Barossa Physiotherapy – Digital Physiotherapy

Published June 04, 2020
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Barossa Physiotherapy was forced to close overnight when a cluster of COVID-19 cases were identified in the region. Within 24 hours, the business pivoted to an online format.

Watch how they transformed and adapted during this time.


  • Barossa Physiotherapy – Digital Physiotherapy

    It’s not our natural thing as physios to be managers or to worry about finances. It’s not what we were trained for. A lot of struggle through it. I certainly do.

    Tania Materne and proprietor and director of Barossa Physiotherapy. We’re a physiotherapy practice in the Barossa Valley and we’ve got a team of six people and we see a range of conditions and ages. There’s really no restriction to that. We have a specialist area in headaches, jaw pain and dizziness which is something we pivoted a couple of years ago but we do treat all manner of physio related problems.

    We got the word that the cluster was reported on a Sunday afternoon about 5:00 o’clock and within I guess half an hour to an hour we discussed it with our team and decided that in all good conscience we had to close. I’ve resisted standing down anyone. Cashflow’s a big problem and like most small businesses, we don’t have a big reserve either. So the contractors are basically on standby, have been very considerate. I’m not able to pay them at the moment so hopefully with JobKeeper I’ll be able to cover the employees’ wages more easily. But one of my team members in particular, Melissa Smith put her head down and started researching and getting the telehealth or what we call Digital Health Physio organized and we were up and running and did our first client the next day basically. So that was amazing. So that was our biggest pivot.

    We work through a platform called Physitrack which is the most secure platform that we could find and we had that anyway for our exercises. So that’s a platform where we can send people videos of their exercises we want them to do. They can see us as much as we can see them. So we do a subjective examination online so they’ve answered a lot of questions beforehand. So we’ve got a good picture of what’s going on.

    So in the situation with Digital Physio, we get them to put the app on their device whether that’s the phone or the iPad or whatever and we can see them moving. They can point to where their pain is. We can see bruising, swelling, whatever the case may be. We can talk about their posture, exercises, stretches that might help, tips to make them more comfortable and if there’s a family member around, we can even get them to help with a little bit of pretend hands-on. Yeah.

    But really, it has ranged from early 20s right up to 90-year-olds. So it works for everyone.

    This week there was a little bit of resurgence because we’ve reopened now. There was a little bit of a resurgence of people coming back into the rooms and I know as a hands-on physio myself I was itching to get my fingers on people and it was lovely to have people back. But I think we need to look to the future and we need to recognize that it is a valid tool, it’s widely researched as being very efficient and it can reach so many more people. We can go out into the rural or remote areas with our marketing and help those sorts of people.

    The excitement for us is that this is a long-term tool. It’s not just for the COVID time and it’ll probably be bigger and better than we can imagine, I’m hoping.

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