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      Knowledge Structure and Emerging Trends of Telerehabilitation in Recent 20 Years: A Bibliometric Analysis via CiteSpace


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          Telerehabilitation, as an effective means of treatment, is not inferior to traditional rehabilitation, and solves the problem of many patients who do not have access to hospital-based training due to costs and distance. So far, the knowledge structure of the global use of telerehabilitation has not been formed. This study aimed to demonstrate the state of emerging trends and frontiers concerning the studies of telerehabilitation through bibliometric software.


          Literature about telerehabilitation from 2000 to 2021 was retrieved from the Web of Science Core Collection. We used CiteSpace 5.8.R3 to analyze the publication years, journals/cited journals, countries, institutions, authors/cited authors, references, and keywords. Based on the analysis results, we plotted the co-citation map to more intuitively observe the research hotspots and knowledge structure.


          A total of 1,986 records were obtained. The number of annual publications gradually increased over the investigated period. The largest increase occurred between 2019 and 2020. J TELEMED TELECARE was the most prolific and the most cited journal. The United States was the most influential country, with the highest number of publications and centrality. The University of Queensland was the most productive institution. The author Tousignant M ranked the highest in the number of publications and Russell TG ranked the first in the cited authors. Respectively, the articles published by Cottrell MA and Russell TG ranked the first in the frequency and centrality of cited references. The four hot topics in telerehabilitation were “care”,“stroke”, “telemedicine” and “exercise”. The keyword “stroke” showed the strongest citation burst. The two frontier keywords were “physical therapy” and “participation”. The keywords were clustered to form 21 labels.


          This study uses visualization software CiteSpace to provide the current status and trends in clinical research of telerehabilitation over the past 20 years, which may help researchers identify new perspectives concerning potential collaborators and cooperative institutions, hot topics, and research frontiers in the research field. Bibliometric analysis of telerehabilitation supplements and improves the knowledge field of telemedicine from the concept of rehabilitation medicine and provides new insights into therapists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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          Most cited references43

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          Telerehabilitation: Review of the State-of-the-Art and Areas of Application

          Background Telemedicine applications have been increasing due to the development of new computer science technologies and of more advanced telemedical devices. Various types of telerehabilitation treatments and their relative intensities and duration have been reported. Objective The objective of this review is to provide a detailed overview of the rehabilitation techniques for remote sites (telerehabilitation) and their fields of application, with analysis of the benefits and the drawbacks related to use. We discuss future applications of telerehabilitation techniques with an emphasis on the development of high-tech devices, and on which new tools and applications can be used in the future. Methods We retrieved relevant information and data on telerehabilitation from books, articles and online materials using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) “telerehabilitation,” “telemedicine,” and “rehabilitation,” as well as “disabling pathologies.” Results Telerehabilitation can be considered as a branch of telemedicine. Although this field is considerably new, its use has rapidly grown in developed countries. In general, telerehabilitation reduces the costs of both health care providers and patients compared with traditional inpatient or person-to-person rehabilitation. Furthermore, patients who live in remote places, where traditional rehabilitation services may not be easily accessible, can benefit from this technology. However, certain disadvantages of telerehabilitation, including skepticism on the part of patients due to remote interaction with their physicians or rehabilitators, should not be underestimated. Conclusions This review evaluated different application fields of telerehabilitation, highlighting its benefits and drawbacks. This study may be a starting point for improving approaches and devices for telerehabilitation. In this context, patients’ feedback may be important to adapt rehabilitation techniques and approaches to their needs, which would subsequently help to improve the quality of rehabilitation in the future. The need for proper training and education of people involved in this new and emerging form of intervention for more effective treatment can’t be overstated.
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            Real-time telerehabilitation for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions is effective and comparable to standard practice: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

            To evaluate the effectiveness of treatment delivered via real-time telerehabilitation for the management of musculoskeletal conditions, and to determine if real-time telerehabilitation is comparable to conventional methods of delivery within this population.
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              Study of acupuncture for low back pain in recent 20 years: a bibliometric analysis via CiteSpace

              Background Acupuncture has been applied to relieve low back pain (LBP) in many countries. However, a bibliometric analysis of the global use of acupuncture for LBP is rare. Objective The aim of this study was to demonstrate the state of the art and trends concerning the global use of acupuncture for LBP in recent 20 years. Methods Literature relating to acupuncture for LBP from 1997 to 2016 was retrieved from Web of Science. CiteSpace was used to analyze country/institution, cited journals, authors/cited authors, cited references, and keywords. An analysis of counts and centrality was used to reveal publication outputs, countries/institutions, core journals, active authors, foundation references, hot topics, and frontiers. Results A total of 958 references were obtained, and the total number of publications continually increased over the investigated period. Journal articles (662) were the most frequently occurring document type. The most productive country and institution in this field was the USA (342) and Harvard University (47), respectively. The J Altern Complem Med (69) was the most productive journal, and Pain (636) was the most cocited journal, which reflected the nature of the research. The Haake’s (2007) article (cocitation counts: 130) and the Cherkin’s (2001) article (centrality: 0.59) were the most representative and symbolic references, with the highest cocitation number and centrality, respectively. Cherkin was the most influential author, with the highest number of publications of 25 and a cocitation number of 226. The four hot topics in acupuncture for LBP were research method, evaluation, economy, and comprehensive therapy. The three frontier topics were intervention, test reliability, and prevalence. Conclusion This study provides an insight into acupuncture for LBP and valuable information for acupuncture researchers to identify new perspectives on potential collaborators and cooperative institutions, hot topics, and research frontiers.

                Author and article information

                Front Public Health
                Front Public Health
                Front. Public Health
                Frontiers in Public Health
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                20 June 2022
                : 10
                [1] 1College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Fuzhou, China
                [2] 2Key Laboratory of Orthopedics & Traumatology of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Rehabilitation Ministry of Education, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Fuzhou, China
                [3] 3National-Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Rehabilitation Medicine Technology , Fuzhou, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: João Valente Cordeiro, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

                Reviewed by: Maria Helena De Aguiar Pereira E. Pestana, University Institute of Lisbon, Mexico Ernesto Roldan-Valadez, General Hospital of Mexico, Mexico

                *Correspondence: Xiangbin Wang wangxbin@ 123456fjtcm.edu.cn

                This article was submitted to Digital Public Health, a section of the journal Frontiers in Public Health

                Copyright © 2022 Zheng, Hou, Liu and Wang.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 12, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 16, Words: 7338
                Funded by: National Natural Science Foundation of China, doi 10.13039/501100001809;
                Public Health
                Original Research

                telerehabilitation,citespace,bibliometric analysis,web of science,co-citation


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