Video Therapy Compared to Office Visits
> 11/25/2008 3:31:38 PM

Head trauma can damage any number of mental functions, but the amazing adaptability of our brains means that therapy and practice can often restore what was lost. Dr. Richard Goldstein had a hunch that this adaptability also means that patients will respond to therapy facilitated by new computer technology. His test of this hypothesis appears this month in The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

Dr. Goldstein’s study compared the effectiveness of web camera therapy to traditional office visits. To do this he set up a three-month regimen of weekly sessions that alternated between teletherapy and office visits. The patient was a 41-year old man with aphasia (a language problem) who was attempting to reintegrate into society three years after his traumatic brain injury.

Both the patient and the case coordinator reported finding the web camera therapy as effective as office visits. The picture is not simply that the different therapies were identical, however, as different advantages and disadvantages were perceived. The reported disadvantages were camera-shyness and frustration with lagging video. The reported advantages were easier scheduling, more focus on goals, and saved transportation time.

As all of the disadvantages are problems which will fade over time, when patients become more familiar with the technology and Internet connections improve, Dr. Goldstein concluded that web camera therapy can be a good substitute for office visits. This conclusion cannot be taken as conclusive though until more research is conducted. Case studies often yield valuable insights, but their results must be confirmed by more rigorous studies that use a large and randomly selected sample.


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