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Experiences of physiotherapists considering virtual reality for shoulder rehabilitation: A focus group study

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-19, 08:54 authored by Beate Dejaco, Niamh Brady, Anne Tankink, Jeremy Lewis, Harry Van Goor, J Bart Staal, Niki Stolwijk

Introduction: Shoulder pain is common and associated with substantial morbidity. Different treatment strategies are being prescribed with equivocal results. Virtual reality (VR) is a novel technology and emerging research suggests that VR may be a promising alternative to current treatments. Prior to effectiveness research or any large-scale introduction, VR-applications require appropriate scrutiny including feasibility- and acceptability of clinicians and patients. Therefore, the aim of this study was to collect experiences of physiotherapists after using immersive VR. Methods: A qualitative interpretive design was used to explore physiotherapists’ experiences related to the use of VR for people with shoulder symptoms. 17 physiotherapists were asked to use VR at home for five days prior to a focus group interview. Data from the focus group interviews were analyzed using a six-phase process of thematic analysis. Results: Three main themes were identified, each divided into subthemes. The main themes were: 1. VR as an extension of contemporary physiotherapy care: physiotherapists were positive about the potential of VR and its applicability in daily care. 2. Physiotherapist uncertainties of future care using VR: participants expressed concerns about their professional identity, particularly as patients engage in independent home exercises. 3. Physiotherapist’s requirements for implementation of VR: participants shared their needs for evidence regarding the effectiveness and parameters such as frequency, dosage and intensity of the VR intervention. Conclusion: Physiotherapists were positive about VR as an intervention tool. However, they felt more knowledge is needed about parameters of VR. The findings of this study inform researchers and technology developers about optimal design of interventions and applications using VR.



Digital Health 10, pp. 1-9



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(023.022.010) and was supported by the Dutch Research Council (NOW)

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