How often have you or a loved one needed to go for physical therapy due to an injury and felt like you were competing for your therapist’s attention because he or she was juggling multiple patients at one time? Have you ever wondered once you got home if you were doing your exercises the way the therapist showed you? Do you sometimes need to get motivated to do the home exercises on the sheets the therapist sent home with you? Do you ever have a question for a physical therapist and want a professional opinion, but don’t want to schedule an office visit?
Ari Ginsberg, DPT, a licensed doctor of physical therapy, has conceived of a new and exciting way to help patients with their home exercises. “I have been a practicing home-health physical therapist for many years,” Ginsberg told The Jewish Link. “Physical therapists work diligently with a patient during visits and expect that patients follow their prescribed home exercise program. Unfortunately, patients have difficulty keeping up with the regimen independently leading to a delay in improvement or even functional decline.”
What Ginsberg is now offering through his company VirtualHEP, is one-on-one virtual 15- or 30-minute physical therapy sessions. Using a HIPAA-compliant video conference service, patients show Ginsberg how they’re doing their exercises and he can observe, guide and demonstrate in order to help the patient meet their goals. All the patient needs to do is send a copy of their home exercise program (HEP) sheets to Ginsberg ahead of time. Ginsberg will also create a home exercise program if one is not available.
“I know a lot of times people don’t want to do their exercises because they’re boring. I pride myself on making them exciting and fun. I know how to make them more enjoyable,” he shared.
He also tries to motivate patients. Many times patients aren’t motivated to do their exercises when they are at home. They wait until they’re back in the office before they do them again. This is not productive. Ginsberg takes the time to explain the purpose of the exercises.
Ginsberg stresses that his tele-health sessions are not in place of going to physical therapy. What he’s offering is supplemental therapy after the visit, or after a patient has been discharged. His tele-sessions are a condensed visit focused on therapeutic exercises. “Often, I have senior patients who have come on and off home health services like a revolving door due to deconditioning from not adhering to their home exercise program.” What Ginsberg is providing is feedback on functional exercises such as their sitting, standing and bed exercises. Ginsberg’s VirtualHEP sessions also offer privacy for those who are resistant to a therapist’s physical presence in their home, as well as convenience for those who want to participate in physical therapy without having to leave their home.
VirtualHEP is an innovative way to ensure that home exercises are being followed in an accurate manner. The service is affordable and is offered on a per-session basis to customers who are looking to supplement their current physical therapy services, have recently been discharged from physical therapy or are looking to consult with a professional. The convenience of the sessions taking place in the person’s home, on their terms, is extremely appealing to patients. VirtualHEP is the best way to maintain physical therapy success.
“I was thinking of how to help patients achieve their physical therapy goals. Following home exercises is a way to succeed but a lot of times patients don’t follow through. Today, even my older patients are comfortable using video conferencing to see their kids or grandchildren, so the technology is not foreign to them. We can live stream and I can guide them or give pointers to their aides to help them complete their home exercise program.”
Ginsberg is pleased to also offer physical therapy consultations. “A patient can book a session for a consultation regarding a physical ailment. I often get questions from athletes—runners about shin splints, tennis elbow, back pain, knee pain—now they can avoid an unnecessary office visit!” Ginsberg also reiterates that he will refer a patient to an outpatient clinic if more manual techniques are required.
Ginsberg is a graduate of Touro College Physical Therapy School. He’s worked with patients of all ages, from pediatrics to geriatrics. He lives with his family in New Milford, New Jersey.
By Sara Kosowsky Gross