Tele-practice: Guidelines and Resources for Physiotherapists 

What is Tele-practice?

Tele-practice (also called digital practice or tele-rehabilitation) is the provision of physiotherapy services from a distance, digitally or virtually. It involves communication with a patient who is remotely located from the primary physiotherapist providing service. 

Tele-practice incorporates the use of technology such as video conferencing, email, apps, web-based communication or wearable technology. It can be very beneficial for patients who are living in rural settings or during times that PTs and patients are unable to physically attend treatment sessions, such as a global health crisis.

Even as the world evolves and becomes more technologically advanced, tele-practice is becoming more common. 

All the Standards Apply

Most important to note is that when you engage in tele-practice all the same rules and standards apply as if you were delivering in person care. It’s very important that no matter how the treatment is delivered, the patient is receiving safe, competent and ethical care.

Review the College standards carefully and ensure that you’re meeting them. You may need to take some extra precautions – for example, ensuring patient privacy, securely storing patient records and making sure all virtual treatments are appropriately documented.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Virtual Practice in Physiotherapy

  • What is tele-rehabilitation?

  • When is tele-practice appropriate?

  • What are some of the risks of tele-practice?

  • Am I required to have liability insurance if I am providing virtual care?

  • What do I need to consider when getting patient consent during tele-practice?

  • Can I use email to communicate with patients?

  • Why do I need to include advice or information provided by telephone or email in my records?

  • How do I keep records of the treatments I provide to patients?

  • How do I invoice for tele-practice?

  • What platforms or services are safe to use for tele-practice?

  • Can a physiotherapist use tele-rehabilitation to follow a patient who is temporarily travelling out of the province on business or vacation?

  • If I practice in another province, can I provide physiotherapy care to patients in Ontario?

FAQs: Insurer Coverage and Virtual Practice

  • Is the PT expected to indicate on the invoice this was tele-practice? Should the session cost less?

  • Which modalities or types of treatment are acceptable to deliver through virtually (by tele-practice)?

  • Can the initial visit be done virtually by tele-practice?

  • Is it acceptable to use email or telephone communication, and is it billable? Why or why not?

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Questions about Tele-practice? 

Contact the Practice Advisor at 
1-800-583-5885 (extension 241) or email