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Technology in Practice: In Summary

Over the past several months, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta has published a series of articles about how technology is changing physiotherapy practice. The intent has been to highlight developments in technology, the impact on practice, and the regulatory considerations that come with technology adoption. Far from seeking to discourage adoption and innovation, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s purpose has been to encourage members to engage in technology adoption in a thoughtful manner, highlighting the key regulatory concerns with technology and how to mitigate the risks inherent in technology use.

Those risks overwhelmingly relate to privacy and security. This is simply due to the nature of electronic health technology tools, including EMRs, email, and telerehabilitation platforms. While the tools provide remarkable opportunities for information sharing, collaboration, and innovative service delivery, the risks cannot be ignored. Past articles have highlighted the risks of ransomware and phishing attacks and the benefits of conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to systematically record the private information that a physiotherapy business collects and the methods in place to protect that information.

Completing a PIA is one way that physiotherapists can demonstrate that they are actively working to meet the Standards of Practice and professional expectations related to the privacy legislation relevant to physiotherapy practice. The use of robust administrative, technical and physical controls is another way to prevent a privacy breach and ensure compliance with the Standards of Practice. Employing industry standard routine practices, maintaining an awareness of emerging risks to electronic systems, and seeking the expertise of IT consultants are other measures to support effective, safe, technology innovation and adoption.

Our hope is that the resources provided through this article series support physiotherapists’:

  • Understanding of the regulatory concerns and Standards of Practice relevant to the use of technology in practice.
  • Interest and motivation to adopt EMRs in practice.
  • Adoption of other innovative technologies and practices that have the potential to improve patient access to services or increase the quality of the services delivered.
  • Ability to adopt technology in a thoughtful manner that enables compliance with Standards and Legislation.

Technology is changing the world in which we live and work, physiotherapy is no exception. As with other professions there are risks and opportunities that technology will present to us. This is a road that physiotherapists and the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta are on together. We are all learning and will be continually challenged as new innovations arise. The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta will continue to point out the innovations, benefits and risks that technology presents as they evolve.

Page updated: 20/04/2022