"Richard Schein's abstract was originally peer-reviewed by the ATA 2007 Peer Review Committee and was accepted for presentation at the annual conference", stated Jordana Bernard, senior director of ATA. "The award was based on the quality of both his written paper and oral presentation. We are very excited for him and the award is well deserved."
The award-winning paper covered some major points about the importance telerehabilitation in rural areas. Telerehabilitation offers many new opportunities to provide rehabilitation services in alternative ways and in different clinical settings. Remote areas often experience shortages of professionals and technical resources crucial to the delivery of services related to specialized medical fields.
Rural providers are often isolated from advancements and technologies used in larger metropolitan centres. As a result, when an individual in a rural area needs an assessment, a specific treatment, or both, patients may have to travel long distances to receive the specialized health care necessary to address their needs. This impacts both the health care providers and the patients. There are more people in need of the services of assistive technology specialists than there are regional clinics to serve them. The durable medical equipment industry has seen new coverage guidelines implemented by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently for wheelchairs, i.e. mobility assistive equipment, of who can perform these assessments.
The assessment of the user's needs and matching the user with an appropriate wheeled mobility and seating intervention as well as fitting and training is essential for successful outcomes.
The rapid improvements in telecommunications technology also have the potential to improve the delivery of services to people with disabilities and those who are elderly. Transmission of voice, image, and data could provide a means for experts in wheeled mobility and in other rehabilitation aspects to provide consultation to other health care professionals and consumers.
"This award is a testament to Richard Schein's hard work and dedication to the project as well as recognition to the field of rehabilitation", stated Mark Schmeler, Ph.D., instructor at the University of Pittsburgh in the department of rehabilitation science and technology and principal investigator on Schein's project. "People are living longer and surviving diseases and injuries more than in the past. Therefore needs are growing especially in rural areas. Telerehabilitation is emerging as a mechanism that warrants more consideration in the health care community to serve more people in an appropriate and cost-effective manner."
Richard Schein received a B.S. in rehabilitation and disability studies with a concentration in medical rehabilitation from Springfield College. Upon graduation, he came to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a Master's of science degree in rehabilitation science and technology as well as a certificate in assistive technology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the SHRS within the department of rehabilitation science and technology.
He has been working for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telerehabilitation, where his research has focused on remote wheelchair prescription and consultation via telerehabilitation. Richard Schein has been involved in clinical research for the past four years in areas such as seating and wheeled mobility, telerehabilitation, as well as funding and policy as it relates to assistive technology. He is also a member of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and the ATA.
The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow's health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. For fiscal year 2005, Pitt and its institutional affiliates ranked seventh nationally among educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).