Methods Inf Med 2020; 59(02/03): 104-109
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1713398
Review Article for a Focus Theme: Patient Rehabilitation Techniques

A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Telerehabilitation Interventions for Therapeutic Purposes in the Elderly

Farnia Velayati
1  Department of Health Information Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Haleh Ayatollahi
2  Health Management and Economics Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Morteza Hemmat
3  Department of Health Information Management, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Saveh University of Medical Sciences, Saveh, Iran
› Institutsangaben
Funding This research was supported by grant No 96-03-163-31112 from Health Management and Economics Research Center affiliated to Iran University of Medical Sciences. The ethics approval code was IR.IUMS.REC 1396.31112.


Background Many elderly people suffer from chronic health conditions and mobility limitations. Therefore, they may benefit from traditional rehabilitation or telerehabilitation interventions as an alternative for this type of services.

Objective The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of telerehabilitation interventions with traditional rehabilitation services for therapeutic purposes in the elderly.

Methods This systematic review was conducted in 2018. The searched databases were Cochrane Library, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, and ProQuest. The search was conducted with no time or language limitation. The selected papers included the randomized clinical trial studies in which elderly people aged 60 and over used telerehabilitation services for treatment purposes. The quality of the studies was evaluated by using the physiotherapy evidence database (PEDro) scale. Data were extracted by using a data extraction form and findings were narratively synthesized.

Results After screening the retrieved papers, eight articles were selected to be included in the study. According to the findings, telerehabilitation was used for the elderly after stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), total knee replacement, and in patients with the comorbidity of COPD and chronic heart failure. Overall, in most studies, there was no significant difference between the intervention and control groups and the level of improvements was similar for most outcomes.

Conclusion Telerehabilitation services can be regarded as an alternative to traditional rehabilitation approaches to reduce outpatient resource utilization and improve quality of life. However, more rigorous studies are suggested to investigate the effectiveness of telerehabilitation services for specific diseases or health conditions.

Authors' Contributions

F. V. conducted the research and drafted the manuscript. H. A. supervised the research and commented on the manuscript. M. H. helped with conducting the research and commented on the manuscript.

Supplementary Material


Eingereicht: 30. Juli 2019

Angenommen: 08. Mai 2020

06. Juli 2020 (online)

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York