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Ethical decision-making evolves as healthcare evolves. The choices that we have expand, but the basic parameters by which we make these changes are a constant, providing a frame of reference and stability in an exciting and ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

Consider for example end-of-life issues. When medicine had no options to offer, there were few ethical choices to make. As medicine progressed and there were options available to keep people alive, we were faced with the ethical questions of not only whether we should keep people alive but how and when we should allow people to die.

For every improvement in healthcare, there are hopefully concurrent improve ments in quality of life, which of course is an area that physical therapists become actively engaged in. The exciting thing about this topic is that as quickly as new technology is introduced it is outdated with the next breakthrough in the wings ready to take its place. The challenge for us as healthcare providers is to choose wisely when embracing new techniques and technology. Rehabilitation is considered the downstream recipient of new developments as we translate the advancements into function. We are still concerned with the same issues, such as fairness in access, and justice in resource allocation. We have to be mindful that we don’t expend more time and resources on a patient or technology just because of the novelty of a new process or intervention. Technology also demands of us responsible research and responsible care.

Between the first edition of this book and this publication the topics that follow have continued to evolve and some have become mainstream practice By no means is this a complete listing either; it is meant to be a start, a jumping off point for you to begin to think of the many other things that while in development should be considered as to their impact on the delivery of physical therapy and the future of physical therapy treatment. To fully assess the value of new techniques and technology, the patient must remain the central focus. Each new technique or technology must be evaluated based on its risk–benefit ratio, its worth, a function of cost and value, and the possible positive and negative consequences.

  • New techniques in physical therapy Access and allocation

  • Genomics and gene therapy

  • Therapeutic procedures in utero Stem cell therapy

  • Consideration of non-opioid treatment options Using exercise with serious illnesses

  • Telehealth and digital PT care at a distance see the chapter dedicated to this area.

  • Robotics

  • Artificial Intelligence

New Techniques in Physical Therapy:

New techniques in physical therapy are constantly evolving. PTs have an ethical obligation to remain current with changes in the field. Principle 6: “Physical therapists shall enhance their expertise through the lifelong acquisition and refinement of knowledge, skills, abilities, and professional behaviors.” PTs also have the obligation to evaluate new techniques and determine the value of that technique ...

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