Many industries have adapted their business models to meet the demands of customers while insuring their health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the crosshairs of this pandemic, the healthcare industry has aggressively met this challenge with the introduction of online healthcare options including physical therapy.With more than half of the U.S. adult population impacted by musculoskeletal (MSK) and back-related conditions, virtual physical therapy sessions are a way for patients to keep on track with their treatment, bringing their sessions to their home.

In fact, physical therapists can diagnose and treat over 70 percent of MSK disorders virtually. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, over a three-year period between 2015-2018, doctors who used telehealth to see patients increased from 5% to 22%. More than 1,000 patients at ATI Physical Therapy, one of the nation’s largest physical therapy providers, have used its telehealth service since the program’s launch in March.

Virtual PT also is an effective way to help manage pain, with the goal of keeping them out of the doctor’s offices and emergency rooms during this critical time. It is particularly valuable for seniors, who generally have the most pain and are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.

According to a study in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 68 percent of patients with direct access to PT had resolved symptoms without further medical treatment. Recent studies have shown patients that maintain continuity of care display higher patient satisfaction, improvement and lower related healthcare costs over the next year.