Telerehabilitation and emerging virtual reality approaches to stroke rehabilitation

Stroke is the most common cause of permanent motor disability in the United States, and the rapidly aging population makes finding large-scale treatment solutions to this condition a national priority. Telerehabilitation is an emerging approach that is being used for the effective treatment of multiple diseases, and is beginning to show promise for stroke. The objective of this review is to identify and highlight the areas of telerehabilitation that require the most research attention. Although there are many different forms of telerehabilitation approaches being attempted for stroke, the only approach that is showing moderate-strong evidence for efficacy at this time is videogame-driven telerehabilitation (VGDT). However, targeted research is still required to determine the feasibility of VGDT: metrics regarding system usability, cost-effectiveness, and data privacy concerns still require major attention.

VGDT is an emerging approach that shows tremendous promise for stroke rehabilitation. Future studies should focus less on developing custom task controllers and therapy games and more on developing innovative, online data acquisition and analytics pipelines, as well as understanding the patient population so that the rehabilitation experience can be customized to a greater degree.