What is telehealth?
Telehealth is a live, one-on-one video appointment with your PT. In these times of social distancing and public safety telehealth has become a viable option to treat patients. It enables patients to communicate with their physical therapist from the safety and comfort of their own home.
Benefits of telehealth:
- Effectiveness: Studies have shown that telehealth visits are just as effective as “live” visits. Telehealth visits maintain patient consistency and compliance with their home exercise program resulting in positive outcomes.
- Convenience: Telemedicine gives patients greater freedom to schedule appointments that meet their own specific schedules. There is no need to change your plans, reschedule work or find child care.
- Personalized care– During a private telehealth visit, you will work with your physical therapist in a one-on-one setting, without distractions. You also can involve family members or caregivers in your appointment, if you like.
- Satisfaction–The majority of patients who have participated in telehealth physical therapy were satisfied with their experience and would do it again. Patients expressed feeling connected and supported by their telehealth physical therapist.
- Transportation– Telehealth visits eliminates commuting to the office, arranging rides for those who are unable to drive and decreasing driving risks when there is inclement weather.
What does a typical telehealth visit look like?
Patients will receive a link to join a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted, and secure face-to-face live audio and video connection. Once connected the visit will be conducted like a normal physical therapy evaluation or follow up appointment.
The evaluation will consist of acquiring the patient’s past medical history, subjective reports and a functional screen is performed to determine/confirm diagnosis. Patients will be given a home exercise program and review for proper form. Follow up visits will consist of monitoring the effectiveness of the home exercises and progress as indicated.
Does insurance pay for telehealth visits?
An increasing number of payers do pay for telehealth and coverage is increasing. Most recently Medicare began to cover telehealth services for physical therapists.