Long and Short of Telehealth for Physical Therapists

The Long and Short of Telehealth for Physical Therapists

Published on Author Mark SpencerLeave a comment

A quick drive from In Hand Health’s headquarters in Overland Park, KS, offers a dramatic change in scenery depending on which way you are headed.

Spend a half hour headed north, you will navigate 8-lane freeways, traffic, and probably a road construction project or two before settling in the recently revitalized downtown of Kansas City, MO, with its towering office buildings, packed-in parking garages, and bustling entertainment district.

Head south for the same 30 minutes, you will first stream by a few neighborhoods, a half dozen strip malls, a Target or Wal-Mart, and the same old food franchises that are commonplace with the modern suburb.

As the last McDonald’s disappears in your rearview mirror, it’s possible you could be the only car on a 4-lane highway within 15 minutes. Take any exit and you will likely have the 2-lane road (50% chance it’s paved) to yourself among the cows and soybean fields.

Long and Short of Telehealth for Physical TherapistsThe perspective is one not only our employees experience but many of our physical therapist customers face in their own areas of the country when it comes to successfully treating patients.

Some have patients that are fortunate enough to live within a short drive or walk to their PT clinic. But what about patients in rural areas? Or what can be done to assist patients with transportation problems or other issues that prevent them from regularly attending their PT sessions?

It may not be as visibly dramatic for all as it is for us at In Hand Health, but the challenge of keeping patients connected to a clinic and their therapist wherever they are is one of the key objectives of our telehealth solution.

You’ve probably heard of telemedicine and telehealth. While telemedicine is simply the delivery of healthcare services via telecommunications technology, telehealth has evolved to encompass specific activities such as remote patient monitoring, mobile health applications, secure real-time and stored communications between a provider and patient, and more.

So as we built our solution, we wanted to be sure to include as many of these advancements as possible to be sure we are delivering the ultimate benefit of telehealth and enabling the connection between the physical therapist and patient to be as strong as possible regardless of location.

Long and Short of Telehealth for Physical TherapistsIn addition to this primary objective, an investment in telehealth for your PT clinic delivers direct financial savings for your patients also.

A recent Harvard Medical School study found the average total visit time for an in-person medical visit is 121 minutes, including 37 minutes of travel time and 84 minutes in the clinic waiting and filing paperwork.  Of those 84 minutes, only 20 are spent face-to-face with the doctor.  Translated into money, the total productivity cost of 121 minutes is about $43 lost to the individual. This time spent traveling and waiting is in addition to the average 19 days wait for an in-person, scheduled doctor appointment.

While your PT clinic is likely more efficient than these doctor’s offices, the study demonstrates it’s not always convenient, logical, or possible to physically attend every appointment. It’s time to fill in the gaps and investigate how telehealth can reach your patients where they are and help build a connection that will lead to better outcomes.

Within weeks from this writing, we here at In Hand Health will release our first version of our telehealth solution built specifically to the physical therapy market. It will enable you to create treatments, monitor compliance, and communicate securely with patients through their smartphones. These features are all designed to build and enhance your therapist-patient relationship.

What’s more, we are including a Continuing Care subscription that we know will help your bottom line in this era of dwindling reimbursement payments but will also maintain your relationship past an initial episode of care into wellness periods and, soon, direct access relationships.

Interested in trying it out? Drop us an email at info@inhandhealth.com to remind you or keep an eye on www.inhandhealth.com for the ability to instantly create and access your account. It is free for physical therapists and clinics.

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