As a physical rehabilitation therapist, whether specializing in PT, OT, or SLP, you may have written off telehealth options for your clinic. After all, meeting with patients face-to-face is preferable to virtual visits. Perhaps you have adapted to teletherapy out of necessity during the pandemic. Regardless, teletherapy can help you expand the reach and impact of your practice even after we say goodbye to pandemic entirely. Though it may not be a great fit for every patient and every clinic, here are some post-pandemic benefits of teletherapy options.
An Overview of Teletherapy
Contrary to popular belief, teletherapy has been in existence for a long time but only started gaining massive popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. With patients stuck at home, the only way therapists could connect with them was through online platforms. The best part is that a majority of Americans mainly connect with others on online platforms, so teletherapy doesn’t feel foreign to them.
At first, clinics that offered teletherapy were mainly doing so out of necessity to ensure continuity of services, but even with the reduction of COVID-19 regulations, some clinics still see the benefits of virtual appointments.
1. Flexible Scheduling
It seems we’re all busier than ever. When you treat pediatric patients, it’s important to remember that parents and caregivers are also juggling school and work schedules. When patients and families don’t have to factor in commutes and can hold their session from any web-enabled device, it becomes much easier to find a time that works for them and stick to it
2. Fewer Missed Appointments
When your clinic offers teletherapy sessions, you’ll likely see fewer missed appointments. Since teletherapy appointments may better mesh with patient schedules in the first place as well as be a lot easier to accommodate within the day-to-day chaos of life, it’s easier for patients to attend more of their appointments. And we don’t need to tell you that fewer missed appointments mean more revenue for your clinic.
3. Lower Overhead Costs
Though physical therapy isn’t by nature as easily transitioned from a traditional clinic, many of your clinicians may have found ways to adjust to working from home. With teletherapy, your practitioners can easily connect with the client while they are at home. This allows you to minimize some of the costs that come with running a clinic.
4. Mobility and Transportation Concerns
Working in the physical rehab space, many of your patients may have mobility concerns. Often this is why they are seeing you in the first place. If possible, per a patient’s treatment plan, holding teletherapy sessions eliminates the additional burden of getting to your clinic, which can help restore independence and boost confidence and comfort. The same can be said for patients who are physically able but still may not be able to find a way to you.
5. Expanded Radius
Offering virtual therapy services gives you access to an otherwise neglected client segment. Since most therapy clinics are located in metropolitan and suburban areas, teletherapy has a significant impact on people who live in rural areas and those that are far from the nearest clinic.
6. Peace of Mind
We live in a tumultuous world, and never really know what’s on the horizon. Many of your patients, and therapists too, may have adjusted to a home-based therapy environment and feel more comfortable with that mode of practice. And, with the tail end of the pandemic still among us with an uncertain future, you can rest assured that, with teletherapy, patients and therapists are safe.
Quick Teletherapy Tips
To ensure your teletherapy services are successful:
- Ensure your therapists have a stable internet connection. Downtime can be frustrating for patient and therapist alike and disrupt the flow of the appointment.
- Make sure the devices being used are functional, e.g., the microphone and the webcam works well. Test your platform beforehand too. Even amongst staff, make sure everything is in working order.
- Ensure there’s someone to guide the clients around the platform, especially on how it works, the best way to use it, the equipment they will need, etc. You can even have clinic staff call clients over the phone to make sure they’re all set up just before their appointment and explain it when they book their appointment.
- Ensure your practitioners have a safe and quiet environment where they can conduct sessions without distractions.
- Get a reliable platform that is HIPAA compliant. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the platform used has to be secure.
Get Started with Integrated Teletherapy
The demand for teletherapy services is rapidly increasing, and it’s not hard to see why; it has fundamental benefits for both clients and medical professionals. In the United States, 1 in every 5 people is diagnosed with a mental health condition, but sadly, only 44% of them get treatment.
With teletherapy options, however, clinics are able to serve a wider range of clients who can’t access therapy services who may otherwise be unable to or would experience challenges with in-office visits. Could teletherapy be the answer to your growth and sustainability challenges? Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Fusion can keep your practice and your patients moving with teletherapy.