment begins, have everything you'll need at the ready. If you're using headphones, have them nearby. Make a list of your recent symptoms and any questions you have for your practitioner to ensure that any concerns you have are addressed. It can be a good idea to have a notebook handy to write down any responses, notes, or instructions you are given during your virtual physical therapy appointment for easy remembering later on.


Stay engaged during your virtual physical therapy appointment. Photo shows an older woman looking at a laptop computer screen. It appears her doctor is on the other side. The words "5. Engage with the therapist." in dark blue are superimposed on the image.
Virtual PT Success Step #5

5. Engage with the therapist.

Just like traditional doctor's visits, the success of virtual physical therapy depends upon both parties. Your practitioner will need key elements of your medical history and your current health status in order to properly evaluate and treat your condition.


Do your best to stay focused and to avoid household or office distractions during your appointment.



Virtual PT may be new for you! Photo shows joined hands shaking. Words in dark blue superimposed over the image read "6. This is new! Be flexible and patient."
Virtual PT Success Step #6

6. This is new! Be flexible and patient.

Virtual physical therapy appointments may be new for you. Work with your practitioner to ensure a good experience. Plan what you'll do if there's a disconnection. If the screen freezes or there's an audio lag, stay calm and share what's happening. If you have questions or get confused, just ask. Our goal at Frontier is to make sure you get back to your best health as soon as possible. We're here to work with you to make that happen!


Now that you know what it takes to have a successful first telehealth for physical therapy appointment, take the leap and schedule your first evaluation! We're here to get you back to the life you love!

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