Have we been outsmarted by our smart technologies?


The advancement of technology has permitted the healthcare industry to provide faster diagnostic information to clients, relatively instantaneous communication amongst team-members, increased medical record accessibility, and entrée to innumerable resources to augment best-practice delivery methods. Additionally, new venues of care provision, such as tele-health and home monitoring systems, have emerged given advances in technology with innumerable benefits. The ease of information transport and accessibility calls into question the necessary safeguards required to protect personal data. While HIPAA-familiarity prevails amongst most PT students and clinicians, special consideration must be given to the newer technologies used for medical record access and communication. In the excitement of leading positive change for improved client-care, patients and providers alike must understand and respect the parameters of technology usage to preserve the basic tenants of privacy and security.

Methods and/or Description of Project

This session will present a foundation upon which clinical and academic programs can build informed practices for the use of technology. Grounded in federal and regional regulatory and compliance guidelines, an expert panel will share insights and implementation considerations from multiple perspectives, namely that of a privacy officer of a health-system, a clinical rehabilitation services director, and physical therapy academicians. The components of various technology policies, protocols, and educational programs will be discussed along with the resources required to adequately implement appropriate training and safeguards. A solid, yet flexible structure must be established to maximize use of technology to improve health-related outcomes within a model of safety and efficiency. Emerging professionals must also receive the necessary education to incorporate technology into practice in an appropriate manner.


Implementation of best-practice methods to protect and secure client health information provides an efficient foundation upon which to deliver client-centered care. The development of such a foundation is the responsibility of all physical therapy professionals, as specified within the Criteria for Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy.4 Participants in this session will obtain the tools necessary to appraise their institution’s strengths and needs toward implementation of best-practices.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education

The use of technology will continue to advance into healthcare and society at large. The empowered client - provider team will work collaboratively in implementing technological advances with safety and efficiency to best address healthcare challenges. With an eye towards improving health and wellness outcomes, implementation of best technology practices will create the safe harbor required by our society to benefit all stakeholders. Such practices must, by nature, influence educational and clinical consistency of professional practice.


1, Crandall D. Compliance Matters: Using Mobile Technology in Patient Care? PT in Motion. December 2014. http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/2014/12/ComplianceMatters/. Accessed April 9, 2015.

2. Dicianno BE, Parmanto B, Fairman AD, et al. Perspectives on the evolution of mobile (mHealth) technologies and application to rehabilitation. Physical Therapy. 2015; 95:397-405.

3. Doarn CR, Merrell RC. Accessibility and vulnerability: ensuring security of data in telemedicine. Telemed J E Health. 2015; 21(3): 143-4.

4. House of Delegates. Criteria for Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy. BOD S01-14-01-01. APTA Core Documents. http://www.apta.org/uploadedFiles/APTAorg/About_Us/Policies/Practice/CriteriaStandardsPractice.pdf. Accessed April 9, 2015.

5. Krishna S, Boren SA, Balas EA. Healthcare via cell phones: a systematic review. Telemed J E Health. 2009; 15: 231-240.

6. US Department of Health and Human Services. “Take Steps to Protect and Secure Information When Using a Mobile Service.” www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/fact-sheet-take-steps-to-protect-information.pdf. Accessed April 9, 2015.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of the session, participants will:
Illustrate the needs for privacy vs. security on personal mobile devices used in healthcare.
Recognize areas of common practice using technology that require scrutiny regarding best practice.
Outline strengths or gaps within individual program’s policies / procedures surrounding use of technology.
Engage in dialogue with colleagues regarding initiation of best-practices for use of technology in physical therapy education.

Instructional Methods

Lecture, active reflection / large group discussion, question & answer

Tentative Outline/Schedule

Introduction to regulatory & compliance issues related to mobile health technologies (30 min)
Application to a hospital-based rehabilitation department (20 min)
Application to physical therapy education and training (20 min)
Questions / answer session with panel (20 min)

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2289833
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2015
  • Authors: Carrie Foeller, Christine Kyak, Christina Pedini, Ellen Wruble Hakim
  • Keywords:

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