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Telehealth in Physical Therapy

Policy Recommendations for Appropriate Regulation

The purpose of this document is to provide information and general guidance to physical therapy jurisdictional authorities for regulating the use of telehealth technologies in the practice of physical therapy. 

In developing these recommendations, the committee conducted a review of other professions’ models and best practices, telehealth nomenclature, published practice/clinical guidelines, and industry standards. 

Acknowledging the rapid growth in telehealth technology and applications, the guidelines in this resource were purposefully written in a general manner in an attempt to maintain future relevance and avoid the need for jurisdictions to continually revise statutes and/or regulations on this topic.  

Telehealth is not a new treatment, or an expansion of scope of practice, but a means to deliver physical therapy care to those in need.  The physical therapist is still responsible for the care of the patient and for making determinations of the best means to deliver that care.  The standards of care and practice, laws, and regulations currently required to be followed for any in-person encounter must also be followed for any encounter via telehealth.  

Regulators should review existing statute and rules to determine if the language is sufficient to authorize physical therapy to be delivered via telehealth technology; then only drafting new language if required.

State Occupational and Physical Therapy Telehealth Laws and Regulations: A 50-State Survey

The Center for Connected Health Policy conducted a scan of current state policy affecting occupational and physical therapy practice, supervision, and additional requirements for using telehealth

INPTRA Digital Practice White Paper and Survey

During 2017-2019, The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) (now World Physiotherapy) and INPTRA (International Network of Physiotherapy Regulatory Authorities) established a joint Digital Physical Therapy Practice Task Force to develop a white paper addressing physical therapy practice and regulation in the digital age.

This white paper is an initial look at international digital practice and proposes a definition and purpose for digital physical therapy practice while exploring benefits, current limitations, regulatory concerns, guidelines and considerations for educational programs. The Digital Practice White Paper is also available in Spanish.

A survey was created to obtain feedback from practitioners and regulators across the globe. The full survey results can be found here.

More Tools

Below are more tools that FSBPT has developed for state licensing authorities in the regulation of physical therapy.