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Regaining or improving your mobility can be tough. With online physiotherapy, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
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Movement and mobility are important parts of wellbeing – but fitting in a trip to the physio's office can be tough at times. Online physiotherapy services can help.
Now, thanks to the growth of telehealth, you can get advice and guidance from a fully qualified physiotherapist, all from the comfort of your own home. You can even claim some online physiotherapists' services on Medicare or health insurance.
What is online physiotherapy?
Online physiotherapy is a digital alternative to in-person physio appointments. You can still get your condition assessed, diagnosed and treated by a fully qualified physiotherapist – it just happens via video call, rather than in person.
This is great for people who live in rural areas, find it difficult to travel, or just don't have the time to sit in traffic jams on their way to a physio appointment.
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How much can I expect to pay?
This is a tricky one, as different online physio services have different payment structures. Some charge per appointment, while others charge a set price for an ongoing rehabilitation program.
Always check the price before you commit to an appointment with an online physiotherapist.
How can I get an online physiotherapy assessment?
It's pretty easy. Once you've chosen which online physio service you'd like to use, just give them a call or get in touch via the company's website.
Each company has a slightly different approach, so you might be able to book an appointment straight away, or you might need to chat to a consultant before you can lock a time in.
Remember, some conditions won't be suitable for treatment via online physiotherapy, so you may not be able to get a digital appointment if the physiotherapist doesn't think you're a suitable candidate.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
No. In Australia, physiotherapists are considered "first contact" healthcare practitioners, so you don't need a referral from your GP to get an appointment with a physio.
However, if you want Medicare to help with the cost of your physio treatment, you will need a referral from your GP or a medical doctor. If you do have a referral from a doctor or specialist, you should mention it to your physio.
Is the cost of online physiotherapy covered by Medicare?
Medicare may cover some of the costs associated with online physiotherapy, but you'll need a referral from your GP or another medical doctor to be eligible.
The online physio company you choose must also offer Medicare rebates. It's important to check this before booking your appointment.
Is online physio covered by health insurance?
This depends on your health insurance, but many extras policies will offer some coverage for physio appointments. This means some – or all – of the cost will be covered by your policy.
Remember, extras policies have annual limits, so it's likely you'll only be covered for a set amount of physio, before you're paying for treatment out of your own pocket.
What are some key things to consider?
Online physiotherapy is a great alternative for lots of people – but before you invest in digital help, there are a couple of important points to consider.
- Is it right for you? Not everyone is comfortable with online physiotherapy. Whether you're not a lover of technology, or you find it difficult to get time alone at home, there are lots of reasons that face-to-face help might be better for you.
- Is it right for your injury? Some injuries or conditions need a more hands-on approach. If you're unsure, chat to the online physio and see what they think.
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