How Video Technology Creates Better Physical Therapists

Training to become a physical therapist (PT) is challenging, yet rewarding. There is a vast amount of knowledge and skills a person must master to become a great PT. However, some of the challenges can be mitigated by using video recording technology for training.

Video observation helps PT students in the moment

There are great advantages to using video observation to enhance PT training. For example, the Video Audio Learning Tool (VALT) system developed by Intelligent Video Solutions places high-quality IP cameras in the room with auto-gaining microphones to capture sessions. Since the video is stored on a cloud server, anyone with the proper permissions can access the video files.

The VALT system includes a “talkback” feature that allows instructors to remain unseen while communicating with PT students wearing small earbuds. This real-time communication is critical for students. The best time to correct someone is in the moment and the only way to do that with a PT session, without interrupting, is by using an unseen method of communication.

Additional advantages provided by the VALT system include:

·                 The ability to tag videos with metadata to make files easy to find in a search

·                 The ability to categorize videos and then grant access permissions based on those tags

·                 The ability to review PT sessions to spot opportunities for correction or guidance

·                 A system for annotating video clips

·                 Full encryption to keep files secure and stored in compliance with HIPAA

All of these capabilities make it easier for instructors to guide PT students during their critical training time – in real time.

Digital video files are easy to find

One of the greatest advantages of using video observation is being able to retrieve files with a simple search. Digital files are stored in a database and as long as they are tagged with metadata, those files will come up in search results when people type in the appropriate keywords.

For example, you can tag video files with the name of the physical therapist in training, the type of condition the PT is treating, the gender of the patient, and more. Any tag applied to a file makes that file searchable by those tags. People don’t need to remember all of the tags since the tags can be served up as a clickable list.

Video can help reduce the cost of PT training

It’s not just physical therapists in training who incur training expenses. It costs money to train new physical therapists. PTs in training have to be paid for all of their time, but all other staff members must be present and paid during training sessions. For simulation training with mock PT sessions, the person playing the role of the patient must also be paid.

Having a video observation system set up can greatly reduce the cost of training. The video recorded PT sessions can be used as part of someone’s training program. Granted, they will also need hands-on experience, but much can be learned from observation.

Video recorded PT sessions make great training tools

Physical therapists in training can learn effective techniques by observing experienced therapists work with patients in a variety of circumstances. For example, they can observe the way a PT works with patients who aren’t flexible enough to perform the rehabilitation exercises and learn how to work around other physical limitations.

A PT in training can also observe how to communicate with patients effectively. Some patients don’t look forward to their PT sessions and are only attending for insurance purposes. Others feel hopeless and some express their anger regarding their circumstances. Most PTs will encounter all of these situations at some point during their career. It helps to watch experienced clinicians handle these difficult situations.

Knowing how to handle tough situations before they’re encountered on the job is important. That knowledge empowers PTs in training to deal with stressful situations. In this way, video technology helps prevent stress. This is critical considering the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the stress and anxiety felt by PTs.

Physical therapy training should be a priority

Using video recording technology is a cost-effective solution for increasing the effectiveness of training while decreasing the potential for students to make unseen mistakes. 

Prioritizing physical therapy training is imperative to achieve positive patient outcomes. No expense should be spared on training time and materials. Training a PT is an investment in their future patients’ lives.

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